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Tamale Lady Ousted From Zeitgeist [Updated]

In some majorly sad street food news, Virginia Ramos, better known to everyone as The Tamale Lady, got a notice this week that she won't be allowed to peddle her tamales at Zeitgeist anymore. SFist spoke with Ramos, who said she was upset after hearing from the Zeitgeist team yesterday, and "disappointed" that they wouldn't negotiate any other solution. Zeitgeist is near to her heart among the many bars she passes through with her rolling cooler of tamales and roll of paper towels. "This is one of the places I can see you guys all the time and talk to you guys and love you guys," she says.

Zeitgeist tweeted yesterday (since deleted) that the decision was due to "SF city codes and regulations," but Eater spoke today with a rep from Supervisor David Campos's office who says that they are going to find out if they can help with something, permit-wise, with the Health Department.

Ramos also asks that her fans step up and perhaps invite her to come by their offices in town, so that maybe someday she can afford to open up her own tamale shop. For now, she's going to continue making the rounds of the Mission and Castro, with hopefully no further problems.

You can find her via her infrequently updated Twitter account, or via the geotag-based TamaleLady app. One place she'll definitely be is at the Eagle, which will be hosting her 60th birthday party on June 21 ? something Zeitgeist would normally be doing.

Update: It sounds like the problem came up originally via the ABC, not the Health Department, and it was an ABC inspector who warned Zeitgeist that they will be liable for the quality of Ramos's food. [Inside Scoop]

Update 2: David Campos's office is on it, and Campos says "The Tamale Lady will not go down!" They're putting her in touch with La Cocina, and hoping that if the non-profit lets her use their commercial kitchen to make her tamales, she'll be able to pass official muster with the powers that be. [SFBG]

· Tragedy: Tamale Lady Can No Longer Sell At Zeitgeist [SFist]
· Tamale Lady [~ESF~]
· Zeitgeist Gets Up to Code, Gets Rid of Porta Potties [~ESF~]
[Photo: SanFranAnnie/Flickr ]


199 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA