Champps Americana: How The Midwest Was Won

12 Mar

dsc03220The Minneapolis/St. Paul area isn’t exactly a mecca for nachos. In fact, after some careful research of her ancestral land, Nacho Patroller Andi (who shall hence forth be known as A-Trix after her favorite member of the ABDC winning dance crew) failed to find any mention of noteworthy nachos in the Twin Cities. Sure, there was one or two scribbled up list (and any list that includes Little T’s leaves us shivering from head to toe), but nothing of typical Nacho Patrol caliber. For that reason, A-Trix found herself flying somewhat blind in the state she thought she knew so well. Fret not, though. Nacho Patrollers always face such challenges head on–this time, A-Trix and friends took Nacho Patrol’s stringent rules to a favorite Midwest (though apparently it’s everywhere) chain, Champps Americana.

  • Appearance: ( 7) burnt, but colorful. A pleasant pile of guac and a somewhat nerve-wracking helmet of cheese.
  • Quality of toppings: ( 8 ) maybe it’s just a Minnesota thing, but this Nacho Patroller has never seen queso dip on a Boston nacho (other than at one of our favorite, thus un-reviewed nacho joint Qdoba). How strange, how intriguing, but not wholly unwelcome, though the plasticy, salty taste occasionally had us reaching desperately for our water glasses. Otherwise, decent chili and guacamole…and fresh jalapenos (this was exciting for some, though us Nacho Patrollers tend to like our spicy fully brined and from a glass jar).
  • Distribution of toppings: (7) the state of sour cream on nachos is declining disturbingly fast. Perhaps it has to do with the economy, but this writer is so frustrated with the bath of sour cream most restaurants glob on top of their nachos. A little dollop on this side is really all you need. Instead we get nachos so awash with the white stuff that we literally have to scrape it off with a knife just to get at a little bit of cheese. Gross. This problem solved by ordering sour cream on the side, these nachos did have a bit of a nudity problem. Though nothing could be as bad as the distribution on the CCC nachos, Champps’ so called “Mile High Nachos” acted like a little boy after a growth spurt–his pants (aka the cheese) are so short that they fail to cover up his gangly legs (aka the chips). To hide his awkwardness, he resorts to wearing baggy sweatshirts (aka the sour cream/chili/guac), but nothing can compensate for the fact that his pale little ankles are fully exposed to the harsh elements. Okay, bad extended metaphor, but the fact still remains. Piles of toppings globbed on top will not make us forget that underneath the melee there is a sad pile of tortillas just begging for a little love.
  • Price: (7) $10 in all, though guac isn’t included. Not horrible, but easily finished between three people.
  • Overall: 29/40. Though A-Trix’s mother would probably beg to differ, these nachos did sate our wild need to chips and cheese. But if this is the best Minneapolis has to offer, it is a sad day for the Midwest.

A-Trix did hear a few rumors that the nachos at CC Club on Lyndale were quite good, though she has not had them and therefore can not corroborate this piece of information. She can, however, say that the Sleeper nachos at Bryant Lake Bowl are of good caliber, if slightly lacking in proper quantities of toppings. That is, if they still have these nachos…Also, she would love it if someone would give an update on the nachos at Joe Senser’s. She will be returning triumphantly to the 612/763/952 this summer and would appreciate a little guidance in her nacho-ventures.

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