Tarascos Mexican restaurant is not the first place you would expect to find quality cooking classes, or really, cooking classes of any kind. A shabby looking restaurant located among eclectic shops in the Silverlake area of Los Angeles, it isn’t a spot I would have decided to try on my own. However, I’ve been dying to learn how to make tamales, and when I learned that they had weekly classes I jumped at the chance to take one.
If you’re like me and have trouble learning a technique by simply watching a video or reading instructions, this class is for you. It’s completely hands on – everyone leaves with 3 tamales to take home that they actually made themselves. I particularly loved that you could choose your fillings; as I vegetarian I forewent the chicken and instead filled mine with vegetables, beans, and cheese. It was also a pretty small group, which was great during the instruction because our teacher could come to each of us and give personal assistance if we were having trouble with a particular step. Tamale making isn’t difficult per se, but the technique is fairly precise and it would be easy to make critical errors without the guidance of an experienced teacher there.
Although humble, the atmosphere is great. We sat in an outdoor patio area on picnic tables and munched on fresh chips and salsa throughout the class. Your fee for the class also includes a beverage – either soda or beer (I went with a beer). A word of advice though – don’t come hungry, unless you want to sample some of Tarascos menu (which isn’t a bad option). If you come at 7PM expecting to eat a tamale dinner you’ll have to wait since the tamales are not ready until the very end of class, which is 2 hours long. However, you’re welcome to order dinner when you arrive and dine while you take the lesson.
Overall, I thought it was a good deal for the price. $50 is fairly cheap as far as cooking classes go (I often see them for a minimum of $65) and in addition to the free drink and 3 tamales, you get great hands-on experience, as well as a print out of instructions to take home with you. I’ve already added masa and corn husks to my grocery list, and they’ll soon be making regular appearances in my kitchen.
Tarascos Tamale Classes: Every Wednesday & Sunday at 9:00AM & 7:00PM. 2 hours long. $50 per person for hands on instruction, free beverage, and 3 tamales to take home. **Call ahead to book a reservation.