Click for Ann Arbor, Michigan Forecast
Tuesday February 21, 2017
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed
Print Comment E-mail

Hold the Parchment

 

continued

More troublesome still, Pilar's steams its tamales in parchment paper and foil instead of the traditional Salvadoran banana leaves. While not unheard of, it's an expediency that undermines the whole tamale concept. I consulted food writer Claudia Alarcon--who's writing a book about the history of tamales--for her opinion of the practice. "I have never seen them on parchment," Alarcon told me. "I am sure that's out of convenience."

Salvadoran tamales tend to be a bit creamier than Mexican tamales, which are wrapped in less porous corn husks. Still, a banana leaf provides plenty of protection for the masa, which would otherwise deteriorate into a custardy, flavorless mush. That was the very problem afflicting all the tamales I sampled at Pilar's.

In some cases, the stuffing was quite good. Pilar's changing menu includes a dozen different tamales, both sweet and savory. The best varieties strike both notes: I especially liked a turkey tamale featuring rich dark meat and syrupy prunes. A strictly traditional tamale de puerco, made with well-seasoned pork, bits of green olives, and chunks of potatoes, was equally impressive.

But few of the stuffings could stand up to the spongy masa. A counterwoman plugged the black bean tamales as "ooey, gooey goodness," but the mud puddle-gray concoction was well beyond my ooh-and-goo threshold, even without any detectable cheese. There was plenty of vividly orange cheese in my jalapeno-cheese tamale; this time, though, the promised peppers were aggravatingly omitted.

Bookmark and Share
previous  ·  1 l 2 l 3 l 4 ... 8 l 9 l 10  ·  next page
all on one page
read more stories here -> Marketplace  l  Culture  l  Community  l  News

You might also like:

Map of Restaurants with Diapering Facilities Map of Restaurants with Diapering Facilities
The Perfect Valentine Dinner - Table talk: Febr... The Perfect Valentine Dinner - Table talk: Febr...
Hip Hop Sock Hop - Fake Ad: January 2017 Hip Hop Sock Hop - Fake Ad: January 2017
Bob Bob
Kay Kendall and Rudy Haertl - Septuagenarian sw... Kay Kendall and Rudy Haertl - Septuagenarian sw...
Photo: The Women's March in Ann Arbor Photo: The Women's March in Ann Arbor
Working from Home (or Workantile) - The pros an... Working from Home (or Workantile) - The pros an...
Ann Arbor Post Offices and Secretary of State Ann Arbor Post Offices and Secretary of State
Calendar This Week - Sports, Dancing, Nature, & Recreation Calendar This Week - Sports, Dancing, Nature, & Recreation
Ann Arbor Nightspots: Aut Bar Ann Arbor Nightspots: Aut Bar
spark
custom blinds and window treatments, flooring, and furniture
top of the lamp. All your in home lighting needs.
Holiday Inn Ann Arbor. Comfortable Hotel, a home away from home.
Become of Fan of the Ann Arbor Observer on Facebook
Victors For Art February 18th through June 11th
A visitor's guide to Ann Arbor