100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes, No. 45: The Tamale Pie at La Popular Tamale House

Beth Rankin
The tamale pie at La Popular won't win any James Beard awards, and we couldn't care less.
Leading up to September's Best of Dallas® 2017 issue, we're sharing (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes, the Dallas entrées, appetizers and desserts that really stuck with us this year.

It was a weird predicament — stuck in Expo Park for lunch on a weekday with only 40 minutes to eat. To tack onto that, my dining partner had only been in Texas for three days, so she was on the hunt for something with a little drawl. But limitations, as they often do, can lead to stellar discoveries. Such was the case with our 25-minute, in-and-out lunch at La Popular Tamale House.

The sweet little cafe and tamale shop was the perfect setting for an order of tamale pie, which, when it arrived at our table, made my dining partner quizzically ask, "That doesn't look like a pie, does it?" Don't overthink it, Yankee. Just eat.

Two of La Popular's juicy, flavorful tamales were slathered in chili and sprinkled liberally with Fritos for added crunch. Spoonfulls of pico de gallo added tiny punches of freshness to a rich, savory dish that was refreshingly devoid of artisanal anything. Good Mexican food doesn't need to be farm-to-fork — it just needs to hit the spot, and La Popular's tamale pie does just that. As an added bonus, it'll be at your table in no time.