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Food & Drink

BEST TAMALES Los Angeles 2009 

La Mascota

At La Mascota, the Salcedo family has been churning out Mexican bolillos, a softer, chubbier version of a French baguette, for their Boyle Heights neighbors for more than 50 years. But it's the $1.35 to-go tamales that draw the long- distance eaters armed with empty coolers and ice packs. In the kitchen window across from the bakery, 30-year tamale-making veteran Nachita Morales and her granddaughter, Erika Salazar, spoon the chile-spiked fillings onto masa-lined corn husks. The choices are limited — red chile with shredded pork, green chile with chicken or cheese, and sweet pineapple — but that's a good thing for those with limited freezer space. Plus there's a parking lot in back so you don't have to spend more on the meter than on dinner. 2715 Whittier Blvd., L.A. (323) 263-5513, http://lamascotabakery.com/">lamascotabakery.com.

—Jenn Garbee

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