From the outside, we weren't sure whether Tamales Liliana's was a full restaurant, or just a stand to pick up tamales, but once inside, we found a cozy diner with families mostly tucking into steaming bowls of menudo. But there's a fairly extensive menu, and you can add any type of tamale a la carte to your order for an eminently reasonable $1.35. The breakfast menu is impressive, with divorced eggs, chilaquiles and sychronized quesadillas (you can tell I enjoy the English menu translations). Just about everything you can do with corn is represented here: gorditas, huraches, sopes, pozole and tamales of the chile rojo, chile verde, rajas con queso, chicken and dulce varieties. Matt had chile rojo and chicken tamales, while I had a carne asada sope and a tamale dulce with raisins and pineapple. Everything was homey and tasty, and since I've got a cold, I especially enjoyed the clearly homemade jamaica drink which was strong and not too sweet. First St. is kind of desolate since it's shut down for Metrorail construction, but Tamales Liliana's is a worthy stop for breakfast or lunch, even if you have to navigate the street closures. We parked at Cinco Puntos over on Cesar Chavez so we could pick up fresh tortillas and guacamole on the way back, and walked a few blocks over to First. Anyone tried the Mexico Cafe on the corner of First and Indiana? They had some great-looking specials written on the window.
3348 E. 1st St.; (323)780-0829
also at 4629 E. Cesar Chavez Ave.; (323) 780-0989