Go to Woburn. Go for the history–it was founded in 1660. Go for the architecture–their library was designed by Henry Hobson Richardson, who designed Trinity Church in downtown Boston. Go for the serenity–the population is 37,000. But don’t bother going for the nachos.
Nacho Patrol put on its hiking boots and headed 20 minutes north of Boston to On The Border, a chain with locations across the US, for their Grande Fajita Nachos. When we arrived, we immediately encountered a challenge: On The Border has some damn good ‘ritas. It has been raised as an ethical concern to the integrity of our nacho connoisseuring what should be done in moments of such encounters. But we were prepared. We brought a video camera to capture instantaneous reactions AND we verified the report with our designated driver. This Patrol was ready to roll:
- Appearance: At first glance, these nachos are… intriguing. With only about 12 large chips laid flat on a plate, each chip had its own appointed layer of beans, chicken, and cheese. Talk about never coming across a lack of topping. The guac and salsa and sour cream were in scoops in the middle with a jalapenos and a very petite dribble of shredded lettuce. But the lack of “mound” or even multiple flat layers as the Patrol encountered at Uno’s was disheartening, and the color provided by the salsa and guac were instant indicators that both were in way too short of supply to be satisfactory even to only 12 chips. (5)
- Quality of toppings: The chicken was first rate, obviously choice meat (as one might also say of fellow Patroller Harrison), but was poorly cooked! The white, flawless grilled chunks were devastatingly dry. The cheese was under-melted, but the beans and guacamole were fairly fresh. The pico de gallo looked fresh, but there was so little of it that it was difficult to rate. The chips were good and salty, but, as Patrol consult D-zores pointed out, were made soggy by the presence of toppings on each individual chip (see concluding paragraph). However, delicately placed on the table in a stroke of genius and thoughtfulness by the restaurant, there sat a Patroller’s best friend: a bottle of Cholula. Consulting with other patrollers, that earns 100 points toward a nacho. Balancing that against the rest of the “quality” review, we came up with a slightly lower number: (8 )
- Distribution: While we have discussed the draw-back of soggification, there was no shortage of the three main ingredients on each and every chip. This would earn On The Border a perfect 10 if only they’d had the foresight to include sufficient guacamole and salsa. (8 )
- Price: $10. For 12 chips. At 83 cents a chip in this economy, the Patrol demands that each chip have ample rations of guacamole and salsa! (3)
- Overall: 24/40. No wonder the T doesn’t go to Woburn.
This Patrol brought up a very important ethical question regarding the pile-vs-spread ideologies of distribution. While the spread method ensures a no-chip-left-behind policy, the pile method offers a front line of sacrificial chips that ensure every chip is not subject to the soggifying treachery of the toppings.