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Tamale Lady: Spotlight on a Mar Vista Farmers Market Vendor

Don’t cook in the heat of summer. Take home Masa Tamalitos instead from the Mar Vista Farmers Market.

Lucrecia Bianchi, of Masa Artisan Gourmet Tamales, developed the mouthwatering tamales that she sells each Sunday at the while she lived in Guatemala for eight years. Then she brought her recipes back home to share the bounty with Angelenos. Her tamalitos—small tamales—are so much more than what you’d expect; savory, low-fat and delicious.

She incorporates beautiful colors, reminiscent of Guatemala’s cheerful fabrics, into her tamales with natural ingredients. She uses organic masa, and many other organic ingredients as well. “If it’s on the dirty dozen,” Lucrecia says, “I use an organic option.” 

You wouldn’t know it, but these tamales are lower in fat. The reason is that Lucrecia’s masa recipe is special. While she might keep it a secret, she’s got a good reason. Her tamales have won awards and she says it’s the masa that keeps people coming back for more.

For a traditional tamale, try the sweet green corn. It’s her most popular choice along with the roasted tomato and spinach. Lucrecia says they are both kid favorites.

If you’re interested in comfort food, you have to try the mushroom and roasted garlic. One bite made me want to curl up with a plate-full and a good book in a hammock.

Other tasty combinations include corn, jalapeño and scallion; chile poblano and cheese; cilantro, potato and jalapeño (another satisfying comfort food); and roasted tomato and spinach. With the exception of the chile poblano and cheese tamale, all the rest are vegan. Lucrecia says that meat eaters don’t miss the meat.

Each one is a different color of the rainbow, and is made with rice bran oil. Lucrecia prides herself on making tamales with no canola oil, no gluten, and no GMO ingredients.

Masa Artisan Gourmet Tamales has been at the farmers market since April of 2012, but if you can’t make it there, you can also find these tasty tamales at the Sunset Strip farmers market.

In addition to the assortment of tamalitos, Lucrecia makes jalapeño relish. She recommends it on everything, “except the tamales,” she says with a smile.  It’s made with jalapeños, vinegar, a little sugar and salt.  

So why cook where there’s Masa so close by? Get your tamalitos for $6 per bag of 4, or a half pint of relish for $5.

The Masa website offers online ordering of tamales, tamalitos and salsas. You can also have Masa cater your next event. Visit MasaTamales.com for more details.

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