Sweet Corn Elote Tamales from Molly's Tamales

Tacos may very well be the perfect food, but let's face it, the standard Meximerican fare can get a bit stale after a while. Taco the Town is here to highlight some of the more unusual Mexican finds in the valley.

This week: Elote y Nopalito Tamales hand-crafted by Molly's Tamales.

¿Como se dice?: Molly's Tamales is a small shop at the corner of 43rd Avenue and Dunlap out in the heart of Glendale. The shop features a huge variety of tamales, from the traditional beef, pork, and chicken, to the more exotic salmon and nopalitos (processed prickly pear cactus pads). There are even a couple of sweet tamales on the menu to satisfy the dessert-lover, including a roxy road (choco-mallow), or strawberry and pineapple with raisins.

All of Molly's Tamales are made lard- and shortening-free, opting instead for oil (and sometimes a smidgen of buttah), to keep them light, moist, and not too bad for you. The shop offers a wide variety of vegetarian tamales, and even a couple vegan options like the black bean, corn and chipotle chile. All of this may sounds a bit hoity toity for the humble tamale, but the flavor of these masa bombs will more than sway your opinion.

(sink your teeth into all the spicy details after the jump)

La Comida: We opted for the Sweet Corn Elote tamales, a self-described signature tamale of the shop. The masa-to-filling ratio ensured that we got a bite of cheesy corn and nopalitos in every bite. Using oil instead of lard or shortening ensured that the tamales were light and tender, rather than heavy and dense.

With the added sweet corn and cheese, the flavor was similar to some of the moistest corn bread we've ever had the pleasure of consuming, shoved smack dab in the middle of a tamale. After eating one tamale naked in order to judge its merit, we smothered our next tamale in spicy avocado salsa and indulged in a bit of delicious, gluttonous abandon.

Bring a bit of México to your kitchen: Molly's Tamales is open 9-5 on weekdays, and sometimes tours the farmers market circuit on the weekends. One thing we've heard from others is that the meaty offerings run a bit on the mild side, but that you can call ahead and order and ask Miss Molly to spice it up to your desired level of nose-running burn.

Know of any Mexican gems in the valley? Reveal your family secrets in the comment section.

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Erica O'Neil