Jeff Smith 11:59 p.m., Feb. 8
$4 Lunch: Don Pepe's Tamales
The tamale is not a great drive-and-eat food. But I was hungry and in a hurry when I spotted the tamale cart outside my home office/favorite coffee shop. I had actually noticed the cart a few times in passing, but had never thought to stop. This time, I did.
Jose, the man behind the cart, doesn’t speak a ton of English, but we got by. He pointed out the menu on the window behind him.
Pork Beef Chicken Cheese & Chili Spinach & Cheese Pineapple Sweet Corn Coconut
For $2 each.
Drinks are also $2.
I ordered two chicken tamales. Jose put them in a plastic bag along with a tiny piece of fluff that was, I think, supposed to be a napkin. And off I went.
Turns out, the tamales were not chicken but chili and cheese. Normally, I would have been annoyed at the mistake, but the kick of the chilies was a pleasant surprise, and cheese is always at the top of my list.
The driving and eating thing was a problem, but the flavor of the tamales made it worth the hassle and the mess on my shirt.
Don Pepe’s Tamale cart stands at 4118 30th Street in North Park, between Celia’s Hair Fashions and Loc’s Tax Service from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Although there’s a sign in the window of the storefront, it’s not a restaurant inside. It’s where the tamales are made.