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Nacho Average Monday: Scoring Changes and Our February 22nd Review

23 Feb

Something delicious happened at The Rattlesnake yesterday, but before we get to that, we have something to note regarding our Nacho Avg. Monday reviewing.

We’re going to make a little change to rating system for Nacho Avg. Monday: instead of wracking our brains for interesting ways to say “cheese sauce=good distribution,” we’re eliminating the distribution score all together and trial-running a 1-10 “innovenuity” tally (the juxtaposition of innovation and ingenuity). Past Nacho Avg. Monday reviews will be adjusted accordingly.

Now, only the business at hand.

February 22nd: a beautiful day transitioned into a cold, cold night. BU students, wearing only sweatshirts, were out in force and looking confused. Sad news of a friend left us in a somber mood and ski jumping  stole any remaining strand of rational thought we had (how do they get so horizontal!?!?). Nonetheless, we persevered, excited to try a nacho sporting two of our fantasy ingredients, brie and mushrooms.

The fare: Arugula and spinach gently tossed in grilled portobello and truffle viniagrette–grilled crimini & tear drop tomato salsa, basil and garlic cheese sauce, brie cheese crumbles & jalapeno citrus roasted beet guacamole.

  • Appearance: (9) Look at those colors! We credit the beets and tomatoes for the amazing color palate Mr. Poe presented us with tonight. After all, how often do you see the wonderful creamy purplish pink of beets on your nachos? Splashing in a fleck of green from the spinach and arugula and the pop of a few cherry tomatoes, it was a great (and delicious) change from the traditional dark reds and yellows.
  • Quality: (8) The cheese sauce actually tasted different than normal (and by that, we mean it had a taste).  We loved the juicy, rosemary-suffused mushrooms, which served as a meaty stand-in for the usual carnivorous main ingredient.  The beet guacamole was hearty and delicious, providing a chunky guacamole texture with a fresh yet earthy flavor.
  • Innovenuity: (9)  Who knew you could turn beets into guacamole?  What’s next, water into wine, lead into gold?  We loved this unexpected take on a beloved food. Beet alchemy!  Our one complaint: a large, completely unnecessary dollop of sour cream on top of the whole thing.  We aren’t huge fans of sour cream in general, and especially on top of nachos, where it hampers distribution and masks all the other flavors.  On these nachos, it was especially unwelcome and cloying, leading us hope that it was placed there by accident, not on purpose.
  • Overall: 26/30.  Unexpected, innovative, and delicious.  What more could one ask for?
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Poe’s Kitchen Nacho Average Monday #3: (Un)Happy as a Clam

5 Feb

It has been a good couple of days for Nacho Patrol. Not only have we joined the 21st Century by getting a Facebook Page and a Twitter (we still don’t know what @ or # means, but we hope to have it figured out by the time the next big social networking media hits the market), but we also enjoyed a wonderful night at The Rattlesnake courtesy of Brian Poe, Laura, and the trivia teams that were worse than us. In another news Nacho Patrol gets creative at Poe’s Kitchen? More news on that in a few days, but for now, we’ve got some reviewing to do!

This week Poe’s Kitchen offered New England Nachos: clam chowder puree, fried Ipswich clams, bacon, celery and onion salsa, and a thyme vinaigrette. As Mya would say, it was “like woah.”

  • Appearance: (6) a little blah, and when you factor in the strange black stuff in the fried clams (we try to avoid eating filter feeders whenever possible) and the grayish color of the batter, we felt ourselves only slightly repulsed. Setting that aside, we thought the splash of color provided by the salsa offered a nice contrast to the creamy off-white chowder.
  • Distribution: (7) We’d love for the Rattlesnake to pay a little more attention to distribution. With a mass of chips, it’s easy to end up with a situation in which the sauce takes over while the other ingredients fall to the wayside (or our bellies). There was certainly enough of everything (and by that we mean, not enough bacon), but it wasn’t where it mattered most. That is all we will say on the matter for this week.
  • Quality: (6) Let’s preface this by saying, Nacho Patrol are fish people. We’ve been advocating for calamari and marinara on nachos since the dawn of time. Recently, we’ve been devising methods to put salmon and a delicious creamy dill sauce on chips. So, this isn’t a matter of saying, “well, they just don’t know how to eat fish.” Fried clams on nachos just didn’t work. They just aren’t flavorful enough to carry a nacho plate.   On another note, we’re told the clam chowder at Rattlesnake is delicious–but with so many other flavors blended in it was hard to get an unadulterated look at the sauce. And as always, the salsa and vinaigrette could do us no wrong. If we had it our way, we’d put bacon on everything. Once again, a bottle of cholula was kept close at hand to compensate for the general lack of salt/flavor.
  • Overall: 19/30. Our least favorite so far.  But we have reason to be hopeful for next week….

Poe’s Kitchen Nacho Average Monday #2: A Veggie Tale

27 Jan

Having little else worthwhile to do on Monday evenings, Nachopatrol returned to the Rattlesnake Bar & Grill to have another go at their Nacho Average Monday specialty nachos. We love how Brian Poe is serious and vocal about making interesting food, and while it was rainy and we were tired and still slightly hungover and bruised from the weekend’s birthday celebrations, the description of these nachos was too good to pass up: Nachos con Sweet Poe-tato, topped with caramelized Spanish onions, gorgonzola cheese crumbles, frisee in watercress vinaigrette, and roasted sweet potato tomatillo salsa with rosemary sea salted corn tortillas

  • Appearance: ( 8 ) A muted green and orange color palette that vaguely reminded us of the 1970’s. We like the 1970’s.
  • Quality of Ingredients: ( 9 ) Once again, the salsa stole the show. The tomatillos in the salsa were cut into sizeable chunks that added a delightful tartness, working well with the sweet potatoes. The frisee added another layer of tart freshness. A sweet potato soup was used as the sauce in these nachos, and while it would have been delicious on its own, combined with the roasted sweet potato chunks it was just a little too sweet. Hankering for a little more zest, we made liberal use of the Cholula bottle and the chopped jalapeno and poblano chilies that our ever-accomodating waitress, Laura, brought to the table. The cheese, when we finally found it, was the missing link that these nachos needed.
  • Distribution of Toppings: ( 7 ) Everything was wonderfully arrayed, but for the cheese. There was very little of it and it was all in one slab in the center of the nachos. We would have loved more crumbles to add a little more savory.
  • Overall: 24/30. A meat-free nacho with substance, and a delightfully sneaky way to get in a serving of veggies. We could eat these five days a week, with only a little more cheese…