Some found the Press Herald's reporting on the tamales at Loco Pollo a bit over succinct. As I was passing by and needed something to bring home for dinner, I stopped in to get the scoop.
Everything I know about Mexican food comes from going to the Mission district in San Francisco and a handful of obscure hole in the wall restaurants outside Davis, California. The Davis farmer's market had a tamale cart and I've yet to find a tamale that could compare to the ones it sold. The tamale cart sold vegetarian tamales that were particularly good, which was a bonus. To my mind the tamale needs to be moist throughout and it's filling needs to pack a lot flavor to stand out against its cornmeal coating.
I picked up three ancho chicken and black bean tamales from Loco Pollo; here's one:
Loco Pollo is a fun little spot with only a few tables. I think it's main strength will be as a take away place. I didn't try the pozole, which people said good things about while I was waiting for my tamales. But, alas, the tamales. They seemed a bit small, although that is offset by the fact that they are affordable (3 tamales is $6.00). My tamale was a bit dry and also a bit broken up. The filling wasn't an explosion of rich mexican spices, it was more of whimper. The place has a number of salsas available but all of the bowls were empty. The cornmeal had a nice flavor though and if it had been slightly less dry would have been a good point.
I sort of think my experience may have been a fluke. There were two other tamales available, both with goat cheese, that might have been better choices had I not been avoiding dairy.
A second visit is in order, but for now: merely okay.