Best Tamale (2004)
Jesse Moreno and his family are among the few proprietors still producing truly handmade tamales in Dallas. They roast the pork, grind the corn, spread the masa harina de maiz (corn flour) by hand in the husks and cook the tamales themselves. The Morenos use all the best-quality ingredients, no lard, all vegetable oil. During the holiday season, La Popular is so popular, you have to call in your orders several hours in advance, maybe even a day. There's always lots of chitchat along the front counter: Jesse Moreno Sr. is an avid community volunteer with long service to the Dallas school system, and Jesse Jr. will probably show up on the city council some day. So in addition to selling great tamales, La Popular is an interesting place to visit.