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Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013

Tamales on the Street

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On most weather-abiding afternoons, the streets of several South Side neighborhoods welcome a tempting assortment of taqueria trucks and elote (Mexican corn on the cob) carts. Convenient and affordable, these vendors combine traditional methods and recipes with fast-paced preparation.

Among the carts and trucks dotting Milwaukee’s South Side, Berta’s Tamales has proven itself to be one of the best. Parked outside the original Mercado El Rey (1023 South Cesar E. Chavez Drive), Berta’s offers an impressive selection of menu items including pork enchiladas ($5.25); grilled quesadillas ($4.75); chicken, pork and skirt steak tacos ($1.75); chicken tamales ($1.25); spicy pambazos (5.25) and overflowing huaraches ($5.50). Served on a soft, Mexican roll coated with red guajillo pepper sauce, Berta’s pambazos are filled with a pan-fried mixture of sweet potatoes, onions, peppers and chorizo sausage, while the huaraches sandwiches are essentially super-sized tacos served on a fried masa flatbread. As is the case with most street foods, pambazos and huaraches are prepared for utensil-less consumption, but these deliciously sloppy super-sandwiches require, at the very least, three paper napkins and one 20-minute post-lunch nap.