The Search for the Best Tamales in Town Ends at Marissa’s Deli

by on December 6, 2022 · 5 comments

in Ocean Beach

Marissa’s Deli
3770 Voltaire St.
Stumps Family Marketplace

Point Loma, CA 92107

By Judi Curry

Ever since I was a principal in San Ysidro and one of my teachers had a “tamale-making” party, I have been looking for tamales that were as good as the ones we made back then.  I think I have found them and you will never guess where.  But first, a little background.

I met Marissa several years ago when I placed my first order for tamales with her.  But I have been buying so much more than tamales from this lady over the years.  Homemade salsa, ceviche, salads, homemade soups, sandwiches, etc.  Everything I have purchased from her deli has been delicious and I have stopped shopping at other deli’s because they just don’t compare to hers.

Who is this person you ask?

Marissa was born in Tijuana but came to the United States when she was only two years old.  She is a graduate of San Diego High School and has always had a love of cooking. She talks about how she used to get up on her tiptoes and watch her Abuela (Grandmother) cook.  She was always asking her, “What are you cooking now?”

And not only her grandmother.  Marissa says that her mother was an amazing cook also, and almost all of the recipes that Marissa serves at her deli are family recipes.  (Perhaps that is why the tamales are so good.)  She talks of cooking with love for the food she is making, and said that if it didn’t turn out the way she wanted it to, she would not serve it to her customers.  She wants those of us sampling her food to be delighted and come back for more.

Marissa – Photo by Judi Curry

I asked her how many tamales she made last year and the count was 4000!  She is expecting to do about the same this year in spite of inflation hitting an all time high.  She said that the masa more than doubled in price; corn husks doubled; and we all know that meat and produce has almost tripled in price.

Marissa has a team of 5 women that make the tamales.  They can turn out 1000 a day if they work a full day, but it depends on many factors – how busy the deli is; who is working, etc.

They make 5 kinds of tamales – beef, pork, chicken, cheese and pineapple.  I have tried them all over the years, and this year have pre-ordered the beef, pork, chicken and cheese.  You can buy them cooked or raw – and they are $44.99 a dozen and well worth the price.  (If you want to order them so that you are sure you have them for Christmas, she’d like the orders by the 15th of December. There will be some in the case, but you can not always count on that.)

Marissa gives a lot of credit to the owner of the market for allowing her to branch out in her love for cooking.  She called Dirk her “angel” for giving her the incentive to branch out and try the things she loves to do.  And because of his encouragement, we all benefit.

So … let me tell you where you can find Marissa.  And I bet that many of you will not be surprised. She is the Deli-Manager at Stumps Family Marketplace at 3770 Voltaire Street in Point Loma, 92107.  The phone number for the market is 619-226-9575.

I don’t think that you will ever find a more personable, happy individual working hour upon hour to satisfy your needs that Marissa.  The food she turns out is marvelous.  Remember this when you are looking for the best homemade tamales this season.

I know you will enjoy them.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

GML December 6, 2022 at 10:19 am

Several years ago was she making tamales out of her residence and selling them? If yes, then they were fantastic and I will definitely be stopping by Stumps for more.


judi December 6, 2022 at 11:39 am

Just looking at the lean pork makes me hungry!


Vern December 7, 2022 at 10:23 am

Marissa is really nice. We’ll order some tamales!


Gilbert E Field December 8, 2022 at 9:31 am

Great article as usual, Judi.
I hope to stop by and pick up some tamales soon.


nostalgic December 25, 2022 at 2:41 pm

Judi, based on your recommendations, we had Stumps tamales on Christmas Eve, heated in the microwave by the instructions, they were perfect, a new family tradition. Thank you, and happy holidays to your family.


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