Marvelous Masa: Taste of Tamales Food Fest

Make for Olvera Street for a sweet 'n savory bite of the season.

The making-of a particular dish is very much about the making-of the particular dish. Seems obvious, we know, but that isn't always the case.

When cooks make certain foodstuffs, such as tamales, they have far more on their plates than simply following a brief recipe. You know what we mean, yes? One doesn't merely make tamales; one makes an entire day around tamales, and a memorable one, too.

It's a daylong to-do, in short. The radio station is tuned to Top 40 carols, and there's a blender of margaritas, and a pitcher of cranberry juice, and promises from neighbors to swing by, roll up a sleeve, and lend a masa-kneading hand.

Oh yeah, and the masa? It just gets all over, which is one of the best parts.

Taste of Tamales, which spreads out at Olvera Street, much like luscious masa on a husk, on Dec. 15, is very much about that spirit. We're talking about the spirit of a big culinary project, of daylongness, of good eating, neighbor hellos, and good eating.

Wait. Did we type "good eating" twice? Look at that. So we did. Huh.

Well, it makes sense: A lot of tamales'll be served via "Vendors/Restaurants of the Los Angeles area." You'll likely get your mole in, your green chile, your red chile, your green and red chile, and your calabacitas, too.

Come with cash for tamale-purchasing cash, but not for entry: That's free.

And, as with other mondo Olvera haps, music, entertainment, crafty haps and such'll festoon the proceedings.

Taste of Tamales rolls on Sunday, Dec. 15 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. -- we sang its daylong-y praises, didn't we? -- but head back to the historic thoroughfare the next day, Dec. 16, if you want to join the first night of Las Posadas.

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