I want to start off with the tamale. Having grown up in Chicago and having a hot dog stand not far from where I lived, I came to really like the “bunch” and “roll” tamales I had on a semi-regular basis. These days, I seem to be able to get them only when I'm at SuperDawg when I visit Chicago. I tried the one at Al's (plain for starters) and found tamale heaven. BTW, it was the “roll” style mentioned above. Once again I was taken back to my childhood hot dog days in Chicago, without a trip to SuperDawg. Right texture. Right taste. Right amount of steaming. I'll go back and try the Tamale Boat to see how it stacks up when “smothered in chili, Cheddar cheese, and onions. The tamale gets 5 stars.
Now, as far as the Italian beef sandwich goes. Once again, as with the tamale, a Chicago Italian beef sandwich has a certain flavor and texture when eaten. Unfortunately, Al's doesn't get high marks. It was okay, but a drive to Portillo's satisfies that desire more than the one here at Al's.
I want to go back and try the hot dog, Italian sausage, Polish, and chili, and maybe the burgers. Might try the Italian beef sandwich again at a later date just to see if what I had is consistent, but not anytime soon.
They are advertising Nancy's Pizza (another Chicago staple often visited when I'm in town) in Alhambra, but as of this posting, haven't been able to tell if it's open.