Tag Archives: choose your own adventure

Fajitas and ‘Ritas: Food for Thought

30 Aug

In the desert of overpriced, overtouristed downtown dining destinations, Fajitas and ‘Ritas is a welcome oasis of cheap, purposely tacky goodness. Bright Mexican-themed murals cover the walls, the tables are covered with butcher paper for easy cleanup, and the menu…well, it is unlike anything we have ever seen before. If a sushi menu and Massachusetts RMV form #837-B ran off to Mexico to have a love child, this is what it would resemble. Rather than having a waitress verbally take the order, this fine dining establishment provides each table with a form listing the entire menu, drinks and all; you simply check off the things you want, and the waitress takes it to the kitchen. It is even made of carbon paper, so that one copy is left at the restaurant and another can be taken home with you. In the case of the nachos, the base of chips and cheese is provided, and you choose what toppings you would like to include by circling them on a list. Mad with our newfound power, we went a little crazy…

Nacho plate #1 consisted of chicken, refried beans, guacamole and black olives:

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After thoroughly enjoying this plate, (and with the relief of a third reviewer coming to join), we decided to throw our hats into the ring for round #2: Steak and chili.
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  • Appearance: (9)Cheesy deliciousness all over the place, with barely a chip or topping poking through. A massive glop of guacamole and the black olives added a nice touch of color to the first plate. Like a cool pool on a hot summer day, we wanted to dive right in.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (9) Almost all of the toppings were very high quality. Both the steak and the chicken were tender, moist and deliciously seasoned. The refried beans and chili could have definitely held their own as the central ingredient of the nacho plate. The cheese stayed melty and inviting until the very end. Even the guac, though clearly not homemade, was fresh and zesty. The chips were the biggest downfall: A bit too dense, and lacking in full-bodied flavor.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (7) The sheer volume of cheese covering both plates of nachos made a low distribution score nigh impossible. Still, there was little effort put into layering: it was just chips under toppings under cheese. Whether through foresight or stinginess, these nachos were relatively flat, making multiple layers welcome but not essential.
  • Price: (8) Chips and cheese started at $3.10, with each topping incurring an additional cost. These, for the most part, were pretty reasonably priced, and while we don’t remember exactly how much each plate cost, the total for two not-insignificant plates of nachos and a liter of sangria came to $30. Amen to that!
  • Overall: 33/40. Aside from being delicious, these nachos got us thinking, about choice, free will, and their effect on both the human condition and on nachos. Never, aside from our own attempts at nacho construction, have we had such free reign over the content of our nachos. It is illuminating to have all of one’s choices presented in bullet points with relative prices attached; it makes one realize just what is important in nachos. While we enjoy tomatoes, we decided to skip them and the corresponding additional $0.95 in lieu of other things. The same went for sour cream, jalapenos, etc. Were these nachos better off for that? It is difficult to say. Non-essential does not imply non-beneficial; while we may not particularly enjoy many of the things on our nachos, sometimes it takes their absence to really appreciate them. These nachos were a wonderful, worthwhile, memorable event; but they did remind us that often, in nachos as in life, it is not reaching the ultimate goal so much as the details of the journey that make it so grand.
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A How To: Throwing the Banginest Nacho Party of All Time

22 Mar

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When Nacho Patrol said that they would be live blogging the 1st Annual Spring Break themed Nachopalooza, we meant that we would write about it ten years later. Due to an unfortunate incident involving Comcast high speed internet, approximately 60 jello shots, and a newly-breasted Indiana Jones, we were unable to keep our loyal fans updated. Don’t worry though–here are the highlights, the lowlights, and a complete list of instructions for having your own nacho-worshiping event.

Ingredients:

  • A varied selection of cheeses: approximately 6 bags kept 12 people fully cheesy, with some to spare
  • 3 lbs of tortilla chips, though this was barely enough
  • Crock-o-chili: ours served 8-10, but perhaps we overdid it a little (Nacho Patrol passed out before having the opportunity to put it in the fridge, and the licensed food handlers in the group deemed it unsafe in the morning)
  • A jar of jalapenos: for those with stronger palates than ours.
  • A jar of salsa: As much as we complain about store bought salsa at restaurants, we are too lazy to make our own.
  • A pint of sour cream
  • A can of refried beans for our vegetarian friends
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced green onion: unnecessary, you may say, but delightfully delicious
  • Black olives: obviously
  • Handmade guacamole in massive quantities.

Nacho Patrol had nacho production down to a science. The broiler was preheated, baking sheets were lined up, the aluminum foil was unfurled. The results…were varied.

Cherrie and Julia went the simple route, combining forces to make a large sheet of cheese-only nachos.

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Rosannah made nachos that were probably pretty good, but she ate them before we were able to take a picture.

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A’Nova was extremely coy, and refused to show us her creation, although in all likelihood it was the best of the night and she just didn’t want to show off.

What you don't know can't embarass you
What you don’t know can’t embarass you

Laura’s nachos had all the makings of a classic…

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…while Andi loaded hers up with color.

Brighter than thou
Brighter than thou

Ann Marie was dressed for the occasion and made a seriously meat-laden plate of nachos.

More ground beef than your body has room for
More ground beef than your body has room for

Skyler went heavy on the cheese and light on the salsa.

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Angela came late to the party and was forced to scrounge amongst the leftovers.

Please sir, I want some more!
Please sir, I want some more!

A number of other guests/Nacho Patrollers created nachos of note, but we kinda forgot to keep taking pictures. The reason? This:

SPRING BREAK!

SPRING BREAK!

From left:

  • Tequila and lime jello
  • Malibu, Absolut New Orleans and white rum with Blackberry Fusion jello
  • Malibu and pineapple jello
  • White rum and coke with raspberry jello
  • White rum and cherry jello

In the end, we chalked up Nachopalooza 2009 as a success!