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The Tamales Are Always Hot and Tasty at Posa's

By Pamela Sosnowski

If you're looking for authentic Mexican tamales while in Santa Fe, look no further than Posa's on Rodeo Road. A local favorite, it's been serving up tamales as well as burritos, tacos, nachos, and other Mexican fare since 1955. A family-run business, it is now being managed by Jeff Posa, who is the grandson of the original owners.

The original restaurant was a cafe called El Merendero, located on Galisteo Street and operated by Jose and Aurora Lujan. After making some changes to the menu, the Lujans decided to specialize in tamales and eventually became a supplier for local grocers and restaurants in the Santa Fe area.

During the '80s and '90s, Posa's actually had several locations that included stores in addition to the restaurant. In 2003 the storefronts were consolidated into two locations, and Posa's official name is now Posa's Tamale Factory and Restaurant. The new facilities are more than three times as large as the space they occupied in 1979.

What sets the restaurant apart is its focus on the tamale, which is a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of masa (a corn-based dough) and various fillings that is then steam cooked in a cornhusk. Tamales have their roots in Aztec and Mayan culture as early as 8000 BC and were popular for their portability. The restaurant makes theirs fresh and by hand using an old family recipe.

"The tamales are our niche," says Jeff Posa. "We produce four different types and also provide many restaurants and residences across this country. Our menu is northern New Mexican flavor. Our menu has a nice little kick in its recipes."

The four tamale flavors are red chili pork, green chili chicken, green chili cheese, and green chili veggies, but the restaurant serves a variety of Mexican dishes including enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, chips with house made salsa, and more.

The restaurant is open for breakfast in addition to lunch and dinner, so those craving an early morning tamale with eggs, breakfast burrito, or huevos rancheros will be pleased. Horchata, a Mexican beverage usually made of rice milk and cinnamon, is served here. Vegetarian options are also available.

The restaurant ships its tamales through its website, and offers catering. Posa's has been featured in the New York Times and the Santa Fe New Mexican, and also won NBC's "Best Darn Tamale" contest in 2011. Open seven days a week, Posa's is sure to have something on its menu to satisfy every Mexican food fan.

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