I mention all this because no matter where I work, I gotta eat lunch, and for the longest time, Trader Joe's tamales have been a staple of my noontime feasting. They're easy to make, they're inexpensive, and as Nathan pointed out a while ago, they're surprisingly good. In Pittsburgh, at least, the Sweet Corn Tamales are a new option, which I was only too glad to pick up, as the chicken, cheese and beef ones get a little old after a while.
They're...okay. Not great, but not bad, either. I'm not sure if the tamales themselves or my work's lack of freezer-hood are to blame, but they're kinda a weird texture, at least in my experience. It's definitely a different masa than the other types, which I could tell before even tasting due to its lighter color and softer, kinda soggier texture. A lot of folks on our Facebook page said to be sure to place a wet paper towel over them while nuking, lest they get all dried out. I didn't, because it's impossible to get to a sink without going to the bathroom where I work, and yet, after three minutes in the microwave, they're pretty soggy still. I'll be willing to split the blame.
As for taste, the corn masa exterior tastes like good sweet ol' cornbread, which I'm all about. Inside there's a respectable amount of fresh-ish sweet corn and little green chiles. The chiles don't add much (if any) heat, and the manchega cheese (which is fairly mild anyways) isn't all that prevalent, so overall, these tamales just taste like sweet, semi-chunky cornbread. Some slightly spicier chiles, and some queso mas fuerte, and they'd be much better. As is, they'll probably make my semi-regular lunch rotation, but I think that's more a function of TJ's small cheap lunchworthy entrees than anythng else.
Sandy doesn't really like tamales based chiefly on texture. We've been to Mexico and have eaten some fairly authentic ones, and even then, the masa shell makes her gag a little. So, in fairness and to avoid unilateral Golden Spoonage awarding, I asked our Facebook page what they thought about them. Overall, it was a bit of a mixed bag, ranging from amorous declarations ("I totally love these!" says Lindsey; "I eat them all the time and they rock!" says Kristine) to utter contempt ("I love tamales...these disappointed on all fronts" says Karen), with most folks in the middle. The average score that peeps gave them was about a 2.5 to 3, which seems about right. I'm not utterly opposed to them, but I definitely like the chicken and cheese ones much better. So, it's a 2.5 or 3 from me as well.
Bottom line: Trader Joe's Sweet Corn Tamales: 5.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons
P.S. - I completely whiffed on snapping a picture of the nutritional info for these. I'll add it the next time I buy'em.