Tamales... what better "comfort" food is there in this world than tamales? Especially tamales that are fresh and lovingly made by friendly people... Tamales La Bamba... open weekends and located near Denio's Auction Yard, in Roseville, CA.
Photo: Tamales La Bamba is located in a pre-fabricated metal building, on Atkinson Street in Roseville, CA, just a short block north of Denio's Farmer's Market and Swap Meet. Tamales La Bamba is located on the grounds of Joseph's Auction Town, which has been closed for nearly 8 years at the time of this writing.
It's a little past 10 in the morning on Sunday, February 16, 2020, and I've arrived at Tamales La Bamba to enjoy a Sunday morning breakfast of some of the best tamales in Placer county!
Photo: As you enter the restaurant, you'll meet the friendly owner of the business, Ernesto, as he relaxes behind the metal cart, which serves as the counter. There is nothing fancy about the restaurant, as the tables are folding, and the chairs are plastic. When you order a soda or a bottled water, you may receive your order from an ice chest, as refrigerator space is limited, as the fridge is dedicated to tamales.
Photo: Customers line up to place their orders. Among the Roseville Hispanic community, and "foodies" like me, tamales are a very popular breakfast entree on weekends, particularly Sunday. Tamales La Bamba does a brisk business on late Sunday mornings!
Photo: Today's menu selection is very simple, and offers just five varities of tamales. Back in 2013, the restaurant stopped selling beef tamales, as according to the owner, beef was getting too expensive to offer as a selection.
Photo: Ernesto, the owner of the restaurant, fills a coffee order for a customer. I didn't realize until today's visit the restaurant offers coffee, but coffee definitely works with tamales.
Photo: This gentleman appears to hungry, as he is unwrapping from the corn husk his first, of four, tamales.
Photo: The friendly counter gal - Ernesto's daughter - delivers my plate of tamales to me with a smile. After I ordered and paid for my tamales, they were presented to me is less than a minute, and I barely had time to take this photo.
Photo: Meet Ernesto, owner of Tamales La Bamba, as he smiles beside the plate of my two tamales. Ernesto is a friendly guy, who greets you with a smile, and treats you like family.
Photo: Thanks, Ernesto, for snapping my photo, as I get ready to enjoy an amazing breakfast of the finest tamales in Placer county.
Photo: Each table is set with two trays of sauce, a green salsa verde and a red ranchero-style red chili sauce. How do you decide which sauce to enjoy? Maybe place green sauce on one tamale, and red sauce on the other? During a previous visit to the fine restaurant, I'd enjoyed the salsa verde, so today I went with the salsa roja and enjoyed it.
The salsa roja is on the spicy side, so if you're "sensitive" in that direction, caveat emptor. But, the sauce is rich, robust, flavorful and enhances the delicious tamales. I highly recommend it!
Photo: Tamales La Bamba is a "mom and pop" restaurant that's only open on weekends, as they're located on Atkinson Street, just a short block from Denio's Auction Yard. The menu advertises several varieties of tamales... but you have to ask, as not everything is available, as the menu advertises.
Today, I enjoyed a cheese tamale, and a pork tamale. Tamales La Bamba produces amazing tamales, and is the only "Tamale only" restaurant in Roseville, and all of Placer county.
Tamales La Bamba is open on Saturdays and Sundays only. Their amazing tamales are made at home, and brought to the restaurant, in stored in a refrigerator, ready for instant service. If you request, the friendly staff will warm your tamales in a microwave oven, but in my case, I love tamales any way I can find them, so I couldn't wait for the microwave, as I had to "dig in," enjoy, and "pig out" on fine tamales.
The masa is made from scratch, so is the sauce, and the meat is locally sourced. As I mentioned before, the tamales are made in mama's kitchen and brought to the store, ready for you to enjoy. In chatting to Ernesto, Friday and Saturday nights are "tamale making nights" at home, as the staff gets up very early in the morning to make tamales for each day of business. It's not uncommon for the store to have a "run" on a certain variety of tamale, so just because your favorite tamale is listed on the menu doesn't mean it will be in stock, as it could be sold out. If you have your heart seat on a certain variety of tamale, I suggest you arrive early.
I removed the tamales and placed them on the corn husks, which enhanced the delicious flavor, and made for a great photo.
Photo: I smothered my pork and cheese tamales in several spoonfuls of the spicy red sauce on the table, and with each bite, I jumped for joy, as the combination was simply amazing. The tamales are "stand alone" delicious, and the red sauce simply enhances their flavor. If you're "sensitive" use a little caution, as the sauce is on the hot side, but it was simply perfect for my taste buds.
Photo: One pork tamale, sitting on the corn husk, and smothered with tangy, red chili sauce. Tamales are "comfort" food on both sides of the border, and there is nothing better than enjoying a breakfast of tamales on a late Sunday morning at Tamales La Bamba, located in Roseville, CA.
Consider this: La Bamba offers only one product: Tamales. But... you have to keep in mind that their tamales are made in-house from fresh ingredients, and at only $2.00 each, you can afford to enjoy at least a couple of them. That's a bargain, but wait until you savor one of their delicious tamales...
Photo: Back in January, 2012, Joseph's Auction Town closed, so La Bamba was forced to relocated to their present location, just outside the former auction yard, on Atkinson Street. Actually, the location is better, as the new location is a little "less shabby," and it faces the street, so if anything, it gets more foot traffic, as Joseph's Auction Yard was truly a sad affair during it's last couple of years...
Photo: You place your order at the "Order Here" window, and before you know it, your plate of fresh tamales is waiting for you at the "Pick Up Here" window to your right. I think the elapsed time between placing my order and picking it up amounted to about 30 seconds... That's fast by any standard! On this early Sunday afternoon, April 14, 2013, I was surprised that I was the only customer in the restaurant at the time of my visit.
Photo: The menu is displayed on the wall behind the counter, and La Bamba offers tamales in the following varieties: pork, chicken, beef, cheese and chili, vegetables, "sweet tamale," pineapple, raisins and strawberry. Strawberry tamales? Maybe I'll try one some day. Besides canned sodas, that's their menu. . The restaurant is plain, shabby, and very low-tech, but a lot of fun. If you're not a customer, move on, as there are signs posted everywhere, both in English and Spanish that read "Tables are only for the use of La Bamba customers." With your order in hand, you find a spot at one of the many tables, unwrap your tamale, and enjoy a little slice of heaven.
Photo: Ernesto, the owner of the business, was the only person working today, and he was very busy cleaning up, as it was 3 O’clock, and they were almost out of tamales, and getting ready to close their door for the weekend. I didn't pester him to take a photo of me.
Photo: I ordered a pork, and a chicken tamale, and the price of admission was only $4.00 for two tamales. The tamales were wrapped inside of moist corn leaves, the masa was perfect, and the filling was just like the filling that Aunt Esperanza used to make, as La Bamba's tamales are authentic, and could pass for tamales made in a tiny town in "Anywhere," Mexico. These tamales are DELICIOUS!
tamales, great people, and authentic Mexican cuisine. If
you're looking for great tamales, look no further than La
Bamba, in Roseville.
Let's look back to 2012, when Tamales La Bamba was located inside Joseph's Auction Town, who is, sadly out of business.
I've been a resident of the City of Roseville for nearly 10 years, and I attend the weekend Denio's Farmers Market and Swap Meet on a regular basis, but I'd never been across Vineyard Rd. to Joseph's Auction Town, which has been at the same location since. 1970. Auction Town is dwarfed by its neighbor Denio's, but Joeseph's has many amenities that Denio's doesn't have, such as a beer stand that serves $2.00 draft beers, and a delightful little Mexican diner, by the name of La Bamba Tamales, who serves delicious, fresh, in-house made tamales. La Bamba offers only one product: Tamales. But... you have to keep in mind that their tamales are made in-house from fresh ingredients, and at only $2.00 each, you can afford to order a couple of them. It's a sign of the times as, at this visit, on Sunday, January 8, 2012, $2.00 for a tamale seems like a bargain...
Photo: La Bamba is located in a very plain building, at Joseph's Auction Town. You can't miss the place, as they have signs placed all over the grounds pointing to the location. To my knowledge, La Bamba is the only restaurant in the greater Sacramento area that exclusively sells tamales.
La Bamba Tamales is located at the east end of Building "C" and you really have to look for them to find them, as they don't have a sign. As you enter Auction Town, you'll see a temporary sign that points you in the general direction, but you'll find La Bamba easily if you head to the end of building "C" that's closest to the railroad tracks, and just follow your nose. La Bamba is very unpretentious, as really all it is a covered stall, with three large doors, open to the elements, with a counter where the staff prepare tamales, take your money, and make change. The dining is furnished with folding tables, plastic chairs and a few picnic tables, the floor is a concrete slab, and the walls are painted a rather garish turquoise. If you look up at the ceiling, you'll see decorative garlands, no doubt left over from last year's Christmas tree, and bare fluorescent light bulbs. Mexican banda music is playing in the background. Naturally, Spanish is the language of choice for most patrons.
Photo: You place your order at the "Order Here" window, and before you know it, your plate of fresh tamales is waiting for you at the "Pick Up Here" window to your right. I think the elapsed time between placing my order and picking it up amounted to about 30 seconds... That's fast by any standard!
La Bamba Tamales is family-owned and operated by mom, dad, brother and sister, and operates Saturday and Sunday, keeping Auction Town's hours of 0700 to 1700. To place your order of tamales, you walk up to the window that says "ORDER HERE" and you're by dad, who writes your order on one of those little menu pads that waitresses used to use during the 1960's, does the math by hand, takes your money, and hands it back to you. The menu is displayed on the wall behind the counter, and La Bamba offers tamales in the following varieties: pork, chicken, beef, cheese and chili, vegetables, "sweet tamale," pineapple, raisins and strawberry. Strawberry tamales? Maybe I'll try one some day. Besides canned sodas, that's their menu. Then, you move next door to the "PICK UP HERE" window, and you give your order to mom, who will place your tamale on a plate, along with a napkin or two, and a plastic fork. If you ordered a drink, sister will grab it from one of the ice chests that are sitting by the order window, as La Bamba doesn't have electrical refrigeration for their drinks, as there's only one 1970's vintage home style refrigerator in the restaurant, and I assume the meat gets the priority treatment. The restaurant is plain, shabby, and very low-tech, but a lot of fun. If you're not a customer, move on, as there are signs posted everywhere, both in English and Spanish that read "Tables are only for the use of La Bamba customers." Meanwhile, brother stands behind the counter looking bored, as his role seems to be that of busboy, trash guy, and janitor. With your order in hand, you find a spot at one of the many tables, unwrap your tamale, and enjoy a little slice of heaven.
Photo: As I'm waiting for my order of tamales to cool, I take in the scene of the kitchen/dining room at La Bamba.
I ordered a couple of beef tamales, and the price of admission was only $4.00 for two tamales. The tamales were wrapped inside of moist corn leaves, the masa was perfect, and the filling was just like the filling that Aunt Esperanza used to make, as La Bambas tamales are authentic, and could pass for tamales made in a tiny town in "Anywhere," Mexico.
If you're a fan of salsa, like I am, La Bamba provides verde or rosa salsa... I prefer salsa verde, as the photo shows.
Photo: My order of two delicious beef tamales, after I'd unwrapped them from the corn husks. These tamales are as good as it gets... I highly recommend La Bamba for delicious tamales in the greater Sacramento area.
Great tamales, great people, and authentic Mexican cuisine. If you're looking for great tamales, look no further than La Bamba, in Roseville.
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