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Best Tamales 

La Borinqueña Mex-icatessen & Specialty Shop

This tamale emporium on the fringes of Old Oakland, where the tamales are as big as burritos, traces its roots to 1944 when Rosa Lopez Velasquez and her husband, Adriano, opened a grocery store that eventually morphed into today's restaurant and delicatassen-like market known for its masa, tortillas, tamales, and pan dulce. Named for the word meaning a female Puerto Rican, La Borinqueña continues the family tradition with descendants of Velasquez behind the counters today. The prepared daily tamales off the La Borinqueña service line are huge, meaty behemoths, drenched in cheese and gravy, a mountain of goodness that adds inches to waistlines. True fans stock up on cooked pork, chicken, vegetable, green chile, and cheese, and sweet tamales at Christmas time, taking them home by the dozens for reheating (check the web site for instructions; some varieties require advance notice). An equal number of diehards rely on La Borinqueña for the masas, hojas (corn or paper), dried chile pods, and chile powder to make their own.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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