Best Local Street Vendor - 2007
The Tamale Lady
Virginia Ramos, better known to her hordes of fans and admirers as the Tamale Lady, has been wheeling plastic coolers filled with her handmade wares around the Mission for years. Stopping into as many as 18 bars in one evening between happy hour and closing time, the Tamale Lady's presence is announced. Shouts of "The Tamale Lady is here!" "Quick, lend me five bucks!" "Grab me a veggie!" resound as the Tamale Lady dispenses hot, fresh tamales with homemade hot sauce. One of San Francisco's most eclectic and beloved characters, the Tamale Lady dishes out advice and love as she makes her rounds; advising bar patrons not to drink too much and asking about her customers' dogs, children, and even their love lives. Ramos celebrated her 50th birthday last year at the Zeitgeist, where the sometimes tougher-than-thou patrons gave her a standing ovation and an uproarious celebration.