OK, Who Told the Cops That the Tamale Truck Was Selling Marijuana Tamales?
Given all the publicity that Jennifer Zavala’s illegal tamale truck received last week, we pretty much assumed that at least one branch of city government would take issue with her new enterprise, which debuted on Sunday in South Philadelphia. But what we didn’t expect was for the cops to show up looking for drugs.
Zavala pulled into the parking lot at Front and Snyder streets around 10:15 a.m. on Sunday, just after her beat-up old graffiti-covered van stalled out on Front Street. She announced the location on Facebook at the last possible minute, and friends and tamale lovers rushed over to get a taste.
The nearby flea market vendors on the corner seemed a bit puzzled. The van is a sight to behold. Plus, a professional photographer was on hand to document Zavala’s activities. And someone was even Facebook Live-ing the whole thing. (OK, that was me.) All for some tamales, albeit really good ones.
Diners found a table surface of sorts on the rusty bumper of the van, which doubles as a tour vehicle for Eat the Turnbuckle, the ridiculous heavy metal-meets-wrestling band that features Zavala’s husband. (Their slogan: Fans bring weapons.)
At around 10:45 a.m., someone called 911 and reported that Zavala was selling marijuana-laced tamales out of her truck, which she most definitely was not. But haters gonna hate — and, in fact, Zavala does have a cannabis catering business — and two cop cars showed up within minutes.
Of course, I left about five minutes before all this went down, so when I heard what was up, I rushed back to talk to Zavala:
On Tuesday morning, the Philadelphia Police Department confirmed for us that a caller tried to narc on Zavala and that police found no evidence of marijuana anywhere on the scene.
Still, the cops got back into their cars and sat there watching.
“It was like someone reading the paper over your shoulder,” says Zavala. “So I left to finish selling the rest on Broad and Snyder. I made 200 total and sold out in basically less than an hour total time.”
Zavala promises that she’ll be back this weekend at a new, currently secret location. But instead of a pork and a veggie tamale, she’s changing things up and introducing a samosa tamale and a short rib and kimchi version.
“It’s rebel tamale in full effect,” she says.
Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter