Tag Archives: Cambridge

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.

Bukowski’s: Nachtotum

1 Feb

If Charles Bukowski was “the laureate of the American lowlife,” then his eponymous bar in Iman Square could be described as “the drinking establishment of the Bostonian fauxlife.”  Lack of a website, a menu full of obscure beers, a beer club that culminates in a mug etched with the name of your favorite dead author, and tight pants, tattoos and flannel as far as the eye can see all contribute to a certain unmistakable hipster aesthetic. Were the nachos also too cool for school?

  • Appearance: (8) How colorful! The artfully drizzled sour cream was also lovely.  Still, naked chips loomed underneath…
  • Quality of Ingredients: (8) The pulled pork was delicious and sauce-heavy, but it clashed somewhat with the salsa and other ingredients (we’ve had this problem before with BBQ on nachos). Black beans were a nice addition, and we remain undecided as to whether the chips were homemade.  We did appreciate the lime-tinged sour cream, a step up from the usual.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (6) These were top-heavy with a lot going on, but an exploratory examination showed profound naked chips under the initial layer of toppings.  We did find an unexpected second layer of cheese in the middle, but by the time we reached it it had already congealed. These nachos ascribed to the “trickle-down” theory of distribution, and in the end the naked chips weren’t so naked as the top ingredients eventually made it down to the lower chips as we ate.
  • Price: (3) $12 for basic nachos, $14 if you want pulled pork, chicken or vegan chili, and a whopping $3 if you want to add guacamole adds up to…a $17 nacho? Egads!  For that price, we’re expecting a behemoth that would put Sunset and Game On to shame, or at least some fancy ingredients
  • Overall: 25/40.  A good effort, but not up there with the big guns.  However, we highly recommend the $7.50 hotdog and PBR combo…

The Friendly Toast: Not So Friendly Nachos

18 Sep

While we like the Friendly Toast, we feel that we would be remiss to not include a disclaimer: think twice about coming here if you are easily overwhelmed or distracted by lots of external stimuli.  The cluttered, kitschy atmosphere is like an episode of A&E’s Hoarders gone almost but not exactly right– an explosion of vintage toys, tchotkches, doo-dads, thinga-a-ma-jigs, posters, sugar bowls, creepy dolls, and anything else one could imagine.  And…this guy, Burger Boy, who with his mustache and sombrero incidentally looks a lot like he belongs in Nacho Patrol:

The nachos were described as “a huge pile of fresh tortilla chips,  jalapeno-jack and cheddar, black olives, cuban beans, salsa, scallions, our avocado-lime sauce and sour cream.”  Were they as much of a sensory overload as their environment? See below:

  • Appearance: (8)  Nice colors, a great contrast to the green plate, with very solid-looking chips.  The “avocado-lime sauce” looked suspiciously like…guacamole, but we kept our minds open.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (5) The chips were indeed delicious and hearty.  The avocado-lime sauce did indeed taste like guacamole, and good guac at that.  Our opinion of the quality takes a nosedive here though, as there was a strange, off-putting, almost metallic taste in either the beans or the salsa.  It tainted the whole plate and our enjoyment of it.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (6) Not the best. Despite the blanket of toppings on top, a fair number of naked chips underneath and the cheese did not do the best job of sticking to them.
  • Price: (5) At $10.75, we found those to be overpriced.
  • Overall: 24/40.  Boring nachos from a not-at-all boring place.  But we are very excited to come back to try their breakfast nachos!