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At Long Last, the Best Nachos in Boston

12 Jul

You may have noticed a strange lack of nacho related blog posts in your life over the past few months (years?). There are many reasons for this–time, money, meat sweats, dimply-cheese-ass–but one excuse trumps them all: until recently we had absolutely run out of things to say about nachos. Honestly, how many times a week can you write about naked chips and canned jalepenos before you want to kill yourself? Answer: like 1 time. What started out as a hiatus from nachos eventually became a habit and before long we were ready to declare Nacho Patrol legally dead.

But wait, Nacho Patrol writer, you said “until recently” you’d run out of things to say! What nacho could be good enough to lure a more svelte Nacho Patrol out of hiding? That’s right, sports fans: the oft-requested Painted Burro.

Located just down the street from Nacho Patrol World Headquarters in scenic Davis Square, the Painted Burro has been racking up Best Mexican Restaurant awards since they opened. And for good reason. The food is delicious, if on the pricier side, and the margaritas…Oh, the margaritas! May we suggest the cucumber marg? It’s like a cool beach breeze on a hot day in a salty rimmed glass. And the beans! Oh, the beans! Suffice it to say, God in all his glory touched those beans and made them holy. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…Shall we review?

Did you miss our terrible blurry photos?

Did you miss our terrible blurry photos?

NACHOS CON CHORIZO DE LA CASA: guacamole, pork charro beans, cabbage & jalapeno slaw, pimpin’ jalapenos, tres quesos, baja cream, chipotle mayo

  • Appearance (10): a messy melange of Mexican flavors; colorful and fresh; cheesy and gooey. It begs you to dive right in! Per the usual, chorizo is on the side in deference to our vegetarian cohorts.
  • Quality (10): The general consensus at our table was that these nachos tasted like heaven mixed with nachos. If nacho/human marriages were legal (SCOTUS, please get on this), we would propose to this plate and take its last name. The stand out item was the chorizo. It elicited such comments as “Oh man you guys, this chorizo” and “But seriously you guys, this chorizo.” It was perfectly salty and delightfully tender, greasy, but not excessively so, a wonderful alternative to the standard (chicken, pulled pork, steak, chili, etc) nacho proteins we’ve tried over the years. We also loved the cabbage slaw with an emotion that bordered desperation. The crunch and the slight sweetness took the flavors to another level.
  • Distribution (9): From our many years of nacho consumption we know that distribution is one of the hardest categories to master. Painted Burro does a mostly excellent job by serving our ‘chos on a flat plate in a relatively one-dimensional fashion. This allows for maximum coverage and terrific chip-to-topping ratio. We would be remiss if we did not point out that there weren’t quite enough chips for all of the toppings, but luckily we had extra on the table from our chips & salsa.
  • Price (8): Our one complaint was the price. $12.00 for not-the-largest plate of nachos is a lot for the area, but given the quality of ingredients, the overall cost of the restaurant and the general nom-worthiness we think it’s a fine deal.
  • Overall: 37/40 — WTF!??!!??!!

Congratulations to the Painted Burro on winning Nacho Patrol once and for all. We’ve spent years searching for amazing nachos in Boston, but you guys have set a new standard by which all future nachos will most certainly fail.

And with that, we say goodbye:

Nacho Patrol out! #micdrop

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Regina Pizzeria: The Great Cheese Flood of 2012

10 Apr

Despite the fact that nachos are about as far from Italian cuisine as you can get, the Boston Italian Restaurant Industrial Complex continues to test the barriers of Tex Mex, with Nacho Patrol ready and willing to serve (or as usually is the case, be served). In our last post we chronicled our myriad attempts to find good Italian nachos, culminating in a delicious trip to Ducali Pizza. This time, we’re at Regina Pizzeria in Allston (formerly The Sports Depot), where if the cheese doesn’t kill you, the terror of the commuter rail flying by your head just might.

Regina Nachos: Corn tortilla chips piled high with melted Pepper Jack and Mozzarella cheese, Regina sausage, tomatoes, chopped red onions, black olives and sliced hot cherry peppers.  Garnished with sour cream and guacamole.

  • Appearance: (7) In our three and a half years of eating nachos, we have never seen this much cheese. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but there is actually an ocean of cheese on that plate. A Mexiterranean Ocean of cheese. In theory, a glut of cheese should be delicious, but in practice it’s not exactly aesthetically pleasing. It consumed the tomatoes, olives, and onions, drenching the chips and obscuring the lovely painted plate. Luckily, the guac and sour cream were on the side, else we’d have a downright mess on our hands!
  • Distribution: (7) We thought we’d never say this, but there was too much cheese. Side effects of Too Much Cheese include soupiness, chip drenching, cheese sweats, soggy chips, and watching years of your life disappear. We appreciated that the cheese completely ensnared the other toppings creating perfectly proportioned bites.
  • Quality: (8) In deference to our vegetarian allies, these nachos were sans sausage or chicken, but our friend who ordered a side of sausages said they were delicious. For the most part, the other toppings were average–the guac, tomatoes, olives, and chives were nothing special. The peppers were a nice touch, not too spicy, but a pleasant kick of flavor. The real delight was the mix of Pepper Jack and Mozzarella, combining to make the whole plate taste like pizza (See…these are Italian nachos!), and as we all know, pizza is what Regina does best.
  • Price: (7) You can get the basic nachos (as listed above) for $10. For an additional $5 you can add buffalo chicken. $10 is average for the area, matching the cost of the former Sport’s Depot nachos, but we find the concept of $5 chicken so offensive that we’re knocking them down another point.
  • Overall: 29/40. We loved the flavors and passion with which the cook layered on the cheese, but ultimately these nachos suffered from too much of a yummy thing.

Do we risk getting whacked if we keep writing average-to-negative nacho reviews of North End hot spots?

Advice for the Occasional Defector: Burchos

14 Dec

It happens to the most loyal of patrollers. You’re next in line at the fast-food counter when you are faced with a dilemma. Nachos or burrito? Burrito or nachos? You weigh the pros and cons in your head.

Nachos
Burritos
DELICIOUS. Burritos are massive, but at least they’re not fried?
Tortilla chips are triangular. Burritos are round.
Nachos are social, and you don’t have any friends Burritos can be consumed alone in your cube where your only companion is a spreadsheet…

“Next!”

Crap! What to do… Then you realize the person behind the counter is not some scrappy white kid who only moved here from Connecticut for school, but is actually Mexican!

“BURRITO!”

Then the anxiety sets in. Burritos can go wrong in a lot of ways. But don’t fret. Nacho Patrol is here to help. Let us recall that valuable wisdom we acquired from our liquid-cheese sen-seis at Qdoba: burritos are really just nachos to-go. So plan your burrito accordingly with the following phrases:
“Little meat”

“Nacho cheese” (or if they don’t have it, “Mucho cheese”)

“More cheese”

And you’re done! For places that serve chips on the side, you can even get the best of both worlds and not regret your decision to stray from the caloric paradigm that is nachos (don’t forget the Cholula).

You’re welcome.