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Tucson Tamale Company

2545 East Broadway Boulevard, Tucson, AZ - (520) 305-4760
Posted By Michael Stern on December 23, 2012 5:22 AM
"The way I see it, the tamale is like a sandwich," says Todd Martin, who started the Tucson Tamale Company in 2008. "You can do anything with it you can imagine." Among his imaginings are vegetarian tamales and vegan tamales, as well as a thermonuclear "Tucson Tamale" for which the corn masa is supercharged with grilled jalapenos and cheese. Each is hand-rolled and huge, made with ingredients that are sparkling fresh. We especially love what Todd has labeled the Arizona tamale – roasted sirloin and smoky chipotle chilies – as well as the Santa Fe tamale, made with pork loin and green chilies. Not too long ago he came up with the dogmale, a gloss on the notorious Sonoran hot dog!

Martin schooled us in green corn tamales, which he offers during their traditional season, about three weeks at the end of summer when corn is ripe and the chile harvest has begun. He explained that tamales ought never be made by a single, solitary cook. They should be the inspiration for a party. In fact, the traditional tamale-making party, a harvest-time ritual in Sonoran Desert country, is so much fun that it changed Todd Martin's life and ultimately led him to abandon his job as a corporate executive and start the restaurant. "The first time I ever made a tamale," he recalls, "was when my sweetheart – now my wife – invited me to her parents' house to make tamales on a Sunday in early September. I expected to spend a few hours helping here and there, but it turned out to be a whole day, and they did it right. They had exactly what you need to make green corn tamales: five bushels of corn, twenty-five pounds of roasted chiles and twenty people. Plus five cases of beer for the tamale makers to drink. That is the rule of green corn tamale making: one case of beer for each bushel of corn."
5 star rating
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Tamale

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Posted By geraldradden on November 20, 2013 10:49 AM
Having purchased homemade tamales in Tucson for years, I was lacking in faith that a commercial operation can come anywhere near what was produced in the kitchens of experts. However, the variety--spicy, veggie, familiar, experimental--we obtained for take-home made us believers. The quality was very good; the selection was far above what one could find at any local restaurant, even in Tucson. We were especially impressed with the Green Corn, that matched up with a locally renowned competitor right down the street. Watch out for the sauces. Their middle option is challenging; the hot style will clip off your taste buds.
4 star rating
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Tamale

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Posted By Richard Rowe on March 30, 2012 8:01 AM
Frankly, we expected this place to be a good deal larger than it is, but were rather impressed with the numbers of people being served -both take-out and dine-in. It really didn't seem as though space was an issue, as customers seemed to find a spot if they wished to eat in and we sort of regretted not checking out the patio, but were a bit pressed for time, as we had to pick up an airplane starter before the shop closed for lunch. I had the Jo-jo and the Santa Fe, while my buddy had an Arizona and a Sonora with Todd's Fire all around. These Tamales were so good that I took a frozen dozen along and had to go back and buy another dozen, as his girlfriend loved them too!

The employees were friendly, knowledgeable, and fun, making the entire trip an even more positive event. This place is about 20 miles from their home North of Tucson, yet we went back a couple of times. Fortunately, I can have them shipped to my home in Illinois.
4 star rating
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Tamale

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Posted By Claudia Nelson on April 20, 2011 1:11 PM
I never really liked tamales until I tasted those at the Tucson Tamale Company. They are loaded with filling and have just the right amount of heat (spice). Plus, they sell them at the Sunday farmer's market at St. Phillip's Plaza, so you can get your fix while doing your weekly shopping.
4 star rating
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Tamale

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Posted By terry forche on June 11, 2010 2:42 PM
Here at work we just finished eating tamales sent to us from the Tucson Tamale Company. I read the Roadfood review about this restaurant and as I love tamales, I decided to try them out.

Living in the DC area meant that I had to have them shipped to me, but that turned out to be a simple and speedy process. I ordered two sampler packs, each with 2 each of 6 different tamales. They ranged from the Tucson tamale with several cheeses and a spicy jalepeno masa to a vegan Austin tamale with spinach and mushrooms. All were excellent.

They arrived with three different salsas including Todds Fire salsa, which was, indeed, firey. They accented the tamales very well.

7 people at work, including me, scarfed down the 12 tamales and we all were very happy to have eaten them.

For being cooked, then frozen, shipped, and then re-heated, the tamales kept their consistency very well.

I look foward to eating the second sampler pack with my family and freinds this weekend.
3 star rating
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Tamale

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