Let’s face it… I rarely go to the Valley or Valley adjacent. As far as I’m concerned those are the wilds of Los Angeles, but a good Tamale Safari is filled with adventure so off we went to The California Tamales House in North Hills. (And by hills they mean strip malls;)
Rants, Raves, and Reviews…
The tamales at California Tamales House are perfect. They are huge, moist, savory, & exploding with fresh ingredients. They are OMG good. They have an amazing selection -we tried the shredded chicken, the poblano & spinach, the cheese Jalapeño & the shredded beef. All steaming hot.
The staff was particularly helpful, patiently answering our questions and happily adding in some just out of the fryer fresh chips. Did I mention the salsa bar? The usual red and green sauces were very good…just the right bite. But they have these fabulous whole pickled jalapeño – to die for -and they are almost hot enough to accommodate that request.
And did I mention reasonable? -a dozen for $23.50. Location wise, it’s the not so great part of the valley. Easy access & easy parking certainly add to the appeal. Did I mention it’s fairly close to a Costco?
Presentation: -clean, A rated, with Tamales like this who needs Spago?
Location: -OK, maybe not your first choice for a dinner date. But this place is well worth an early run for tamales “to go” or a quick lunch.
As usual, some of the best tamales in this town are not necessarily in the best locations. Once again we arrived at a tiny stripmall with only a few parking spots shared by an off-brand oil change garage, doughnut shop, and a dingy liquor store. Street parking also looks dicey but it’s worth it to scrounge for parking someplace because California Tamale House is worth it.
The selection includes the usual pork, beef, and chicken staples along with some killer chile cheese and 3 or 4 flavors of sweet tamales. Banana wrapped tamales and spinach cheese are also new items on the menu.
California Tamales House is the best tamale bargain in town. We’ve seen the 2 buck bargains before but never this large. One tamale equals about 2 normal sized ones so order accordingly.The tamales are made right before your eyes in huge pots. When we pulled out the first tamale I was skeptical because something that huge could only mean that there was more masa than filling. Boy, was I wrong. These monster tamales are generously filled with meat and chile sauces. The Chile Cheese Tamale looked like it had an entire mozzarella stick inside of it.
Condiments include some of the best homemade red sauce and whole grilled jalapeño peppers we’ve had so far. And by “best” I mean very hot without losing flavor. Admittedly the grilled jalapeños are only for the very brave. I could only eat half of one of these. They are great for clearing your sinuses though.
California Tamales House (odd but accurate name) is located off the 405 just west of Nordhoff. For you westsiders it isn’t as far as it seems and definitely worth the trip.
Masa: Very moist and fresh. Well balanced to the amount of filling. Flavor OK but not remarkable.
Filling: Surprised by the huge amounts of meat filling. The chicken tamales are filled white breast meat. Red sauce is very good. Generous slices of cheese.
Presentation: Paper plates and plastic utensils. Dig in.
Location: On the plus side it is right off the 405 freeway, but the stripmall is a bit run down and the parking is shared with 3 other places. I think we got lucky finding an open space. The place itself is very clean and well managed. Maybe the low rent district keeps the prices down.
California Tamales House
15404 Nordhoff St
North Hills, CA 91343-3915
Most Tamales are $1.99 each
$23.50 per dozen
Editor’s Note: Debated about whether to spell it “California Tamale House” in this post, but the sign on the place says “Tamales”. What can you do…