I've cooked with fideo — from fideo paella to sopa de fideo — but I'd never heard of fideo loco until earlier this week.

Fideo is the Spanish word for noodle, but it usually means vermicelli, the small, thin pieces of pasta that cook quickly and can be cooked almost like rice.

I was at H-E-B picking up a few groceries and found a new line of store brand fideo meal kits, which looked like H-E-B's Texas spin on Hamburger Helper or Pasta Roni. I've made a few fideo dishes at home, so I didn't think I was in the market for a helper kit, but then I saw a Fideo Loco kit, featuring pinto beans and potatoes. The box isn't refrigerated, so cooks have to buy and add ground beef separately.

A few Google searches helped me figure out that fideo loco is a bonafide San Antonio and South Texas specialty, a dish you'll find in both everyday homes and everyday Mexican restaurants. It's been around for decades, and there's even a Fideo Loco Festival and Cook-off at the Alamo Beer Company in San Antonio that will return for the third year on Nov. 2.

I imagine that fideo loco could be a comfort food to top all comfort foods, but I'll find out when I make this new meal kit during my weekly livestream at noon on Wednesday on the Austin360 Facebook page.

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