Lone Star Taco Bar: When You Wish Upon A Nacho, pt. II: Dreams Really Do Come True Edition

11 Mar

Once upon a time, in a haze of beer and a few too many truffled gorgonzola fries, we waxed slightly poetic about our love for Deep Ellum, and our torrid fantasies about just how good their nachos might be.  And now, it seems our dreams have (somewhat) come true, as Deep Ellum has recently expanded and opened up the Lone Star Taco Barright next door, complete with nachos on the menu. Have our dreams come true??
Lone Star is indeed the South-of-the-Border sister of Deep Ellum, complete with the exceedingly dim lighting, delicious cocktails, and a bovine head on the wall (though stuffed, not skeletal). The “Victory Club Nachos” came with little descriptive text, but considering that they were $5, we waited in nervous anticipation for them to arrive. Would they live up to our fantasies, or would they be little more than cheese over chips? And then, at long last, they arrived:Image

  • Appearance: (4) Excuse me, waiter? There must be some mistake, you’ve brought me a salad!
  • Quality of Ingredients: (9) Upon closer investigation, the vegetable on top was not lettuce but sliced Napa cabbage, which was…better than expected.  With the Cotija cheese on top and some crema sauce underneath, it was almost edible on its own as a salad.  Underneath, we appreciated the thick housemade chips and pickled jalapenos. There were a few small dabs of guacamole, but we found them to be slightly funky and overripe tasting.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (7.5) There was a fair amount of cheese and the sour cream sauce added to the distribution, but the lid of cabbage cooled the cheese unusually fast, leaving it in thick slabs.  Still, just about every chip has something tasty on it.
  • Price: (10) For $5 these were an exceptionally filling snack for two.
  • Overall: 30.5/40.  If you make a trip to Lone Star, these nachos are definitely worth your time, cash, and stomach space.  Sometimes dreams really do come true…
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Phoenix Landing: We Nix Returning

1 Mar

Leap Day, a once-every-four-years occasion, found us engaging in a once-in-a-lifetime-is-enough activity, nachos at the Phoenix Landing.  Given our previous limited experiences with this bar, all we knew going in was that 1) the drinks are strong and 2) around 1am the dance floor starts to feel like you’re in a sweaty washing machine.  So when we showed up for Geeks Who Drink trivia and saw these on the menu, we assumed…the nachos must be great, right?

  • Appearance: (6) Nothing too exciting going on here.  Fresh jalapenos were the only item to catch the eye.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (5) The chef surely didn’t tax himself much, beyond using a can opener. The chili bore a striking resemblance to taco beef, or, according to one reviewer, Manwich. While the chips were decidedly from a bag, they were thicker and saltier than your average Tostito. The one non-packaged item on the nachos was the diced tomato in the salsa…or so we think.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (5) Early on it was apparent that there would be distribution issues. Many of the underlying chips were broken, and there was not nearly enough cheese, nor was it evenly dispersed. Even the landslide of chili/Manwich was hard to get in one’s mouth due to the broken chips, and a lack of flatware due to our flustered waiter.
  • Price: (6) At $10, standard.
  • Overall: 22/40. Best leave the Phoenix Landing to what it does best– Guinness pints and Euro Football, and Midweek Techno.

Miller’s Ale House (Boston): Mediocrity®

27 Feb

This week’s nacho review comes to you from Bugaboo Creek Miller’s Ale House, conveniently located next to the Arsenal Mall in scenic Watertown.  In an area that truly lacks tacky sports bars, Miller’s is a welcome change from the moose restaurant . The menu may be reminiscent of Friday’s, but the waitstaff is friendly, the drinks are fell-off-the-back-of-the-truck cheap, and the dining room is still shiny and new. We look forward to returning soon for our 1st Annual Classy –> Divey Western Ave Pub Crawl, starting at Miller’s Ale House, moving to the Boyne, and ending at the Bus Stop.

To punish ourselves for not eating nachos recently, we decided to indulge in two nachos: The Fiesta Nachos and the Zinger® Potato Chip Nachos (because nachos with a registered trademark are not weird at all). Just so you know, they also have something called the Chicken Enormous Nachos, but adding that to our tab would likely have killed us.

Fiesta Nachos: Crispy Tortilla chips Layered with Fresh Ground Beef Simmered in Ancho Chili Seasoning, Pico de Gallo and Jalapeños. Smothered in Jack & Cheddar Cheeses, then Melted until Bubbling. Topped with Sour Cream and a dash of taco seasoning.

  • Appearance: (4) The overall theme of this review is “meh,” starting with appearance, which was–unsurprisingly–meh. We got chili on the side in deference to our vegetarian friend, but we suspect leaving it on would have done little to make these nachos exciting. Average corn chips, scant cheese melted and congealed until nearly solid, and typical pico and jalapenos. The only mark of distinction was the taco season sprinkled on the ball of sour cream. Nice choice–almost made sour cream bearable.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (6) The only thing worth mentioning on this plate was the beef, which despite being ugly, was delicious. It nicely complimented the taco seasoning on the sour cream. Is it sad that’s the highlight? Cheese, chips, pico, and jalepenos were otherwise unremarkable.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (5) We suspect someone in the kitchen was saving all the cheese for the Potato Chip and Chicken Enormous nachos, favoring the big brothers over the scrawny runt, the Fiesta. The sprinkling of cheese we did receive chilled too quickly, leaving us with a pile of naked chips and cheese we had to tear apart with our fingers. Chili-on might have helped, but there is no way to get around the fact that there wasn’t enough cheese.
  • Price: (7) $8.99–an average plate for an average price.
  • Overall: 22/40
Zinger® Potato Chip Nachos: Zingers® Tossed in Medium Garlic Sauce, Cut into Bite Size Pieces and Served over Homemade Potato Chips. Topped with Jack & Cheddar Cheeses, Diced Tomatoes, Green Onions and Sour Cream. We’re gonna call these specialty nachos.
We should start this by saying we still have no idea what a Zinger® is. We thought they were boneless chicken wings, but either they forgot our sauce or it somehow soaked into the breading during the walk from the kitchen to the table. As best we can tell a Zinger® is a chicken finger with some stuff on it–in the menu photos, said “stuff” glistens. In real life it doesn’t exist.

  • Appearance: (7) Quite mouthwatering when compared with the Fiesta ‘chos, but rather monotonous on its own. We appreciated the lava-flow of cheese cascading into the chips, and the splash of color provided by the tomatoes and onions helped to ameliorate our concerns over the glistening grease of the chips.
  • Quality: (4) A lot of problems and only a few compliments. We appreciated the attempt at thick-cut homemade chips. The ones un-soggied by cheese grease were delicious, but once they were even slightly moistened they ended up grainy and unpleasant. The Zingers® were equally unimpressive–maybe we should have chosen a more flavorful sauce (we elected to mix “medium” and “garlic”), but they just tasted like breaded chicken fingers. Overall, the plate was greasy and probably life-shortening.
  • Distribution: (6) When it comes to potato chips, there’s a fine line between too little cheese and too much. In Miller’s case, they went a little overboard and we ended up with a greasy mess of off-textured chips and an iceberg of solidified cheese.  Again, the cheese  congealed too quickly and was sliding off the chips. We could have used more Zinger® as well.
  • Price: (6) At ~$10, these weren’t outlandish.
  • Overall: 23/40.  We’ve had much better potato chip nachos closer to home at John Harvard’s and Orleans (and even as far away as Denver), without having to figure out how to incorporate a pesky ® symbol into a blog post.