We were in Jackson for a meeting of the PorchScene team, and when we finished our business my daughter, Mary, the brains behind PorchScene, mentioned that she was heading out on Old Canton Road to try a hot tamale joint. She had my immediate attention. She promised to call me on my cell phone and let me know her opinion of the tamales.
Soon she called and reported that they were “as good as Doe’s” (www.doeseatplace.com) and she was taking a couple dozen back to Opelika with her. “As Good as Doe’s” is high praise in my universe of hot tamales; in fact, it is about the highest. Since Clista wanted to drive to Greenville just to buy ten dozen tamales to bring to an upcoming family reunion, I suggested that we beat feet out to Tony’s Tamales and see if they would be an acceptable substitute for Doe’s, thus saving a three-hundred-mile round trip.
We found Tony’s in a small kiosk in a shopping center parking lot. Drive up and take out only, no seating. We drove up to the drive-in window and were greeted by a very pleasant lady. I explained that we were from out-of-town and had just been told that Tony’s made a dynamite tamale. I asked if she would sell us a half-dozen and let us sample her wares. She dipped up six steaming hot tamales and supplied us with forks and a ton of napkins.
We drove to a shaded spot in the parking lot and I began to un-wrap the corn shuck from the first of the sample. I gave Clista a bite and then I tried it. We agreed that it was indeed a superior tamale. I pulled back to the Tony’s window and we placed an order for an additional ten dozen to go. We were glad to find that Tony’s always keeps a supply of freshly frozen tamales for just such an occasion. While our order was being filled, I ate the other five of our samples.
They were delicious and I can agree with Mary’s assessment that they were as “good as Doe’s.” Clista chastised me for eating the whole half-dozen close to our planned dinner with friends in an hour or two. I munched right on through her warning and as it turned out I was glad that I did. We had a perfectly awful experience at dinner that evening. – Tom Lawrence
6961 Old Canton Road