I mentioned the sighting of a tamale vendor in passing a few days ago, but it was buried in a posting on another topic. In light of the recent encouragement of posts on new finds (including those of the cheap and down-home variety), I'm giving a full report under the subject heading it deserves.
This was Monday (January 20th), and a woman was selling tamales and arroz con leche (like rice pudding but done as a warm drink) out of a small cart in front of La Tienda, in the Asian mall at 6th and Washington Ave. I saw her as I came out of La Tienda and did a double-take; I felt I was back in front of the bus station in Oaxaca at 5:30 am (one generally sees women selling tamales and hot beverage in the streets in the morning). The senora is from Puebla, and she had three kinds of tamales -- mole (with pork), salsa verde (with chicken), and a third filling I don't remember, maybe rajas with cheese or chicken (sorry!). $1 apiece, fished from the steamer and lovingly wrapped in tinfoil. I got one each of the salsa verde and mole but sadly couldn't eat them on the spot since I'd just had 3 tacos at La Lupe. I microwaved them the next morning and the texture was great, the fillings delicious, a good amount of meat in each (though I would have liked more mole sauce, too subtle for me). My favorite was the salsa verde -- spicy and tangy, heaven with a cup of Mexican hot chocolate. The senora says she is there every day except Sunday (which happens to be the day La Tienda sells their own tamales). I wonder if she is always in front of La Tienda or if she might move around a bit during the day -- I didn't notice her when I went into the store, and her little cart seems pretty portable. Be on the lookout for her when you are in the Washington Ave./Little Mexico area.
By the way, I once ordered tamales in advance from La Tienda for a party (minimum order of 50) and was very pleased with them -- especially the pork in salsa rojo. But then I don't think I've ever met a tamale in central and southern Mexico (or from that tradition) that I didn't like. These Pueblan tamales rule.