Ninfa’s on Navigation, Houston

Ninfa’s has rightfully earned it’s place among the Houston lexicon, specifically as the original location along the East Side of Downtown on Navigation Blvd. The brainchild of the late “Mama” Ninfa Laurenzo opened in 1973 after the building was losing money as a tortilleria. The recent widow and mother of 5 began to grill skirt steak and stuffing it in the fresh tortillas. The resulting dish of “Tacos Al Carbon”, later known as fajitas, was the basis of the many legends of Mama Ninfa’s and the Tex Mex Cuisine in our City.

Ninfa’s stands out to me with two very distinct memories; one was the celebration of my Mother’s birthday one year, where a handful of servers did the honors of singing her Happy Birthday (to my delight and her bewilderment) before a now infamous spoon of whipped cream and/or ice cream was haphazardly shoved toward her mouth and nose. To this day, I can say that it was the only time that she would allow a birthday publicly celebrated in a restaurant.

The second was the kind offering of an amazing cornbread found at the original Ninfa’s on Navigation one weekend around brunch. It was sweet, delicious, filling and much needed after a morning of exploring. I don’t know that the cornbread is even on the menu, but it was one of those delicacies that I still pine for at times.

The track this week is “Mammas” by Houston’s own, The Suffers, who are no stranger to being featured on the blog. Aside from the connections that I make between the song title and topic as we head into Mother’s Day Weekend, I will also attest to how I chose this song in a way by the feeling of family that I experience when listening to The Suffers. Through the pandemic, I have appreciated the relationship that I have watched grow as the band completes a third album on the way in the future.

The song also alludes to making the most of the time that you have with your Mother, which on one hand seems a bit morbid, but if nothing else, is a reality.

So, if you have the opportunity, make a call, send a card; anything to remind her that you care.

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