Anyone who has followed this blog from its earliest days knows that I am a super fan of the Orlando-based food truck Tamale Co. This 100% gluten-free food truck introduced me to the magic of tamales, and is a staple of any trip back to Orlando now that I live in Washington DC. Since my last visit, they have announced an expansion to not only one, but two brick and mortar locations: a grab-and-go shop in Altamonte Springs and a soon-to-open location in Orlando's Hourglass District.
With the former now open, I requested that it was my family's first stop after picking me up from the airport. While I enter most reviews questioning what my experience might be like, I entered this experience with the opposite problem- I wondered if my expectations were too high. Could Tamale Co. 2-Go live up to my sky-high expectations?
The first thing I noticed when stepping foot in the restaurant was that the "2-Go" part of their name is telling: the restaurant does not have an indoor seating area. What they lack in real estate they more than make up for in menu options. Starting with the tamales, there are 14 options, with several safe for both vegetarians and vegans alike. New additions to the menu include tacos, salads, bowls, breakfast items, and desserts. Unlike their food truck, the menu is not 100% gluten-free because there are a few gluten-containing items.
It's really hard to eat at Tamale Co. 2-Go and not order tamales because they are just so darn good. After a long day of traveling, I decided to go meatless and ordered the Mex-One tamales, which feature grilled cactus, a rich tomato ranchero sauce, salsa verde and assorted diced vegetables. The tamale plate also comes with Tamale Co. flavorful, perfectly-cooked rice and hearty, thick black beans. The generosity of the serving size and flavorful, filling fare made me not miss meat at all. As the most comforting of comfort foods, every bite was sublimely satisfying.
And of course it wouldn't be a Tamale Co. dining experience without their impossibly delicious hibiscus tea. Perfectly sweet with an intense hibiscus flavor, they truly are a eatery after my heart because they not only have it on hand, but serve it up in a giant size that's larger than the portions served from the food truck.
This blog post may be less of a review and more of me singing the praises of my favorite company and Orlando, but nevertheless I can't recommend Tamale Co. 2-Go enough. After all these years their quality hasn't dipped a bit, and I just keep falling deeper and deeper in love with their food. I am so happy for the company that this is the first of two brick and mortar restaurants to bring more tamales to the people who love them.