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Friday, April 4, 2014

Archer Farms Shredded Beef Mini Tamales

I'm not a native Philly guy, but I've lived here long enough to realize that when Philadelphians see "Philly Cheesesteaks" being sold in other cities, they know that 95% of the time, what's being passed off as the genuine article is really an abomination—a sad excuse for the real thing.

Latinos probably feel the same way when they see pre-packaged frozen tamales being sold by a place like Target.

Strangely enough, our friends in Los Angeles shipped my wife a package of tamales from La Mascota Bakery for her birthday, just a few days after I purchased these. The tamales from L.A. were cold and well-preserved on their nearly 3,000 mile journey. And MAN, were they ever good. (Sonia was kind enough to share). Authentic. Great for us, but the odds were stacked against these Target tamales from the beginning.

But my wife, who is Mexican-American, and I were both fairly impressed with Target's offering. I can't lie and tell you they were just as good as the ones from La Mascota, but Archer Farms put forth a valiant effort.

They are indeed "mini tamales," much smaller than any I've had before. It's good if you don't want to have too much tamale at one time, but it's also inconvenient to unwrap each little item not only from its plastic sleeve, but from its corn husk wrapper as well.

Both the masa and the filling were a decent approximation of a fresh, authentic tamale. Now, I'm not saying they were exactly like the real thing. Even I could tell the difference between these frozen dealies and the genuine article in a blindfolded taste test. But, I mean, the Target version was like 85% of the way there. And that's not too shabby at all. Even the lovely Sonia was pleasantly surprised. And that should say something.

I give these tamales 7 out of 10 stars.

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