For many Mexican and Central American families, a feast of tamales on Christmas Eve is as essential as dining on turkey for Thanksgiving. It’s not just about eating the tamales, but also about the bonding experience, since the process of making tamales is long and laborious. Family members take turns applying the seasoned nixtamalized maize paste - historically credited as one of civilization’s earliest forms of processing a food - on dozens of softened corn husks or banana leaves. Fortunately for Angelenos, there’s a plethora of restaurants that specialize in making tamales almost as good as mamá's for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. If there’s one thing you should count on unwrapping for Christmas in L.A., it’s a tamal.