I’m always on the lookout for hidden gems in Peoria and MBIP pal and Contributing Writer Chip Joyce recently told me about a business I think could fall into this category. It’s a takeout food outlet in West Peoria that specializes in tamales. In fact tamales are about all that’s on the menu. It’s called Emily’s Tattoo Tamales and as far as I know this is the only takeout tamale kitchen in Peoria. Intrigued? Me too...to the MBIP Mobile!
We’re in West Peoria and the MBIP Mobile is traveling down Heading Avenue to...
The Woodridge Building where Emily’s Tattoo Tamales is located. Let’s park and start today’s adventure.
Wow, this is a cool building and it’s been here for decades...
The cornerstone block says, 1937. I love these historic buildings and nice to see businesses making good use of them.
Let’s go in and look for Emily’s Tattoo Tamales, all of a sudden I’m craving tamales!
There’s lot’s of businesses are operating in here! But there’s only one operation on the lower level and that’s Emily’s Tattoo Tamales! We’re getting warm and hopefully the tamales are too!
I don’t see an elevator, so let’s head down this hallway...
To this door, which I’m guessing leads to...
A stairway to tamales!
Holy smokes, this hallway smells so good, I think that doorway on the right is...
Emily’s Tattoo Tamales! We’ve found it, let’s go in and see what’s cooking!
Here's the owner of Emily’s Tattoo Tamales, Kim in the kitchen and prep area. Wait a second...Kim? So who the hell is Emily?
This is Emily (on the left), it’s Kim’s grandmother and this is an article about her back in 1981 in the local paper from Pittsburg, California where she lived. The article told about her volunteering in kitchens and her love of cooking and preparing food. The tamales that Kim makes are inspired by Emily and one of them is Emily’s very own pork tamale recipe from back in the day. We’ll be sampling that in a little bit, so keep on scrolling!
Here’s another newspaper article on Emily’s passion for cooking...
And here’s Kim holding a picture of her grandmother, check out the family resemblance! She told me she shares the same passion her grandmother had and that this business is inspired by her grandmother and a tribute to her cooking and memory. Very nice!
Here’s the husks lined up for tamale preparation. The name, Emily’s Tattoo Tamales comes from both her grandmother’s first name and the unique logo that’s stamped onto the corn husks that the tamales are encased in.
This is the branding iron that stamps each husk with this cool and unique logo.
Here’s Kim working on a batch of tamales. Balls of masa, which is a corn mixture are placed on the husks and then spread out to form the spongy outer shell of the tamale. Then the mola is added which is a mixture of pork and gravy and then she rolls them up into tasty tamales.
These are a real work of edible art!
Here’s some of the different styles of tamales that Kim prepared for me, very cool! I think it’s time to start sampling some of these tattooed tamales!
Here’s Kim picking one...
They’re fully cooked and here's Kim warming one up in the microwave.
This is the pork tamale that’s her grandmother’s recipe. This is so crazy good! There’s a nice spicy flavor to it that’s balanced out by the soft outer masa encasing. The pork is juicy and tender and the mola adds a rich flavor to the tamale. The whole thing melts in your mouth. Best tamale ever!
There’s five styles of tamales available at Emily’s: Pork, Hot Pork, Cheese and Cactus, Hot Cheese and Cactus and Cheese. I sampled all of them and I loved them all, but if I had to pick one as my favorite, I think I’d pick the Hot Pork. It had heat, but it didn’t overpower the overall taste of the tamale.
If you want to sample these tamales you can stop by (the address and phone number are below) or check them out next Wednesday at Taste of Peoria, check out details for Taste of Peoria by clicking here.
If you want to order some tamales, here’s the way to do it. Call and place your order, the number is: 309-573-1830. The tamales come in orders of one dozen for twenty dollars for your first order. With that order you get this cool burlap Emily’s Tattoo Tamales bag and when you place orders after that and return with the bag, you get a dozen tamales for just eighteen bucks. That’s just a buck and a half per tamale, a bargain for these homemade delights! And I love that bag!
When you pick up your order, they’re warm and enclosed in a large Ziploc bag...
And then Kim puts them in the customized burlap bag and you’re good to go. There’s a business card and re-warming instructions attached as well.
Here’s the rest of my tamales that I’m taking back to the MBIP World Headquarters for further sampling and I think beer may be involved with this aforementioned sampling! Kim said that she’s also available for select catering of parties and events and you can call and talk to her about that. Emily’s Tattoo Tamales just opened last April and I highly recommend you give them a try. The hours are 8AM to 5PM, so you can have them for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner! Thanks to Kim for a fun and tasty afternoon at Emily’s Tattoo Tamales and we’ll see you all tomorrow!
Emily’s Tattoo Tamales
2619 West Heading Avenue (In The Woodridge Office Building)
Suite 105 (In the basement)
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