Tag Archives: Foreign Correspondant

Sapphire Restaurant and Bar in Mumbai, India: Nachomasté

23 Feb

Q: What do they call Indian food in India?

A: Food!

If you are heading to India you’d better like Indian food, for aside from some rather bastardized Chinese menu additions and the ubiquitous Domino’s Pizza chain, the local fare is about all that you can get.  Our hopes for finding nachos on the Indian sub-continent were nearly extinguished when, on the very last day, we found them right under our nose at our hotel’s restaurant, Sapphire. The Nachoes (sp) were described as “Tortilla chips tossed in cheese sauce”.  Would they be tasty? Would the cheese sauce be made of paneer?  Would we live to tell the tale?

  • Appearance: (5) Not a lot of color going on, but the sprinkling of chopped chilies, scallions and black olives (!) added a nice flair.
  • Quality of Ingredients:  (6) The chips, while not homemade, were surprisingly fresh– we’ve had many much staler versions in the states, where tortilla chips are available on every corner.  There was both cheese sauce and a type of cheese on these nachos, and both tasted a little processed.  The cheese sauce, however, with the addition of the chopped peppers, was delightfully spicy.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (8) The cheese sauce once again saved the day in distribution, getting everywhere.  In fact, there was too much sauce for the chips, and we polished it off the bottom of the dish with spoons.
  • Price: (6) 130 rupees at the current exchange rate makes these around $3.10. They were pretty tiny, and coming from a country where a huge, delicious thali can be had for under $2 perhaps a bit overpriced.  But considering their rareness, and that these prevented us from having to go into downtown Mumbai to hit up the Ruby Tuesday’s, we don’t regret the expense.
  • Overall: 25/40.  While we would have loved to find some Indian nachos made from Indian ingredients, this slightly spiced-up American version hit the spot for a light nacho craving.

Peso’s Kitchen in Seattle: Worth Their Weight in Oro

2 Jan

Sometimes a blizzard can be a blessing in disguise.  When all of Boston hunkered down for the great storm of 2010, this Nacho Patroller’s canceled flight led to a lovely side trip to Seattle, Washington.  Originally on the hunt for seafood nachos in this great waterfront city, the lack of such options led to a visit to Peso’s Kitchen and Lounge, in the Queen Anne neighborhood.  An authentic upscale Mexican restaurant in the vein of Zocalo, Cantina La Mexicana and Sol Azteca, we were drawn in by reports of their red chile skirt steak nachos, but found instead the green chile mole nachos, with ancho chile sauce, crema, asadero cheese and skirt steak.

  • Appearance: (9) Oh, wow.  Barely any chips were visible under the weight of all the toppings, and the green chile mole peeked coyly out from under the blanket of black beans. A few chips on the edges seemed a little burned.

    Bloody delicious

  • Quality of Ingredients: (9) The little bits of skirt steak were deliciously rare and perfectly seasoned.  The asadero cheese was a delicious departure from the norm.  The crema was so much more than we expected, a cooling, cilantro-tinged counterpoint to the slightly spicy mole sauce and black beans.  Our only complaints were the guacamole, which while fresh, could have been a little more flavorful, and the homemade chips which were not strong enough to support all of the toppings.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (10) There was so much going on here, we can’t recall finding a single naked chip (and indeed, the complimentary basket of chips on the side came in useful for scooping up extra toppings).  The smooth green chile mole sauce contrasted perfectly with the chewiness of the steak and crunchy bits of salsa, and the copious black beans provided a solid base upon which the other toppings could play.
  • Price: (9) $12 with steak is a bargain, considering how delicious these were.
  • Overall: 37/40.  Our highest rated nachos EVER! These were a wonderful flavor experience, undisputed champion of the foreign reviews and surpassing even the Pour House in score.  Perhaps we are doing all our reviewing in the wrong city?

Vienna, Austria: The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Mediocrity

22 Aug

Do nachos and Vienna, Austria — or for that matter, any city in Europe — really make sense?  While visiting Vienna we came upon a wonderful outdoor film and food festival. The square in front of city hall was filled with every kind of food stall including Indonesian, Indian, Slovakian, Mexican, German, French, Australian, Cuban, Spanish, Italian, Iranian, and lots of beer and wine stalls.  The place was packed and a giant screen was in front of city hall for the evening film. The atmosphere was festive, and fun; the aromas were intoxicating.

The Mexican booth smelled wonderful and the line was long, so we went for it. Nachos with queso and guacamole. In the five minutes we waited no one else ordered this dish, but the burritos wafting past looked delish.

  • Appearance: Our nachos were a study in Austrian culture-  order trumps creativity.  The portion was euro- sized, filling a plate about 5×10″ with maybe four layers of chips.  There were no toppings but rather “sidings”.
  • Quality of Ingredients: Cheese seemed to be a combo of some white and orange cheese and tasted like Monterey Jack & cheddar.  The salsa was a study in mediocrity and seemed to have been pureed into submission- are chunks of fresh tomatoes too disorderly? On the whole, adequately forgettable.
  • Distribution of Toppings: The cheese was not on every layer but mostly on top, and seemed to have been melted under a broiler.  Refried beans, salsa and guacamole were neatly layered on the side for us to dip into with our chips. Overall, this worked very well.
  • Price: 5.9 euros, around $8. For Austria, about standard.

Given the other food at this booth, they really should be trying harder to make their nachos stand out.  Missing ingredients that would have made them “ausgezeignet”  were olives, peppers and a freshly-made salsa with fresh tomatoes. Austrians are masters of sausage and little pieces of a chorizo-types sausage would have really upped the ante!