EAST LOS ANGELES — In the middle of his annual recommendations on where to buy Christmas tamales, L.A. Times columnist Jonathan Gold delivers a bombshell wrapped in masa and corn husks: Juanito’s Tamales has closed. Gold mourns the loss of one of his favorites:
“Most years, I end up back at Juanito’s, whose thin-shelled tamales steamed in broth I have been picking up since the last time the Dodgers won the World Series. I dream about those tamales sometimes: their heft, their musky smell, the way the chile poured out when you breached the crust. But Juanito’s seems to have closed this year. There is a gaping, tamal-shaped hole in the heart of the city’s tamale scene.”
The Floral Drive tamale shop and restaurant had been in business for more than 60 years when it closed over the summer, according to Juanito’s fans on Yelp.
“It breaks my heart, this little hole in the wall restaurant that sooo many families such joy and comfort for so many years, is no more,” said Lisa F. Adds Mia B.:” Hopefully this is a temporary close – I can still smell them making tamales, but the doors are locked and business is closed. Sad, sad times.”
It’s not clear why Juanito’s closed. A message informs callers that Juanito’s voice mailbox is full.
So, where are regulars of Juanito’s going to buy their Christmas Eve tamales this year? La Indiana? La Mascota? Costco?
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