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Spotlight: Scott Joseph Reviews Tamale Co.

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Tamale Co sign photo courtesy of Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide

Tamale Co sign photo courtesy of Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide

This review is abridged for broadcast. Find the full version of the review at Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide on this page.

It’s really impressive how much a restaurant’s serving staff can affect the overall experience.

Of course it doesn’t hurt if the restaurant has good food to go along with a pleasant serving staff.

Tamale Co. has both. And now the popular food truck purveyor of fine Mexican fare has a nonwheeled location in Orlando’s unofficially designated Hourglass District.

It joins a few other businesses inside the solid walls of the Hourglass Social Club, which is sort of a latter day food court.

Tamale Co. has a sizable bit of the space, enough for a food and beer bar, and some tables and chairs for feet-on-the-floor seating.

I stopped in and was greeted quite cheerily by a young woman at the counter who offered to take my order. She seemed positively giddy to be working there and joyful to have another customer come in.

I ordered the Most Mexican, an unfortunately named combination of chicken and pork tamales with rice and beans. The tamales came conjoined by a topping of white cheese and sour cream and sprinkles of chopped fresh cilantro. They were both quite plump, their girth consisting not only of the firm-soft masa but also the ample fillings of meat. They sat in a mild salsa verde. The refried beans were good, too, but the rice didn’t rise to the same level.

On another visit I got the Chicharron Preparado, a large rectangle of fried pork skin topped with sour cream, tomatoes, cabbage and pieces of pickled pork rind. Delicious.

I also had the Carne Asada tamales, which had bite-sized pieces of steak on top of the tamale instead of stuffed inside. It also had generous slices of avocado and melted cheese.

For an un-tamale item I ordered a Chorizo taco, which had pork sausage in a soft corn tortilla, also with avocados and pickled onions. I liked it all.

My only concern with Tamale Co.’s new place is that it’s entirely too close to where I live. I fear I’m going to be here way too much.

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