I grew up on the border of Indiana and Illinois, so Hammond and Whiting, Indiana – both very industrial small towns on Lake Michigan have been stomping grounds of mine ever since I can remember. From hitting up the piers and the beaches, to scooping up ice cream at the local Dairy Queen, to speeding past friends at the Rollerdome, there’s always been more time spent there than in my actual neighborhood, mostly because there was more to do. (and oh yes, I was a roller-skating demon when I was a child! Who owned a pair of white speed skates with purple wheels? This girl!)
One of my earliest memories of the area was dining at a local Mexican restaurant called El Taco Real located in Hammond, IN with my mom and sister and loving their warm tomato-soup style salsa and pico with salty chips. I’m also a Mexican-food junkie and I think that this place started my love affair for all that yummy goodness. After the wedding hoopla has winded down, I’ve been missing my sister and so we coordinated a meet-up lunch and I offered to drive out to Indiana so we could enjoy some delicious Mexican food at an old-time fave of ours.
Nothing has changed about this restaurant in the 20+ years we’ve been there. From the location to the décor inside, everything is pretty much the same, which I liked because it reminded me of how delicious this place was! When we would come on a weekend night, the front foyer would be packed with customers all waiting to get a seat inside. The line sometimes ran out the door – but coming at lunch time on a Saturday, we were able to be seated quickly, even though the place was still consistently busy for 11:30 am!
Once we were seated, we were quickly greeted by a bus boy who had chips and salsa ready for us! My adorable nephew dove right into those as he loves chips. He was a little hesitant to try the salsa – it’s warm and it has the same consistency as tomato soup but he did and he loved it. He didn’t even want the pico (traditional salsa) and was super happy with just the regular salsa served. I knew exactly what I wanted – which was the enchilada suizo dinner, which was a staple of what we got when we used to come here. I had been craving this deliciousness and didn’t hold back! As you can see from the pic below, I couldn’t even wait to dive in before I realized I didn’t even snap a picture!
I can’t even begin to describe how yummy this meal is. The cheese is extra gooey and they use corn tortillas to make the enchiladas. They have the best Spanish rice, ever. Even my nephew was afraid to try it but looooved it after just a taste. And, the place is pretty kid-friendly. They have some “nino platters” for the kiddos and our waitress was even a mom so she was super patient with my nephew who wanted to chat her ear off whenever she came to the table. Overall, though it was great to see my sister for non-wedding related business and spend some time with my adorable nephew. I seriously do not think I get enough of that kid!