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Food & Drink

Best Turnaround From Near-Disaster 

The Tamale Lady

It was a hell of a year for Virginia Ramos, aka the Tamale Lady, aka San Francisco's Patron Saint of Hangover Prevention. First, the grandmotherly peddler of warm meat and cheese encased in masa was banned from the popular bar Zeitgeist by the S.F. Department of Public Health, for her not-quite-above-board practices in making the tamales that she moves around town in her plastic bag-insulated coolers. A few months later, she teamed up with rideshare service Uber to distribute tamales on demand for a few hours one Friday. She was immortalized (for a few months at least) in a mural in Clarion Alley in the Mission. And, in December, Ramos announced that she was opening a brick-and-mortar near 16th and Mission thanks to a crowdfunding campaign and help from neighborhood supervisor David Campos. While we'll miss her miraculous appearance at bars like Lucky 13 and Homestead just when we need her most, we look forward to having a permanent, BART-adjacent spot to find her delicious tamales — we may even enjoy them sober for once.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)


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