Tag Archives: Spring Break

2009 Nacho Round-up

10 Jan

Well folks, it’s been quite a year, especially in the world of nachos.  After 12 months, 62 reviews, and approximately 7,428,391 calories, we’re reflecting on our year, and this is what we have found:

Fenway News: After a year and half of dedicated reviewing, we can safely say that there simply aren’t good nachos in the Fenway area. Trust us, we have done the leg work. After our disastrous 2008 review at Beer Works (23), we didn’t have much luck at Lower Depths (27), Cask & Flagon (28), or at Fenway (18) itself. The closest we came was Uno’s (30), and since it’s a chain, we tend to not count it as an independent “Fenway area” bar. In short, stick to hot wings, Bud Light, and street vendors. It’s what Fenway does best.

Boylston News: Avid readers will know that we’ve tackled many of the most famous restaurants on Boylston Street in something we’ve called the five-part Official Boylston Epic. This doesn’t include anything in on Newbury or the surrounding area…not that there’s much going on to mention. To be honest, everything is overshadowed by Pour House (number 1 with 36!), but if we had to recommend others, we’d probably have to go with Whiskey’s (29) and their extra spicy chili and Cactus Club’s (29) super cheesy nachos.

Best “Foreign”: Over the year, our crack team of Foreign Correspondents has circled the globe in hope of finding good nachos. So far…well, take a look for yourself. Apparently, the farther you get from Mexico, the worse they get. The two bright spots have to be Jordan’s (31) Irish Specialty Nachos just outside of Denver University and the Big Four Nachos at Bryant Lake Bowl (30) in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Best Specialty: sometimes, getting away from the typical bar nacho can be an enlightening experience, and after all the great specialty nachos we’ve had this year, we feel practically blissful!

  1. Big City Mediterranean Nachos (34): pita chips covered with spinach and artichoke dip, jack and feta cheese, chopped balsamic tomatoes, kalamata olives, roasted peppers, and hummus on the side. Greek and unique!
  2. Christopher’s Yuppie Nachos (31): sour cream, guacamole, jack and cheddar cheeses, goat cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes. It makes our mouths water just thinking about it!
  3. Jordan’s Irish Nachos (32): kettle-fried potato chips topped with corned beef, swiss cheese, horseradish dijon, tomatoes and scallions. If your nachos aren’t fattening enough, get them with potato chips.

Best bar nachos: Let’s start off first with a definition–bar nachos are any plate with tortilla chips, cheddar cheese (or equivalent), chili or chicken (or similar protein), salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. Maybe some jalapenos and black olives for good measure. That said, we can say unequivocally that Sunset Cantina and Sunset Grill & Tap (35) have the best, most reliably good bar nachos around. With a variety of interesting proteins and an eye for brilliant distribution, we have never been disappointed with Sunset nachos. Our only complaint is the shredded lettuce on top. However, the keenest readers among you will notice that we’ve given Harry’s Bar and Grill (35.5) a higher total score. All we can say is that this score is up for reevaluation after a particularly unpleasant nacho experience we had at the aforementioned bar…Nonetheless, we will leave it up for the time being.

Excellence in Mexicana: no, nachos aren’t Mexican. We’ll admit it…begrudgingly. Nonetheless, 2009 saw some great nachos at Boston’s “Mexican” restaurants. Cantina La Mexicana (32) in Union Square and Cafe Sol Azteca (32) on the edge of Boston University campus may have had tied scores, but we’ve got to give Cantina the number one spot simply for their amazing waitstaff. Still, both restaurants had great foods, great drinks, and a great atmosphere. Viva Mexico!

Best Nachos on a Mediocre Internet Date: Cambridge Common (31). Self explanatory.

Best Nachos with Cheese Sauce: Nachopatrol is divided on the issue of cheese sauce.  Some like it, some hate it, but all came together to hail the Rattlesnake Bar & Grill (28) for their legitimately cheesy, obviously homemade sauce.  Although their sauce tasted from a can, the friendliness and persistence in following our blog that the fine people of JJ Foley’s (also 28) have demonstrated gives them an honorable mention.

Biggest Disappointments/Hall of Shame: Coolidge Corner Clubhouse (21).  After bragging about their nachos, and hearing about them from many others, we were disgusted to find a towering inferno of burned, greasy chips and lackluster toppings. Sometimes we can be accused to bias, but in the case of the CCC, the coffin has been shut, nailed closed, burned, and the ashes buried under six feet of earth. We will never return.

Nacho Patrol of the Year: Every now and then we get on our knees and thank the stars that Border Cafe (32) in Harvard Square exists, so maybe it’s not surprising that most fun we’ve ever had while Nacho Patrolling was at this upbeat, friendly, and always-packed Tex-Mex restaurant. And that’s not just the margs talking! After order $15 worth of dips and sides, we created our own nacho plate, and even got a manager to discuss with us why a Tex-Mex joint doesn’t have nachos. As she explained it, Border only deals in “original” Tex-Mex. We’re still not sure what that means–it must be ego that allows them to call enchiladas and fajitas original. But whatever. It was worth the doubting looks. Bring back Cholula and we’ll be there every day.

Review of the Year: It goes without saying that our favorite review had to be of Nachopalooza ’09. What will become a yearly tradition (and by yearly, we mean weekly), Nachopalooza allowed us to express our nacho love with our 20 closest friends, while drinking jello shots (SPRING BREAK) and taking pictures with our homemade Carson Daly. So, if you’re thinking of hosting your own very classy, very tasty nacho party, read our syllabus.

2009’s Most Controversial Nacho: The review hasn’t been posted yet, but trust us. It will get violent.

Best Comment: This year’s comment award was a tie between Mama S, who hated our blog so much it made her puke and the good people of J.J. Foley’s, who gave us hope that perhaps our reviews will one day change the world of nachos. Unfortunately, Andi was the tie-breaker, and because of a possible conflict of interest (Mama S=her mom), she had to bow out of the race.

Worst: That’s right, these are our worst nachos of the year. Avoid like SARS (or maybe Swine Flu)…

  1. Other Side (17): Technically, The Other Side had a higher score than El Paso and Casa Bonita, but we hate it so much that we gave it the honorable position of #1 Worst Nacho Anywhere in the World. Congrats, you over-rated piece of shit, hipster hell hole.
  2. Casa Bonita (10): The lowest nacho score to date, but no one was expecting much.
  3. El Paso (15): Only slightly better than a poke in the eye.
  4. White Horse (21):  We’re ashamed to admit we even considered this American-cheese monstrosity.
  5. Coolidge Corner Clubhouse (21): A low-down, dirty punch to the aorta.

Top Ten Nachos of 2009:

  1. Harry’s
  2. Sunset
  3. Big City Mediterranean Nachos
  4. Fajita’s and ‘Ritas
  5. Cantina La Mexicana
  6. Sol Azteca
  7. Crossroads
  8. Cambridge Common
  9. Christopher’s Yuppie Nachos
  10. Bryant Lake Bowl

J. Paul’s in Washington, D.C.: Monumental Nachos

15 May

When a Nacho Patroller takes a vacation, she always make sure to sample the local nacho fare. A recent weekend jaunt to Washington, D.C. was no exception, taking one of us to J. Paul’s in Georgetown. Between various Smithsonians, running into Owen Wilson (!) on the street, a perfect day at Six Flags and copious Yuengling,  it had been quite an exciting, eventful trip, and the nachos continued in that fashion.

  • Appearance:  (7) Bright and colorful, with loads of salsa, sour cream and guacamole on the top.  However, the appearance of lettuce underneath these, and a lack of cheesy/chili-riffic goodness oozing out from the edges cut down on the animal attraction.
  • Quality of Ingredients:  (8) Oh, the chili! It was delightfully chunky, a bit on the spicy side, and studded with kidney beans and some of the largest, juiciest, tastiest chunks of meat that we have ever come across (in nachos, that is…). The chips were homemade but a bit on the stale side, unfortunately.  Delightful guacamole, and a salsa with a very strong chipotle flavor were excellent accoutrements.  Even the (uneccessary) lettuce on the top, which we unanimously abhor, was better than average– thick spears of a very crunchy, dark iceberg.
  • Distribution of Toppings:  (7) The vegetarians in the group had very little luck trying to find a chip that hadn’t touched the chili, a sign of thorough distribution.  However, because of it’s thickness, the lettuce on top created a mat that separated the condiments on the top from the majority of the nachos underneath.  We had to remove a significant amount of lettuce to get to the chips at the middle of the plate.
  • Price: (7) For $10, a delicious meal for two.
  • Overall: 30.  A memorable nacho, but mostly for the chili.  Next time, we’d just get a bowl of it to go with the free hot pretzels.

A How To: Throwing the Banginest Nacho Party of All Time

22 Mar

nacho-poster1

When Nacho Patrol said that they would be live blogging the 1st Annual Spring Break themed Nachopalooza, we meant that we would write about it ten years later. Due to an unfortunate incident involving Comcast high speed internet, approximately 60 jello shots, and a newly-breasted Indiana Jones, we were unable to keep our loyal fans updated. Don’t worry though–here are the highlights, the lowlights, and a complete list of instructions for having your own nacho-worshiping event.

Ingredients:

  • A varied selection of cheeses: approximately 6 bags kept 12 people fully cheesy, with some to spare
  • 3 lbs of tortilla chips, though this was barely enough
  • Crock-o-chili: ours served 8-10, but perhaps we overdid it a little (Nacho Patrol passed out before having the opportunity to put it in the fridge, and the licensed food handlers in the group deemed it unsafe in the morning)
  • A jar of jalapenos: for those with stronger palates than ours.
  • A jar of salsa: As much as we complain about store bought salsa at restaurants, we are too lazy to make our own.
  • A pint of sour cream
  • A can of refried beans for our vegetarian friends
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced green onion: unnecessary, you may say, but delightfully delicious
  • Black olives: obviously
  • Handmade guacamole in massive quantities.

Nacho Patrol had nacho production down to a science. The broiler was preheated, baking sheets were lined up, the aluminum foil was unfurled. The results…were varied.

Cherrie and Julia went the simple route, combining forces to make a large sheet of cheese-only nachos.

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Rosannah made nachos that were probably pretty good, but she ate them before we were able to take a picture.

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A’Nova was extremely coy, and refused to show us her creation, although in all likelihood it was the best of the night and she just didn’t want to show off.

What you don't know can't embarass you
What you don’t know can’t embarass you

Laura’s nachos had all the makings of a classic…

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…while Andi loaded hers up with color.

Brighter than thou
Brighter than thou

Ann Marie was dressed for the occasion and made a seriously meat-laden plate of nachos.

More ground beef than your body has room for
More ground beef than your body has room for

Skyler went heavy on the cheese and light on the salsa.

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Angela came late to the party and was forced to scrounge amongst the leftovers.

Please sir, I want some more!
Please sir, I want some more!

A number of other guests/Nacho Patrollers created nachos of note, but we kinda forgot to keep taking pictures. The reason? This:

SPRING BREAK!

SPRING BREAK!

From left:

  • Tequila and lime jello
  • Malibu, Absolut New Orleans and white rum with Blackberry Fusion jello
  • Malibu and pineapple jello
  • White rum and coke with raspberry jello
  • White rum and cherry jello

In the end, we chalked up Nachopalooza 2009 as a success!

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