Lawry's Taco Seasoning Packets

Here is the skinny.... or not so skinny!

The mother of all taco seasoning packets is Lawry's. They have been around forever and really make a decent product. They even removed the MSG which was definitely there for a while. 

Yes, Trader Joe's has a taco seasoning pack too. They put more cocoa in their's which is a nice touch, but it's always a little too spicy. Not great for kids. I want up using 1/2 a packet for a pound of ground beef or turkey.

See the Lawry ingredients listed below. Also they now have a "HOT" version as well for those who like to bring the heat.  Here is what I learned about them...

In the early 1900s, Lawrence Frank and Theodore Van de Kamp turned a tiny Los Angeles potato chip shop into a multi-million dollar bakery empire. In the early 1920s, Lawrence and his brother-in-law Walter Van de Kamp went into the restaurant business together and opened a succession of acclaimed restaurants, including, The Great Scot and the Tam O'Shanter.

In 1938, the brothers founded 'Lawry's The Prime Rib' restaurant in Beverly Hills. The restaurant was the birthplace of Lawry's Seasoned Salt, which was soon introduced to the marketplace in response to overwhelming demand. 

Innovators in the industry, Lawry's continued to introduce dehydrated sauce mixes, seasonings, marinades, and spice blends to households everywhere and have basically been kicking booty ever since.

I did not know the same people were Van de Kamp's. That is CRAZY level success. SHEESH.
Anywhoo... their spice packet is solid. But some people don't like the taste of it and would rather make theirs from scratch. So here is an option to 'do-it-yourself'. You can always tweak to your taste... 

My favorite trick is pretty much toasting your seasonings by stirring them around in some hot oil before you add your beef (or ground turkey) and onions.
For 1lb of Meat (turkey, beef or ground pork even)
1 tsp. of salt (plus to taste)
2 Tbl. chili powder
1 Tsp. cumin
1/2 Tsp. cayenne pepper
Pinch o Paprika
Cocoa powder (unsweetened) no more than 1 tsp
I don't like garlic powder or garlic salt but if you do.... add it! (1 tsp.)
1 onion diced super super finely
1 generous handful of cilantro, chopped finely
1 Tbl. of flour
a few shakes of tabasco
***1 diced jalapeno... but if you don't want to deal with a raw pepper I like to add 1 small can of Herdez brand Salsa Casera. You can get in in a 'mild' or 'hot' heat. You could drain out a little bit of the extra water/juice and then throw it in.
Stir your spices into oil... then add flour... then onions (until brown) then cilantro - crisp it up a bit... then beef... then can of salsa once beef is brown. Add a tiny bit of water... maybe 1/4 cup just to help it all swirl around etc. and then simmer for 30+ minutes. It may be a little juicy. 

If you let if sit for 15 min. before serving the juicy usually goes away but if it bugs you, use a spoon with holes for drainage as you serve it into your taco shell.

Ingredients of Lawry's Spice Packet  Spices (Paprika, Cumin, Oregano, Chili Peppers), Onion, Salt, Lactose (Milk), Sugar, Garlic Powder, Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Cocoa Powder, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor.


Taco Memories: Who Invented the Taco Shell Deep Fryer?

When I was a kid living in Greenwich Village, I used to go to a Day Care Center every day after Elementary School from 3pm - 6pm, until my mom could pick me up after work.

One time, we had a field trip to one of the counselor's apartment. She had the taco filling mix ready. We helped her cut up the tomatoes, grate the cheese, shred the lettuce etc. She pulled out a box of shells and we made and ate tacos.

I remember being fascinated by the box of shells. 'How do they DO that? Make them all u-shaped and everything... YUM!!!!!
Well... apparently we have this man to thank....Juvenico Maldonado, who in 1950 invented the contraption that would make the Taco Bell people and himself really really RICH.

It's been a long time since I've bought a box of shells. I can make crispy ones at home myself, but I think it's cute that people still buy them and serve up tacos that way.

 I will never ever forget that trip to Rosalie's house back in '76. And apparently I will never stop loving or eating crispy tacos.


Pacos Tacos, Westchester. The Best Crispy Chicken Taco and Flour Tortillas

I have loved Pacos for a very long time.

Since 1988 or something like that. Their crispy chicken taco defined all others for me, and their translucent (yes, fat laden) flour tortillas draw chefs in ecstasy from miles around.

Here is our first little remote. Editing is a challenge with the wimpy softwear I am currently using.

I will upgrade and it will be better next time. We promise!!!!!

Taco Talk Art

My friend Chelsea Hadley is an incredible artist. I asked her for a little sketch/drawing. Nothing fancy because I know how busy she is with a full-time job and raising two fairy children. Really... a black and white doodle I could play with.

This is what she gave me in 2 days. Holy Guacamole!!!!!

I am going to make t-shirts I think. Let me know if you would like one!


Taco Talk! A Podcast About Tacos

Taco Talk Intro from Rima Lyn on Vimeo.

Taco Talk was a fun, internet streaming show that we did once a week for about a year.

We completed 32 episodes and you can hear shortened audio versions of the show HERE.

I could talk about tacos FOREVER and hopefully in the future, Side of Rice and Taco Maven will get a chance to continue the conversation.

For now, we will continue to eat.


Malo Ground Beef Pickle Taco, Silverlake CA

The amazing artist Brian Wills  hipped me to this taco.

When he told me about it, I was like GROSS. You're kidding me. A taco with a sliced hamburger pickle inside it? EEEEIIIIWWWWW.

But then I tried it. And I wasn't drunk yet either. Why it's so good I don't know. Is it authentically Mexican? Heck no, but it's tasty, and in the end, I am an American enjoying a hybrid mix of culture clash in a Latino infused city.

Very simple ingredients... nice seasoned ground beef mixture, a few pickles, a pinch of cheddar cheese and a mild-ish, smooth, lightly cooked tomato salsa. No lettuce, no raw tomatoes. They are not missed.

Sure, their awesome Angelina Margarita with hibiscus and a chili spice rim makes them taste about 10x better, but they're pretty good on their own.

You can get them at a daily 5pm happy hour or the crazy Monday night taco special all night or at Sunday brunch one at a time. Otherwise you have to get them 2 at a time for more money, and I always want 3!

Thank you Brian, you changed my taco life!



Taco Memories: Tacos on Bleecker Street c. 1975

The first taco I ever ate was at a tiny restaurant on the corner of Bleecker and Christopher in 1975. 

Yes, it was indeed a crispy taco with ground beef. The lighting was very dark but I remember loving the salsa and the hard thick crunch of both the chips and the taco shell. 

Up until that point, it was all Ray's pizza and NY style Chinese food.

I begged to go to that place at least once a week but my mom has never been a lover of Mexican cuisine. I think we ate there only a handful of times before it either went out of business or we moved West.

I can almost remember the name... it tickles my brain and then vanishes, but the memory of the taco is very very CLEAR.


Hello Taco. Welcome to my Crunchy Taco World

I am a lover of tacos.

I know I am not alone.

I am very specifically a lover of the crispy taco.

I love a good crunch that is freshly fried and not too oily. NEVER a boxed shell. Never.

I love a delicious filling, the perfect salsa, lots of fresh lettuce and orange or white shredded cheese.

When done poorly, this is as trashy as it gets. When done right, it's heaven.

I will not descriminate against the soft taco. My goal is to provide taco insight, recipes, advice, whatever I can do to further the cause of the crispy and other more common forms of the taco.

The taco is one of the most perfect food items every created. The taco is perhaps proof that God is Mexican.

A taco a day keeps the blues away!