In parts of Mexico, there are gatherings wherein the main goal is simply to make tamales. These gatherings are called Tamaladas. Cantina La Martina, located at 2800 D Street in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, is hosting their own ‘La Tamalada’ event with several very special judges on Sunday, February 5th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The celebration of tamales will feature 10 local Latino street vendors selling their own tamales, and a number of local food industry professionals, including Chefs Eli Kulp and Jennifer Zavala, will serve as judges for the competition. Recognitions will be given to the top street vendor participants, and a portion of sales from brunch and dinner service that day will be donated to Conwell Middle School in Kensington.
“Our mission is to promote small Latino entrepreneurs in our community while celebrating La Candelaria, a Mexican celebration of the official closure of the holiday season,” said Cantina La Martina’s Chef/owner Dionicio Jimenez, who was recently nominated by the James Beard Foundation as Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic for the 2023 awarrds. “We decided to turn that event into a sizeable celebration, and we’re inviting the entire community to join us. We hope to see many new and familiar faces for our delicious Tamalada.”
Admission to the event is free, but guests are encouraged to bring cash to buy tamales from the street vendors, who keep 100% of their sales. In addition to the tamales, specialty drinks made just for La Tamalada will be available for purchase throughout the event.
Cantina La Martina opened in February 2022 by Chef Dionicio Jimenez, who brought inspiration from all over Mexico to create an authentic Mexican menu at his Kensington restaurant. Jimenez, a Vetri alumni, helped open Xochitl and El Rey during his 24 years in the industry prior to opening Cantina La Martina, his first solo venture.