Tag Archives: Creativity

Reuben Nachos: A Nacho Patrol Original

29 May

We have much love for the Reuben sandwich and have been curious about Reuben nachos for some time; yet an extensive (2-minute) Google search revealed that only one restaurant in the US makes them, the Loco Leprechaun of Cleveland, OH.  Not having any travel plans in the area in the near future, and at the behest of our loyal readers, we decided to take matters into our own hands and create our first Nacho Patrol Original Specialty Nachos.

Fortunately for us, most of the ingredients you would use to make a traditional Reuben sandwich translate directly to nacho toppings: Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, corned beef and Russian (or thousand Island) dressing. The one point of uncertainty was the chips: no standard tortilla chips would do, as rye bread adds a distinct and crucial flavor to the sandwich as a whole.  After scouring the supermarket cracker aisle, a suitable substitution was found: caraway rye crispbread.  Much thinner than Ry-Krisp and not as dry, these looked like the optimal choice.  We also invested in some plain pita chips, as backup.

The makings of greatness

Next step, assembly.  We drained (but did not rinse) the sauerkraut, sliced the corned beef and shredded the cheese.  Breaking the crispbread into chip-sized pieces formed the bottom layer, upon which we piled a layer of everything but dressing (cheese always on top, to hold down the other toppings).  Then, repeat.  Pop the whole plate in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes, or until bubbly.  Incidentally, this cooking time is just long enough to create, photograph and enjoy the World’s Smallest Reuben Sandwich:

Amuse Bouch

Ding!  They’re out!  The final step remains: a light, but even drizzle of Thousand Island dressing, which is much easier said than done when using a bottle.  After a few disappointing globs, we poured it onto a spoon and commenced slightly more aesthetically pleasing distribution. Et viola! The finished product:

Verdict?  While lacking in the cooler color spectrum, these were still quite appetizing to behold.  Overall, they were drier than we normally like our nachos, but that was to be expected due to the ingredient list.  The rye crackers did indeed add a nice flavor though got soggier than normal chips.  The big ingredient disappointment was the Swiss cheese.  In general, Swiss just doesn’t melt as well as your standard cheddar or jack, and therefore did not do a good job of sticking to the chips or the other toppings.  Hungry for a challenge (and more nachos), we tried to improve upon them with the second batch.  We mixed the rye crackers with pita chips for more texture and variety, doubled all of the toppings, and combined Swiss cheese with shredded cheddar for increased gooeiness. With an extra layer of dressing in the middle, these were just what the doctor ordered (us not to eat).

With a little learning curve, Reuben nachos were a delicious success!  Our first foray into making our own specialty nachos completed, we are eager to start on the next.  So many other foods to convert to nachos, so little time…

Places We Wish Had Nachos, Where We Actually Made Them Happen: Border Cafe

30 May

DSC03571If Nacho Patrol has a second home, it has to be around one of the giant tables of Border Cafe in Harvard Square. With the amount of money we have spent on their delicious margaritas we could pay off the national debt. The sheer quantity of chips and ranch sauce we’ve eaten could feed a large third world nation for five to eight years. Sure, the food won’t blow your mind, but the atmosphere and the friendly staff goes a long way in making this one of our go-to Boston area eateries.

That said, they don’t have nachos. A Mexican/Tex-Mex restaurant that doesn’t have nachos. What gives? We will answer that question at the end of this post, but in the mean time, we have fantasy nacho words:

Nacho Patrol had a bad weekend, to which there was only one panacea: drinking our way through Harvard Square and finally making our Border Cafe Fantasy Nachos (yes, occasionally we make our own). If you too are a creative nacho go-getter, you will need to order the following:

  • 1 order house made Guacamole
  • 1 Chili con Queso (with sour cream)
  • 1 Border Chili
  • 2 plates of Chips
  • 1 side Ranch Dressing
  • Extra Pico de Gallo
  • 1 large Plate
  • They may look at you strangely, but as long as you’ve had a least 2 margaritas (get them “gold”), you won’t care.

    The Making of Nacho Greatness

    The Making of Nacho Greatness

    The second step is combine at your discretion. If you follow Nacho Patrol’s varied adventures, you will know how stringent we are about proper distribution, and as such we recommend that you follow your heart when dressing your dish. We elected to use all of our toppings on one plate, and it was magical:

    • Appearance: ( 8 ) Creating an absolutely beautiful mess, Border’s impromptu nacho toppings present just about every color in the food rainbow. Red ripe tomatoes, subdued green guac, school bus yellow cheese sauce, and a spicy hued chili, accented by our much adored (and our nacho wild card addition) ranch sauce.
    • Quality of toppings: ( 8 ) As always, there is debate in the quality section. One Nacho Patroler (out of the 8 of us that undertook this effort) felt that the chips were somehow different than usual. Skyler, following her lifelong pursuit to rid the world of queso dip, argued that cheese sauce is just about never welcome on a nacho. Andi countered by pointing out that Border queso is just about the best you’re going to find. Our points of consensus: the guac was fabulous and the addition of ranch sauce added a unique kick.
    • Distribution of toppings: (9) We know how to distribute.
    • Price: (7) making your own nachos is always an expensive venture, and this attempt is no different. Coming out at just under $15 before tax, our Fantasy Nachos yield a meal size amount of food (and calories) for about half of us with some left over. Of course, with the amount of free chips we had on our table by the end, we probably all could have filled up.
    • Overall: 32/40

    It is our professional nachopinion that Border would do quite well to offer their loyal customers (namely, us) a more user friendly and a slightly less DIY nacho plate.  And, as most people are wont to do after a few gold margaritas, we decided to express this opinion to the management.  While our server Joshua had been very excited about our culinary creativity, the manager who came over was less than impressed.  As she explained it, Border only creates original Tex-Mex food, and they couldn’t think of a way to make original nachos.  In addition, with a number of restaurants like Sunset and Cambridge Common in the area making quality nachos, they didn’t want to fight for a spot in a glutted market.  We call shenanigans.  There is nothing original about any of the food at Border (because tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas are so original), and there is ALWAYS room for more nachos in the area.  We caught more than a hint of stonewalling in her response.  Get over yourself, Border.

    Apparently, Border’s large, prominent comment box is just for show; they clearly don’t really care what the people want.  Give us nachos, or give us death!!

    …on second thought, a Cuervo gold, rocks, no salt will suffice…