CVIndependent

Thu04242014

Last updateSat, 11 Jan 2014 11am

The Indy Endorsement

What: The Goat Cheese Sweet Corn Tamale

Where: Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse, 71800 Highway 111, No. A176, Rancho Mirage

How much: $11

Contact: 760-346-8738; www.babesbbque.com

Why: It’s a veritable flavor bomb.

If you’re looking for a traditional Mexican tamale, then Babe’s is not the place for you. (Unless you also like great beer and tasty barbecue, but that’s a story for another time.)

However, if you’re looking for a twist (and a serious size upgrade) on the traditional tamale, then get thee to this mainstay at The River, pronto.

There is a lot going on in this far-from-traditional dish. There’s sweetness from the corn meal, as well as a subtler sweetness from the goat cheese. There’s a whole lot of savory from the tortilla soup in which the huge tamale is swimming. There’s a delightful bit of floral freshness from the microgreens lovingly placed atop the concoction. And the variety of textures—soft (the goat cheese), creamy (the soup), crisp (the greens)—will keep your mouth entertained with each and every bite.

The sum of these parts: a veritable flavor bomb. We’ve praised the delightful subtlety of some dishes in this space before. Well, this tamale offers just the opposite: Your taste buds will be overloaded—in a good way—by all of the different flavors hitting them.

Take note: The tamale—a recipe from the founder of Babe’s, the late Don Callender—is not always available; sometimes, Babe’s may have pork or chicken tamales instead. As the menu says, “Check availability with your server. As (Don Callender) would say, ‘Here today, gone tamale!’”

I am sure the pork and chicken tamales are quite yummy, too. But I’d keep your fingers crossed for the goat cheese.

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