330 Sutter St
(between Grant Ave & Stockton St)
Hrs: M-F 9-5:30p; Sat 11-5:30p
Any local that decides to drive to Union Square for a quick shopping visit knows that the sutter Stockton Garage offers the best bang for buck.
This was how I happened by Sutter Cafe, tucked across from the elevators of the lower lobby area that directs pedestrians to Sutter Street (not the lobby staffed with humans).
What caught my eye was the sign for handmade chicken and olive tamales, for $2.25. (Note: 7×7 has already discovered this place.) They otherwise look like any other deli – sandwiches, coffee, juices.
The Sutter Stockton garage tamales are normal-sized, but packed wih a generous combination of chicken and olives. You can optionally also get a side of Chinese hot sauce to go with it – a fine combo. I got my order to go and was gobbling it down before I started my shopping. Afterwards, I went back and bought a couple more to take home. (To reheat in the microwave, drape a damp paper towel over the tamales to help trap some of the moisture.)
Even more memorable is the woman who makes them. A Chinese woman who speaks Spanish (in addition to Mandarin), who spent time in Mexico City and learned how to make them from an in-law relative. I can get my Spanish and Chinese language practice in while filling my belly – life is good.