In the quest for delicious Mexican food in the middle of Louisiana, Los Primos is an oasis of deliciousness. Come along for a trip with me and BF.
Hello again, Dear Readers:
This week marks six years since I crossed the Sabine River to visit BF for the first time. We didn’t “celebrate” like we did last year. We’ve decided on a movie for Valentine’s Day: Ghostbusters: Afterlife. We’ll get that from the red kisok somewhere.
I suggested the fourth installment of Hotel Transylvania, which is only currently available for streaming. But BF thought the newest Ghostbusters film would be better. The menu is yet to be decided, but we’ve got some great choices. There may be some chocolate waffling going on, too.
Update On Spencer
We’re still mourning the loss of our little free spirit, Spencer.
My phone went off with a text notification a couple of weeks ago from our very nice animal communicator friend, Ami Pope. She read my previous post describing him and enjoyed reading the stories. She said that Spencer was glad I shared all the memories and was surprised that I remembered everything. He is very happy with a new family, running around, and sends us much love.
Spencer was unforgettable. And I forgot to mention one more thing about him: he was also a mouser.
Living in the “piney woods,” mice are a given. We’ve had them a few times but have taken steps to keep them out. Mousies are especially persistent when it gets cold because they just want to be warm.
You’d think with a cat, we wouldn’t have any. Sealing up the holes has kept them out for some time, and we’ve not had any inside since. BF caught one or two with a sticky trap, Tab E. Cat has caught six, and Spencer caught three. No kidding, he really did, but we didn’t take any pictures.
When he found them, Tab E. Cat’s feline hunting nature would quickly become activated, and he sprang into action. The mouse didn’t last long after that, and I apologized to each one for the outcome of their visit. In BF’s case. he picked up the trap and took it out. Spencer would just leave them in the middle of the floor and stare at them, wondering what they were.
The Big Mouse
Actually, Spencer caught four if you count the “big mouse.”
A few years ago, we went to someone’s house one summer evening so BF could help a coworker work on a car (naturally.) Anticipating a short visit, we put the dogs out with fresh water and left. It was only about five miles up the road.
As things often do with cars, it took longer than expected. One of BF’s favorite mechanic memes says, “Every 20-minute project is just one broken bolt away from becoming a three-day nightmare.” That was certainly true in this case, and we returned home at about 1:00 am.
When we pulled up to the house, I looked over at Spencer’s little spot and he was not alone. There was another creature lying on its side, looking, well, deceased. Spencer was looking around like he didn’t understand why the creature wasn’t moving. I said to BF, “Honey, there’s something over there by Spencer.” Both BF and Spencer were unfazed by the creature’s presence. I didn’t know what to think but was still a little freaked out.
I stayed in the truck, and BF fearlessly approached the creature that was somewhat smaller than Spencer. He quickly discovered that it was “playing possum.”
Carefully, BF picked up a shovel and approached what he realized was a standard American opossum. This beast opened one eye at BF as if to say, “hey, can you help me out here?” BF then gingerly scooped up the animal with the shovel, carefully carrying it to the back part of the property behind the house where there are large trees. On the way, the possum looked at BF with a look that said, “is the coast clear?” As BF slowly lowered the shovel to the ground, the animal gave him one more look that said, “Hey, thanks, Buddy!” Off he went into the dark night, never to be seen again.
BF just laughed. Spencer didn’t understand.
Los Primos The Restaurant
A few months ago I told you about the accidental discovery of the grocery store called Los Primos in Hammond. I was ecstatic, and still am. Finally, I got BF to consent to a dinner date at the restaurant side. We were not disappointed, either.
When most locals think of “Mexican food,” two places come to mind: Taco Bell and La Carreta. While the food is good, I’m not a real big fan of La Carreta. Mardi Gras decor and Fleur de Lis on the metal tabletops in a Mexican restaurant? No. But it’s *the* place here, with steak nights on Thursdays. (There’s also a La Carreta in Hammond, but we’ve never been to that one.)
So one particular evening, we set out to Hammond for dinner. We happened to have been on a long phone conversation with Ami’s husband at the time, no kidding. After hanging up, we went in to have some delicious and authentic Mexican food.
Then a nice lady handed us the menus.
She didn’t speak too much English, so you know it’s authentic. (Most of the staff in La Carreta speak fluent English with varied accents, none of them Hispanic.) Oh, and don’t forget!
Yes, you’re all about self-control until these show up. Hey–I’m not sedentary!
While BF ordered his usual Coca-Cola, I had no problem asking for slices of limos for my water–and they brought me some.
BF didn’t seem to mind that it was Mexican Coke, famed in Texas for having cane sugar.
Looking around, we saw some equally authentic decor:
Pepe Aguilar was actually born in San Antonio, Texas but raised in Mexico. Born into a musical family, Pepe is very famous in Mexico for his music as well as being a businessman. We just enjoyed the music while we were there.
What We Had For Dinner
As I’ve said before, I don’t speak much Spanish. Fortunately, these nice folks at Los Primos do understand enough English to take orders and whatnot. We were the only Gringos having dinner that night, and it was a Tuesday or something, just a week or two prior to Hurricane Ida.
So BF ordered steak fajitas on this date night:
And as is my habit, I ordered shrimp fajitas:
Because they are shrimp that I don’t have to mess with. Both plates also came with accompaniments, including handmade tortillas:
Needless to say, there were takeout boxes involved. And a spot of shopping in the grocery store side after we were finished. BF sat in the truck while I shopped.
Poking Around Los Primos
I’ll just admit that the wait for dinner wasn’t long, but my curiosity also got the best of me.
Chances are you’ve seen regular-sized bags of this masa harina in the grocery store, especially if you’re in any grocery in Texas.
I’ve got one in the pantry, sealed up for the next time I attempt tamales. But like any restaurant, they buy larger sizes of everything, and masa harina is no exception:
I’ve never seen these before, even in Houston. After trips into so many Mexican restaurants, I’ve never seen a bag this big. Even visiting places like the El Dorado Mexican Restaurant in Clear Lake never let anything like this sit out. That’s OK, since Los Primos is an authentic little place much like El Dorado, which is also family-owned. (And they’ve got a new location in League City.) These 50-pound bags were just eye-popping!
Much as I enjoyed going to El Dorado, I’m also glad to find Los Primos for a little taste of Mexican food right in Hammond. We’ll be going back for another delicious meal.
Until Next Time
Los Primos is located at 1320 N. Morrison Blvd, Suite 118, Hammond, LA 70401. As I mentioned in the last blog, the information I found says that the restaurant is open from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. As always, call ahead (985-429-1722) before you go. Hopefully we’ll be visiting them again soon.
Winter is still here, and Mother Nature is offering bipolar weather with up-and-down temperatures that look like lottery numbers. But since it’s still winter, I thought nice hot soups would be a good idea. Two easy and tasty recipes are lined up for the next blog post. Both are good, easy to make, and. . .vegetarian. But there is a considerable amount of cheese involved. BF actually likes one of them, so stay tuned.
Los Primos is the little Mexican grocery store in Hammond. Let me take you to our local “little Mexico.”
Hello, again, Dear Readers:
OK–have you tried the Salsa Macha yet? I’ve emptied that big jar, and am down to the two small jars. Need to make a trip to Winn-Dixie for more peanuts, and soon, back to Hammond for more dried chipotle chili peppers.
I’ve used it on a few things and even eaten a small spoonful at a time. The warm, smoky flavor is amazing. What I’ve used it for the most has been. . .egg salad. No kidding. Slice or chop three hard-boiled eggs, and add them into a small bowl. In a separate small bowl (custard cups are good for this), mix about three parts of regular mayonnaise with one part Salsa Macha. Mix well, then mix in with the chopped eggs. Mix well and enjoy. That is fabulous. Unfortunately, I didn’t formally measure anything.
Oh, and BF finally did try it after I basically cornered him and twisted his arm (not physically.) I put about one-eighth of a teaspoon on a saltine cracker and asked him for his opinion. He’s always leery of anything with any kind of peppers in it, including sweet bell peppers. Peppers and tomatoes give him a bout of heartburn, especially at night. But I wasn’t asking him to eat a large amount, just a little taste. This shouldn’t give him heartburn, but he was adamant. He ate half of what was on the cracker and said it was “Ok, but I don’t want it again.” That was all I was asking for. So, more for me, and he gets heartburn from seemingly everything.
I’ve also started back working on my new copywriting website, which has been sitting idle for a while. Banana Rat is also doing a bit to help me with it, mostly the back-end stuff on WordPress.
Piggybacking on last week’s post, I want to tell you about an accidental discovery and a big surprise. Of course, BF never thought to tell me this place even existed.
The Casa de Rurale is a half-hour away from this sort of metropolitan city. It’s a little more than an hour north of New Orleans, and home to many “bigger city” amenities like Starbucks and Target. (It’s the closest of both to us.) If we can’t find it in either Walmart, Winn-Dixie, or Tractor Supply, chances are it’s on the list for the next trip to Hammond. We’ll visit Target, Rouse’s, Hobby Lobby, or a bigger Winn-Dixie while we’re there.
Hammond is also home to Southeastern Louisiana University, one of the top three universities in Louisiana, and also one of the fastest-growing. What does Southeastern have? College students from all over the US. So naturally, there’s Target, Starbucks, and other businesses they’ll know from home. It’s why there is a Trader Joe’s right outside LSU in Baton Rouge. You’ll nearly always see college students in there as well as local folks (and people like me who just love it but don’t live close by.)
When we go to Hammond for a shopping and foraging excursion, BF just smiles and gives me that same look when he looked into the very full pantry after I moved into his house. It’s the smile and the look that says, “Yes, dear, whatever you say.”
And it was on this day that we went to Baton Rouge, first to say goodbye to Alvin Calhoun. As we made our way back, he wanted to stop in Hammond–“it’s a surprise,” he said. I don’t normally like surprises–y’all know I’ve had way too many to think it’s going to be good. Thankfully, this one was different.
The Chinese Lunch Place
On the way home, BF decides we’ll be stopping for lunch at this little Chinese takeaway in a strip mall on Morrison Blvd. Before we get there, he just keeps telling me it’s a great little surprise.
Oh, boy, he wasn’t kidding.
Walking through the car park, hand in hand, I look over to my right and I see it:
Could it be? A real Hispanic food store? It is! When I saw the words “envios de dinero,” in a sign on the door, I knew what was inside. I had to go inside and investigate.
Of course, BF had his little heart set on Chinese takeaway, and he had to physically pull me into the Chinese place. Not throwing shade on the nice Chinese place, but once I ordered I walked out. Because there’s a real Mexican grocery store in Hammond–right next door!
I left BF to take care of the rest and pick it up. Told him to text me when he was done and ready to leave.
Los Primos Of Hammond
Have you ever walked into someplace and your eyes just soaked up everything? That was me in Los Primos. The Spanish music was playing over the PA system, brightly colored stuff was everywhere, and I was the only Gringo in the place. This was the first thing I saw:
The brightly painted coffee cups, the clay pots, and the little shopping bags were my favorite.
Found the chipotle I needed!
And other Hispanic spice-rack favorites:
Sesame seeds were also needed for the Salsa Macha, and I was able to get a package here.
Sección de Comestibles (Grocery Section)
When I first moved to Houston, I was just shocked at all the different Hispanic, organic, and other specialty foods that were available in the regular grocery store. Stuff you just couldn’t even imagine buying in a grocery in New Orleans in 1998. But there it was, for anyone to purchase, no matter their ethnicity. I regularly bought one or two new things to try while I was in Texas, especially when I visited Phoenicia Foods on the west side.
While my eyes and ears were soaking this all up in Hammond (the first time), BF sat in the car park, in the cab of the truck, looking at Facebook. I think he was just afraid to walk into the place.
Los Primos also has a variety of groceries that are commonplace in most Houston grocery stores.
Goya is the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the US, and its products are available outside of the US as well.
And don’t forget your nacho chips:
I got what I needed for the Salsa Macha:
I also bought another pound of fresh chorizo from the refrigerator case, as well as a couple of things to snack on during the trip home:
Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) are something I haven’t had in at least 5 years, and probably longer. They’re just not something people eat here, but they’re so delicious and I just love them. I used to have a recipe for roasted and spiced pepitas, but I think the cookbook is now long gone.
BF had been up since about 5:00 am and was tired, but still graciously took me to Los Primos the second time when I needed some ingredients. I did offer him both the almonds and pepitas, but he passed.
Departamento de Carnes (The Meat Department)
Although I didn’t buy anything this time, I did take pictures:
But I’d be willing to wager that this is chorizo:
And because I don’t understand much Spanish, there was only one guy I could talk to–the nice guy at the one register! That’s OK. I told him I was making Salsa Macha, and he said, “Oh, that’s so good! You can get big containers of it at Costco, too.” Well, Costco is an hour drive in any direction, so I have to make it myself. Not that I mind.
Fresh Produce, Too
There were folks putting up a little produce in the back. Not a big department, but they do have pinto and black beans in bulk bins, along with those little wagon wheels. (Never had those, and they’re wheat. You fry them up like croutons.) What I did get was some limos (limes.) At first, I didn’t realize that’s what they were. Look at the size of them:
The young lady putting up produce didn’t speak any English, but she did know what I was talking about when I said “limes?” She responded, “Si, limos.” I responded, “muchas gracias!” Because I was so happy to find these monster-sized ones–all we get in Winn-Dixie and Walmart are the golfball-sized models. The smile on my face told her everything.
No seeds in these limos, so I can’t re-grow them, either.
The Little Strip Mall
Los Primos is located at 1320 N. Morrison Blvd, Suite 118, Hammond, LA 70401.
It’s literally in the corner of this little strip mall, along with the Chinese takeaway, a donut shop, and a few other local shops. They’ve been in business for, as I was told, 11 years. They don’t have a website or any social media pages, either.
It looks like they are open from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, but I’d call ahead (985-429-1722) to be sure.
There’s A Restaurant Too
Just on the other side of the wall from the Chinese takeaway, Los Primos also has a sit-down restaurant that, I hope, we’ll be visiting one day soon. Apparently, it’s a great place for a cheap date, which is perfect for us! (La Carreta is nice but a bit pricey.)
Reviews are mixed online, with some saying it’s a great and authentic Mexican, others saying something else. Yelp has the most that I’ve seen so far, mostly positive.
I didn’t even realize there was a restaurant until I was leaving–the second time. I’m sure they thought I was bonkers, but honestly, it’s great to find such a place around here. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we can have a “date night” here. My birthday is in October, so fingers crossed.
Until Next Time
I’m working on a couple of upcoming topics, and there is another new book coming from Emilie Bailey, The Texas Granola Girl. Yes, it too is keto, but this one is vegetarian. I’ve already notified Miss Alice about the book, and I’m sure she and her daughter will eat it up. (Get it?)
The book comes out in September, and I may be lucky enough to get an advance review copy again. Based on the last two books from this lady, I can’t see anything being bad about this vegetarian food, whether for a side dish or for a main dish for people like Miss Alice.
If there is a topic you’d like me to explore and write about, by all means, let me know! I’m always looking for new blog topics. Leave a comment below, or use the contact form to get in touch. (I think I need to add a widget to the site so the contact form shows up everywhere.)
Good stuff is coming soon, and so are the holidays, so. . . .
Buen provecho! (Bon Appétit!)