Eating like a Mayan King in the Windy City
--Mr. Tamales, yet another Chicago tradition.
We over here at chibbqking are big fans of Tamales. Who is we you ask? well we is me. I love tamales and so does Chicago. You can find 1,000's of homemade Mexican tamales available at what seems like almost every corner. I indulge in all kinds of tamales and there are quite a few regional variations from around the globe but it is my belief that Mexican tamales are the best as I have been eating them since my youth. I have tried what seems like 1,000's as well so I know me a good tamale when I eat one. Got it? good.
Have you ever been drinking at a bar in Chicago's Bucktown or Lincoln Park neighborhoods and heard somebody yelling "hot tamale, hot tamale, hot tamale" & "get your hot tamales." Well if you have then you probably know Mr. Tamales. If you haven't well then let me introduce you to him.
Mr. Tamales & T
Mr. Tamales is a staple of the Chicago bar scene and quite frankly a local celeb. You see Mr. T doesn't have an address because he comes to you with some of the best bar food to be found in my city. One day and I dont know when, Mr. T thought of the idea of going around from bar to bar and selling bags of his wife's wonderful homemade tamales. Ive been eating these tamales since he came onto the scene and even came to learn that this is a Chicago tradition dating back more than century. Not only are Mr. T's wife's tamals the real deal but he is somewhat of a marketing guru himself.
Mr. Tamales wife makes traditional homemade Mexican tamales and they are good
As I mentioned above you can only get the tamals when he comes to you at the bar. He makes his rounds around the area and can always be found Thurs.-Sat. slanging hot tamales out of his red cooler. Mr. Ts mujer makes roja tamales with pork, verde chicken and again yet another sign he is a smart business man: they have cheese and pepper for all of the veg-heads around Bucktown. They come five to a bag (always hot temperature wise) and will run you $6 and you also get a few homemade salsa containers and plenty of napkins to go with them. If you really want to find him then your best bet is at my favorite beer bar, the Maproom or at Nicks beer garden, Bucktowns best bar overall.
If you frequent the maproom then you have had a Mr. T tamal on a National Geographic
When it comes to barfood in Chicago this is one of the best in town. Its a whole combination of things that make these so good and obviously it starts with the taste. These are above average and the cheese/pepper are one of my favorite non meat eats. I always get a bag of those but be warned they are spicy. What else makes these great is that he comes to you. You dont know when and where but its always a pleasure when you see/hear him. Another plus is that he comes to the bars that dont have food so if your in the bar drinking and have a taste for something quick and easy these are perfect. There is nothing like a spicy tamale with a craft beer from maproom in the crisp fall. They are a true combo that we are lucky to have here in the greatest city in the world. Our food/bar scene is a good reason for that claim.
a closeup of a bag of Mr. T's pepper/cheese tamales
Stay tuned for more real eats.
1949 N Hoyne Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
Nick's Beer Garden
1516 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622