El Paso Mexican Grill in Hammond is a tasty place to find yourself. Come with us and visit our other new favorite Mexican restaurant.
Hello again, Dear Readers:
You may remember recently that BF and I went to a new Mexican restaurant in Hammond. Well, guess what? We found another one. We had no idea this was even here. And it’s right across the street!
I’ve also got a couple of updates, so let’s get to it.
Misfits Market Update
After my last post, I sent a link to Misfits Market on Instagram, and let them know that I wrote about my experience. They read it and responded that I could send a report to their support team about the carrots that were not in good shape. I declined to do that because they were usable once I cut off the bad parts. Yes, I’m still eating avocados.
In the meantime, I still haven’t figured out why I need to keep the box, so I decided to see if Tab E. Cat was interested. He was.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the Cat Catcher 3500.
The Meat Box
My second box from Misfits Market will arrive on Saturday. I was right, you can’t do your shopping until your “ordering window” opens, which is a few days before the time they charge your card. In my case, it’s Tuesday night at 10:45 pm Central. I have from Sunday through that time to go in and see what they’ve curated for my weekly order.
I had less trouble accessing my account this time, so that was good. The company puts together a $30 box of organic produce, and it’s up to you to change it (or cancel) as you like. I removed most of the fresh produce and added mostly meat. Re-ordered some sugar snap peas and kept the included bag of those cute little sweet peppers. No discount code this time, so I’m a little bummed, but that’s OK, I tried to find one.
This week, the website had only turkey bacon and bacon ends, and BF said “no” to the turkey bacon. So, I’m getting one package of bacon ends for the freezer, along with any meat we don’t use immediately. I added some ground beef, stew meat, and some chops. Full report in a future blog post.
I forgot to recently mention that BF and I tried to have a lovely Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly what we wanted. Allow me to explain.
Again this year, BF brought some delicious decorated chocolate-covered strawberries.
He brought home some meat to grill too. The meat was grilled to perfection and delicious. Unfortunately, the second part of our evening wasn’t what we’d planned. We had an urgent plumbing problem at the Casa de Rurale that needed attention and couldn’t wait. I’ll spare you the details. Suffice to say that it sort of changed the vibe.
This year’s Valentine’s Day was a great dinner, but the “entertainment” was, to say the least, sub-par. Disappointing, but not as bad as it could have been.
At least we weren’t facing a winter storm with ice, snow, and a potential power outage.
Update On Buddy The Puppy
The new puppy, Buddy, also nicknamed “Broccoli Stir Fry,” has grown considerably since he arrived on January 29th. We have not yet weighed him, but he looks to be about the same size as Spencer.
Unlike Spencer, this 3-month-old canine is strong as an ox. I’m having considerable trouble walking him on a leash and keeping him from pulling me in another direction. Now that he’s getting bigger and more rambunctious, I must give the Pitbull periodic time-outs away from the puppy.
Buddy whines, of course, but the pit bull gets some “me time,” which usually means sleeping in the back room with me while the pup has his meltdown is on the other side of the doggie gate. BF estimates that Buddy will be at least as big as the pit bull, if not bigger when he’s fully grown. Don’t know what I’ll do when he gets that big.
It’s A Joke, Folks
The nickname “Broccoli Stir-fry” is just a tongue-in-cheek description used in the frustration of dealing with an untrained puppy who, we hope, will catch on soon and learn how to dog.
No need to send the animal rights activists over with torches and pitchforks. It’s a joke, that’s all. We’re taking care of him best we can, and the pit bull is just tolerating this weird little creature. There’s a lot of growling and snarling when they’re not sleeping, eating, or playing outside. The dog is not being mistreated.
The Mexican Night Out
BF and I frequently have what we call “dinner meetings.” This is a discussion to decide what we will attempt to pursue for the next evening meal. I usually ask the night before, with occasional requests during the day. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. He frequently can’t make up his mind. “I don’t know what I want,” he says, but I’m thinking he’s deciding on which drive-through window is the easiest to get through at that time.
Recently, on a Saturday night, after I spent the day cleaning and Dancing With The Mop, BF again couldn’t decide on dinner. I mean, you can’t just throw something out at 6:15 and expect it at 6:30 unless you’re talking about frozen pizza or a Stouffer’s frozen meal. This is why putting food in the slow cooker is ideal for a Saturday–it’s all done. Then he said to me, “I was thinking about Mexican.”
Now you’re talking.
Headed To Hammond
Since there is a Taco Bell in town, that’s my “go-to” for Mexican. Yes, I know it really isn’t. On this evening, the plan was to head to Los Primos in Hammond, since we enjoyed it the last time. Off we went only to discover. . .they were closing. At 7:00 pm on a Saturday night. Can you imagine? (Not in Houston, that’s for sure.)
On the way, I noticed a Mexican place on the right side of the road (Los Primos is on the left a couple of blocks away.) I mentioned it to BF and asked about going there. He had no idea, he’d never been in it before.
Have I mentioned that I’ve been here for over five years now?
Well, we left Los Primos to go to the mystery place across the street. Hola, Amigos!
The El Paso Mexican Grill
We pulled into the parking lot and saw quite a few newer vehicles, mostly large pickup trucks. BF says that’s a good sign.
Their outdoor sign needs a little work, but I guess that’s just because they’re too busy cooking for their guests.
It was cold this particular evening, so there were no patrons dining outside. I’m sure when the weather warms up a little more there will be plenty of outdoor dining.
We were greeted by a nice young woman and brought to a nice booth near the front window. A great server named Stephanie came by with the requisite chips, salsa. . .and a mild black bean dip that’s just fantastic.
And the menu.
You’re totally in control until the chips and salsa show up. We definitely lost control at that point.
We decided on fajitas—BF had chicken and steak combo, and I had shrimp, since these are shrimp I don’t have to peel myself. And this is where the pictures end. . .because I didn’t think to take any, since we were enjoying everything so much. BF couldn’t get over how delicious his fajitas were.
The manager (I think, might be the owner too) is a very nice man who also appears to be Mexican and speaks Spanish came by to see how we liked dinner. BF declared it better than the *other* local establishment. I was impressed. But of course, I thoroughly enjoyed everything, too, and told him so. Everything was delicious, no complaints from me–except, why we haven’t been here before?
Now onto dessert.
Oh, yes, they have desserts, including churros, sopapillas, and FLAN. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I had a bit of flan. Normally, we don’t order dessert. But on this night, we ordered one.
Mildly sweet and creamy, this one came with lots of whipped cream, and two spoons. I did mention to Stephanie that we’d be sharing this one. It’s not unusual, she said, and happily obliged us.
BF never had flan before. In fact, he’d never even seen one. He had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. One day I mentioned making a flan, but he gave me that look that says, “this does not compute.” Poor thing. Stephanie was kind enough to explain it—part pudding, part custard, with a smooth texture, and not overly sweet like a cake.
After enjoying his fajitas, a few bites of flan with whipped cream hit the spot. I asked him how he liked the flan, he said, “it was OK.” Well, he tried it.
Nobody Told Him
So after this visit, he called two of his car-guy friends who frequent the local establishment and asked, “Have you ever been to El Paso Mexican Grill in Hammond?”
Both said the same thing: “yes, we have.” BF was flabbergasted to find out that both also really liked the place but never said a word to him. Maybe they didn’t want us to go there and find out their little secret. Too late!
Oh, well—it’s our new favorite place in Hammond. I don’t care what anyone says about it, we’re happy we finally made it there. I told BF that El Paso is the place he can take me when he wants to apologize for something, ha, ha, ha.
Our Second Visit
Last week BF had another hankering for Mexican food mid-week, and not on a weekend. His first suggestion was to go back to El Paso, so we did. We were not disappointed, and this time I took a few more pictures.
Greeted by the aforementioned owner/manager, he was again nice and very tolerant of my limited billboard Spanish. He seated us in a different spot than our first visit, and we got to see more of the interesting décor.
Love this wall:
What a beautiful picture:
This painting was my favorite:
Within seconds, a basket of hot chips, salsa, and black bean dip appeared on our table as they did last time. Our waitress was not Stephanie but was equally nice. The place wasn’t crowded this time, and we decided to try something different. For BF, it was the Chimichangas:
For me, it was Chiles Rellenos, a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with Queso Fresco, fried, and plated under more Queso Fresco and a red sauce.
Delish! It also wasn’t that big, which was perfect. I still took half of it home because, well, chips and salsa. BF did the same thing. That meant no cooking the next night so we could enjoy the delicious leftovers. Plus he always gives me his guacamole.
We didn’t order dessert this time, but I did suggest to BF that he try churros. Puzzled as he was, one of the ladies explained that to him. (Little fried sweet dough sticks with cinnamon served with chocolate syrup for dunking.) I mentioned to them that I once had churros with melted Nutella, at an AWAI Bootcamp many years ago in Delray Beach. Their eyes widened at that idea. BF turned his nose up because he hates Nutella. They were that good, but it was in a Marriott Hotel, after all.
I also suggested sopapillas, which BF also didn’t understand, until I said, “You know what beignets are? Same thing, served with honey.” Ultimately, BF passed on dessert entirely, possibly because I overwhelmed him with info.
More Tex-Mex In Hammond
We are quite thrilled to find another Mexican restaurant in Hammond, and it’s definitely our new go-to place. Highly recommended if you’re in the area. And if you’re not, they have multiple locations around the state, including Monroe, Denham Springs, and New Iberia.
But one odd thing I discovered is that their main website hasn’t been updated since about 2017. There isn’t a complete list of locations, either. The website on the menu isn’t online anymore. And the other oddity is that there are multiple websites for the same company. Or rather. . .well, I’m not sure.
There’s a website for one location in Baton Rouge, one in Slidell, one in West Monroe, one in Belle Chase, and another in Metairie. There is also one in Pensacola, Florida, according to the main website.
I’m guessing it’s franchised, and each one is individually owned. The websites all say, “family-owned,” but I’m not sure if it’s one family, or each location is owned by a different family. I didn’t think to ask, but then we were enjoying chips, black bean dip, and salsa too much.
Well, whatever the ownership situation is, Hammond will always be our favorite.
El Paso Mexican Grill is located at 1603 N Morrison Blvd, Hammond, LA 70401-1531, and their phone number is 985-956-7223.
Until Next Time
In addition to the upcoming meat box from Misfits Market, I’m working on a few other things to report.
Spring is coming, and that means lovely spring vegetables as well as gardening. Maybe. I’m trying to get BF to think about another round of gardening, this time on the far side of the garage.
He has access to a tractor with something called a “box blade,” which would render that area suitable for planting. Two huge tree stumps with an extensive root system are what stand in our way for a nice garden over there. But it’s protected from the main area, with an existing fence to help keep the local wildlife (and occasional visits from BigFoot) from destroying it like last time.
I should look for some BigFoot garden décor. Maybe even this sign on the outside of the garage. I bet that would keep the night creatures away from our garden. Along with anyone else who decided to show up.
Well, I still have my paint bucket garden. They’re cheap. Maybe I’ll try tomatoes again this year. I clipped a bit of basil from last year’s plants back in November before the winter chill got here and sprouted them on the kitchen windowsill. They’re currently planted in a small ceramic pot. Now I’ve got two small plants in the kitchen window waiting for the day they can grow outside.
Time to see what Tractor Supply has ready to bring home and plant. BF just turns his nose up. Until next time. . . .
Happy Dining, Amigos!
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:
It’s a nice portrait of a man named Emiliano Zapata, a Mexican revolutionary and political figure. There was also music by:
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.
I walked around a bit and saw the wall of dried spices, just like you’d see in Fiesta or Food Town:
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!)
Salsa Macha–a most delicious thing to make any time. It’s perfect for your charcuterie boards, too.
Hello, again, Dear Readers:
Apologies again for being later than I wanted, but I’ll explain myself shortly. It’s summer, and the living is easy (we hope.) As always, fall is coming, and certain people in the US population are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Pumpkin Spice Latte season. Heck, everything pumpkin spice–you know who you are.
If you just can’t wait, you can make that PSL at home with a recipe from Starbucks’ own website. Who would have thought it?
But remember–while y’all are sipping your hot PSLs, I’m still trying to enjoy my iced coffee and avoid heatstroke.
With all the rain we’ve had this year, I don’t think we’ve seen a day of 100F temps here. Houston, and most of Texas, has seen multiple 100F days.
This Year’s Gardening Attempts
We have not attempted to repeat last year’s gardening disaster.
I really haven’t mentioned the paint-bucket garden, but we’ve got basil and a few other things growing. I really need to plant the sprouted avocado seeds so they can grow into actual trees.
Think of how many friends we’ll have when they find out we have avocados growing! Well, except for BF and his brother. Say “guacamole” and BF starts retching.
Two batches of pesto were the result of the last basil cut, and I’ll likely have that much when I cut this batch.
I’ve also got two Anaheim chili pepper plants growing, and one has two medium-sized peppers on it.
Unfortunately, the little peppers that began forming when the flowers dropped off became slug food, and so I may only have those two. We’ll see, since “cold weather” probably won’t start until at least October. And then there’s lettuce:
I’ve also bought some plants:
- “Coolapeno” peppers, the heat-free jalapenos
- Green onions, as always, but I need to add more to the pot
- Orange bell peppers
- Yellow tomatoes
- Strawberries (the slugs have really decimated this one)
- Mint (a plant that is overgrown in the bucket and we recently buzz-sawed with a hedge trimmer)
And as always, sage:
Unfortunately, I didn’t plant them all right away, leading to more of BF’s smarty-pants comments about “science experiments.” I remind him that none of his previous female companions ever brought urban agriculture or other improvements into his house and his life.
Home Visit Nibbles
So a few weeks ago, our district leader OR decided she wanted to make the drive to do a home visit. It’s an SGI tradition of visiting members at home, particularly those who have recently begun practicing Buddhism and offering support. The leaders chant with the members and they discuss. . .whatever. In this case, it was the upcoming district meeting. And, I suppose OR wanted to get outta the house for a while.
Now, because of where I live, nearly everyone is an hour away. The closest members are J&B, who live in Albany, near Hammond. Basically, I’m practicing by myself out here, although most are a phone or Zoom call away. Since I’ve been practicing since 1986, though, I think I’ve got the hang of it. I don’t understand why they want to drive an hour–each way–to do a home visit, but I gave up protesting.
While we were chanting, BF showed up. But he quickly bugged off to the shop and left us alone to talk. He doesn’t mind the home visits, of course, but he does enjoy acting up when people are visiting me.
When someone does drive out here, I try to make sure I have some food and coffee to offer. I’ve baked some delicious treats from the first Babycakes book. I also have the second book but haven’t looked at it in a while. Maybe next time they come by I’ll make that Pineapple Upside-Down Cake on page 116 again.
On this particular day, since it was just OR, I told her I’d make a couple of those little keto chocolate cakes in the Instant Pot for her, and of course, coffee. OR is from Los Angeles, and is Hispanic herself–her parents came from Mexico years and years ago, and she has been in Mandeville since about 2006. Knowing that I’m a fan of Mexican and Tex-Mex food, she decided to bring something special. Naturally, I didn’t think to take pictures.
So OR made a stop at The Fresh Market for a few things, including a box of little gluten-free nut crackers, a small tub of chicken salad, and a couple of slices of Swiss cheese. Why Swiss, I don’t know, I like it fine, and I just said “thank you.”
Along with these nibbles, she brought this:
Then she asked for a very small spoon, which I happened to have:
Puzzled by her request, I went to the only one I knew I could put my hands on, in a box of Maldon Salt Flakes in the pantry. I have more of these tiny spoons, but I don’t know where they are.
We sit at the table and she explains:
- Take a cracker
- Fold a slice of cheese to make smaller pieces
- Add a bit of cheese onto the cracker
- Add a bit of chicken salad to the cracker on top of the cheese
- Drip a bit of this incredible stuff on top of the cracker stack
- Eat and enjoy
What the heck is this amazing thing you’ve brought here? OR responds, “It’s called Salsa Macha.“
I have eaten it and become enlightened.
OR is a fan of Pati Jinich, host of Pati’s Mexican Table on PBS. I like to watch her when I can, her food looks delicious. Pati is actually from Mexico and is married to an American. They have three sons and live in Maryland. They have, however, lived in Texas.
Pati has three books, which will be going on my “wish list” soon. Her newest will be released in November, called Treasures of the Mexican Table: Classic Recipes, Local Secrets. Her most recent book graces OR’s kitchen, and all three will eventually grace mine.
This recipe is from a longer TV show segment on Cali-Baja Fish Tacos. You can see the whole segment here, and she starts making the Salsa Macha at about the 3:55 mark.
While the tacos look absolutely delicious, they are not gluten-free–she uses regular flour to batter the fish, and makes flour tortillas as well. Just thought I’d warn you.
OR said that since she made the salsa the first time, she carries around a jar of it and puts it on EVERYTHING. No wonder she has that glow of enlightenment.
I’m also writing about this recipe to piggyback on my last post on charcuterie boards. Because you can easily put this on any charcuterie board–just add a warning that it’s a bit spicy as well as contains peanuts. You don’t want an allergic person unknowingly ingesting it and having to go to the hospital.
If you do put this on your charcuterie board, I highly recommend putting the little cocktail spoons out for Salsa Macha. Because if you put a regular teaspoon out, someone will grab a large amount not realizing it should be consumed in small amounts. It does have enough of a bite from both the garlic and the chile peppers that a big tablespoon will overwhelm even the most tolerant of spice-lovers.
Making The Salsa Macha
Let me say at the outset that I am by no means an expert on Mexican and Tex-Mex food. I make no secret of the fact that it’s just one of my favorites. Living in Texas for 18 years, it’s all around, in the same way that red beans & rice, jambalaya, and gumbo are here. You know what I’d rather have, starting with the chips.
When most people hear the word “salsa,” it’s usually accompanied by the word “chips.” It’s either a freshly made tomato garnish, or it’s the kind out of a jar. Either one is good, especially if the chips are hot, fresh, and salty. However, this salsa is different.
Salsa Macha is cooked, and has no tomatoes. In fact, it has. . .peanuts. No kidding.
Of course, getting all the ingredients together was a challenge (I’ll tell you about that in a minute.) When I mentioned to OR that I was making some, she said she used a whole cup of peanuts, so I cracked open more before I made them.
Prep work involved a few other things, including peeling garlic and deseeding and deveining the dried chile peppers. That took a while:
By the time you get them all done and get to this point:
You’ve had a snootful of the pepper dust and have sneezed multiple times. Just cut the tops off, cut in half, or cut down one side, and the seeds are easy to remove.
The packet I got is actually 2.5 ounces, and the recipe calls for 2 ounces. Well. . .by the time you remove all those seeds, I’d say you got exactly 2 ounces.
I also measured out the sesame seeds, white vinegar, brown sugar (just for the first round, I think a sugar replacement like Swerve would work too), and salt for later.
First: add 1.5 cups of olive oil to a pan:
And heat over medium heat:
Once it’s heated, but not boiling, add the peanuts and the four cloves of garlic:
Now, don’t walk away from it–you’re actually frying these ingredients:
Pati says that peanuts are cooked long before you notice them, so that’s why it’s important to stay at the stove for this one.
Next, add the seeded and deveined dried chile peppers:
Along with the sesame seeds:
Cook a little longer until the chiles are toasted and done, about another 30 to 60 seconds, then take off the heat. (I just moved it to an unused burner.)
Grinding And Processing
Here’s where you should pull out that big food processor, you’ll need it.
Let me iterate here that this is HOT oil, and you’ll need to exercise great caution at this point. Hot oil burns badly, and nobody wants to check into the burn unit, ever. If you have small children or animals, shoo them out of the kitchen and away from the stove for their own safety.
Because I was using a cast-iron pot, I brought the food processor bowl to the stove and scooped it in a little at a time. Better safe than sorry, and I don’t want to get injured.
I used a couple of tools to clear the pan:
And dumped the last little bit into the work bowl.
After putting the bowl on the motor unit, I added the last ingredients:
And of course, kosher salt:
Then hit the ignition:
What you get is this lovely and delicious thing that you won’t want to live without:
It makes a good bit, and so I filled one big jar and two small ones:
When I clear out that jar on the right, I’m going to wash it well and return it to OR. BTW, those little Ball jars do come in handy for lots of things. Walmart, Amazon, and sometimes Tractor Supply has them.
Raw peanuts are called “green boiling peanuts” here. Why? People boil them in salt and eat them like that. I can’t say they’re bad, but I never had them before I moved to this area.
Now you may be thinking, “Amy, how did you get that kind of thing in rural Louisiana?” Good question–I almost didn’t. That’s why this post is a bit later than I intended. I stayed up a little late last night to make it, too.
OR has access to not only a “Hispanic foods section” in the Mandeville Walmart, but there is also at least one “Mexican grocery store” in the area, too. I’ve been in that Walmart and seen it myself, bought masa harina and corn husks there for our chicken tamales I made once. But Mandeville is nearly an hour one way. Not a good option.
I went to our local Winn-Dixie and Walmart looking for the dried chiles, to no avail. I was on the phone doing a FaceTime call with OR looking for them, but they really don’t have that kind of thing here.
Then I remembered that there IS a Mexican grocery store nearby–in Hammond. So after being up since 6:00 am, and driving an hour from Franklinton to get home from work, BF took me to the little Mexican grocery in Hammond and then brought me home. Once back at the Casa de Rurale, BF went into hibernation for a while.
If you’re in an area where you can’t find these chiles, you can get them online at Fiesta Spices’ website. They have a whole section of their website just for dried chile peppers. Now that I think about it, Albertson’s in Hammond carries some of Fiesta’s spices, so maybe I’ll drop by there next time and see if they have the chiles, too. If not, everything is available online, thank heavens.
Will BF Eat It?
That’s always the question. I didn’t really make it for him, anyway. But he alternates between “I’ll try anything you make” to “I don’t think I’m gonna like it, I’d rather not try it.” Whatever. I’ll let you know.
If you eat this, you, too, will be come enlightened. I’m being silly when I say that, but that’s how good it is.
For my next blog post, I’ll tell you all about Hammond’s Tienda de comestibles, or little Mexican grocery store. We’ve recently seen folks speaking Spanish here, no English. Aside from the other considerations, it could mean more Hispanic foods may become available locally if the migration trend continues. Maybe it’s time for me to finally learn Spanish, even if I have to use DuoLingo. But for now, I can get some of these wonderful Mexican ingredients, along with ready-made chorizo, on the same trip as visiting Hobby Lobby, Rouse’s, and Target.
Until next time–Disfrutar! (Enjoy!)
Cauliflower rice is a tasty dish for low-carb and keto eaters. I recently found a dish that uses it for Taco Tuesday or anytime you want something with a delicious Tex-Mex flavor. Let’s get started.
Hello, again, Dear Readers:
Finally, I want to tell you about another fast dinner recipe that’s good anytime. IF you don’t have a fussy eater like BF.
R2D2 And Cauliflower Rice
In my big Instant Pot post, I mentioned the Etsy shop that makes wraps to turn your ordinary IP into something else. In our case, mine became R2D2, because BF is such a Star Wars fan. It just made sense. And, let’s face it, it’s funny. However, I neglected to post pictures of what mine looks like dressed up as a droid:
I just happened to look on Etsy and found it. Becky has a wide range of them.
I haven’t tried any cauliflower rice recipes in the IP yet, but Corrie Cooks has a recipe for IP Spicy Cauliflower Rice. I’ll try that soon, even if just to use the machine for something that night.
Oh, and that little spot to the left of the IP? That’s a little burn mark. I’ll take care of it soon. My many-year-old coffee grinder blew last night.
I plugged it into the wall socket and heard a loud POP and a bright flash of light. Scared the bejeezus out of me. BF was in the living room and saw the flash. I showed it to him, and he said, “well, you got your money’s worth out of it.” We looked at the underside and saw that the copper wires were exposed, and I suppose touched when I plugged it in. Into the trash can it went.
If I remember correctly, I bought it while I was working at Boeing so that had to be prior to 2012. So it’s time for another one.
Cauliflower: The “New” Vegetable
So, again, I read many blogs, both on social media and in email. One that I discovered a few years ago and only recently rediscovered was Carolyn Ketchum of All Day I Dream About Food. Her blogs are all about low-carb, keto, and gluten-free foods.
This delicious one-skillet dish popped up on Facebook or Instagram one day, with a graphic that said it was “keto.” Seeing as we were getting onto Taco Tuesday, I thought we could do this instead. So, without telling BF what I was doing, I set out to make it for us.
What Is Cauliflower Rice?
Now, cauliflower rice is this new thing that keto and low-carb folks do to eat something that looks like rice, and when properly cooked, acts like it. However, it’s infinitely lower in carbohydrates and takes on the flavors that you add to it. Suddenly, cauliflower is “having a moment,” and it’s the “newest” vegetable on the foodie scene.
I’ve found these recipes in a search on The Pioneer Woman’s website:
- Another version of Cauliflower Rice
- Similar to mashed potatoes, Cauliflower Mash
- Cauliflower Pizza Crust
- Mac & Cheese with cauliflower instead of pasta
- Brownies of Cauliflower? No kidding, haven’t tried it myself)
- Air-fried Buffalo Cauliflower bites
Of course, you could search for recipes anywhere, like Pinterest, or any blog you like. Flip a coin in any direction, you’ll likely land on a recipe for it that’s different than mine and everyone else’s.
You can buy all sorts of cauliflower-based things now, including my favorite, Caulipower Pizza. The company has added a range of new and healthier foods, including riced cauliflower, sweet potato toasts, tortillas, chicken tenders, and pastas.
Basic Cauliflower Rice
I’ve made the cauli-rice a few times, and honestly, I could eat it every day the way people around here eat white rice. If you have a food processor, you wash and cut a whole cauliflower head into florets, and grind it up until it looks like grains of rice. From here you can do a number of things with it, like the recipe I’ll describe shortly. Or, if you don’t want to mess with it, you can buy it already ground into bits:
I can’t believe we can buy this here. I’m very glad our local Winn-Dixie carries it. I haven’t looked for it in either Walmart or Rouse’s yet. What you get is perfectly chopped cauliflower:
It’s still raw cauliflower, of course, but it cooks quickly.
To make cauli-rice as a side dish for nearly anything, it’s really simple:
Heat your pan on medium-high, then add in the oil and butter:
When it’s melted completely, add in the cauliflower rice:
Stir it around and add in some salt and pepper:
As always, use a light touch on salt. You can always add more if it’s not salty enough. Keep stirring for five to seven minutes:
Cook it until the cauliflower is just softened:
And enjoy it with all manner of keto or low-carb dishes, or pretty much anything you like–even if it’s not keto. I served this with the Instant Pot pot roast I blogged about last week.
Cooking it like this takes out the “chalky” taste that BF doesn’t like–as well as Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, no kidding.
Low-Carb Mexican Cauliflower Rice In A Skillet
This dish was almost as easy as making regular cauliflower rice.
So I got all the ingredients together and got started. This is one of those times I wish I hadn’t told BF what was in it until later. He doesn’t appreciate it when I buy grass-fed beef or anything organic.
I did just a little prep work to make the cooking process easier, as I always try to do:
Since it’s Taco Tuesday, there is the appropriate cheese:
Start browning your ground beef:
Drop in the chopped onion and bell pepper:
Now cook for a few minutes until they soften and the meat is no longer pink.
Add in the taco seasoning:
If you like the packet stuff, go for it. You can also use any kind of taco seasoning you like, or mix one up.
Now add your chopped tomatoes:
And the cauliflower rice:
Stir a little, then add the half-cup of chicken broth:
Now reduce the heat to medium-low, and let it cook until the cauli-rice is done. This should take about eight minutes if it’s raw, and ten minutes if it’s frozen, according to Carolyn.
Now take that cheese and sprinkle it on:
You should have enough to cover the top:
Now put a lid on it until the cheese melts:
And dinner is served!
You can serve it with your favorite toppings like avocado and sour cream. If you have others not eating keto, tortillas, tortilla chips, or other non-keto things will be great too. Or, you can have it just like this.
Not the neatest picture ever, but it was delish. I don’t care what BF says.
New rule of thumb: do NOT tell BF what’s in it until he tries it!
If you’re interested, Carolyn Ketchum also has some additional recipes for cauliflower rice on her website. You can read more about Carolyn on her About page.
New Taco Tuesday Options!
Sure, tacos are delicious, but you don’t have to eat them every single week. It’s always nice to have another recipe that has the Tex-Mex flavors as another dinner option.
Since you’ll make it in one pan, dinner will be ready in about thirty minutes, so it’s great for a weeknight or a fast dinner on a weekend. And it’s healthy, too.