Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Psssst. Lady. Tamales.

Where I live in Northern California, we have a .98 Only store. I always go there to load up on garbanzo beans and black beans ... huge cans for under a buck, can't beat it.

Our store, in California, is largely shopped by our Hispanic community. The staff is primarily Hispanic, and, a good portion of the brands on the shelves are Hispanic. Plus, every time I've visited, there has been a Hispanic man in a sedan parked somewhat toward the back of the lot, and I always see other shoppers hurrying over and buying something from deep inside the trunk of his car. I never was that interested to find out what it was. Looked shady to me, because he always shut the trunk and wandered away when he didn't have a customer.

This week, I had to park by him. When I came out of the store and put my bags in my car, it went something like this:

"Psst. Miss? miss?"
"Mm hm?"
"Like tamales? Homemade."
"I do. Is that what you're selling?"
"Tamales. Pork. Chicken. Cheese. Want to buy?"
"Hmm. I'm not sure I should buy food from the trunk of a car."
"Come see."
::opens trunk, opens a hot case and steam pours out. The most heavenly smell EVER comes wafting out::
"Wow, those smell great. How much?"
"$1.00 each. How many?"
"I'll take two." ::I hold out two $1.00 bills::
"Are you sure? I recommend the six pack for value."
"How much is a six pack?"
"How is that a better value?!" (I'm laughing)
"I sell tamales to make money! It's a better value for me!" (He laughs).
"I'll take two, to try them. If they are good, I'll be back. Besides, I'm fat enough already. I don't need six."
"You'll like them. You'll be back. And you look real good."

I took them home and they were EXCELLENT. Just excellent. So I bought hot food from the trunk of a car in a .98 cent store parking lot. I figure, that's California's answer to New York City Food Cart Vendors. I'd be using those for sure, so I consider this the same thing. And I will definitely go back.


  1. lol, makes me think of the Tamale Lady in San Francisco, those were some good tamales!

  2. Lol, you really have some great stories!

    I bet those tamales were delicious. We have a public school across the way here in Brooklyn, and on weekends the basketball court is taken up by a Mexican adult indoor soccer league. Not only are they quite dramatic when they play, yelling out to God and their mothers when the ball smacks them in the leg, but there are also vendors selling freshly made empanadas for $2, and $2 cans of Tecate. Its awesome.