In a city with tamaleros on every corner, not a great many stand out. There's the Tamale Guy
, of course, whose corn-husk six-packs are valued mostly for the salvation they offer to the crapulous. There are the superbly fluffy offerings of Tamales Garibay
and the performance-art masa torpedoes of the Tamale Spaceship
. And then there are Yvolina's Tamales, sold every Sunday at the Pilsen Community Market
. This little operation boasts 23 different varieties, from turkey and salsa verde to a Puerto Rican-style pork sazon to eggplant. They aren't all available every week and they sell out fast—necessitating a second delivery some time in the late morning—so timing and luck is a crucial element in accessing them.
The mushroom and spinach is a particular prize; wrapped in a Oaxacan-style banana leaf, the masa is moist and smooth, enveloping a generous amount of saucy fungus and greens. These go down easy with horchata, limonada, or sometimes tepache.
Yvolina's Tamales, Pilsen Community Market, 18th and Halsted, Sun 9 AM-3 PM