Tag Archives: Jamaica Plain

Jeanie Johnston: You Can’t Put Lipstick (Cow) on a Pig (Nachos)

10 Nov

If dives are your thing and you ever find yourself near the Forest Hills T stop, you might want to check out the Jeanie Johnston.  The lighting is low, there are TVs everywhere, the Guinness is certainly well-poured, and the trivia host was doling out Halloween candy.  Spying nachos on the menu, we were pleasantly surprised to see a few unconventional toppings, and went for steak and mushrooms in hopes of a novel experience.

  • Appearance: (4) Lettuce! Our sworn enemy!  Just when we thought that we had escaped your clutches, you taunt us yet again!! And you aren’t even green enough to make these appealing!
  • Quality of Ingredients: (4) Well, the steak bits were good…and that’s about all.  Mushrooms were thin, dry and sparse. Cheese was congealed.  Chips, salsa, jalapenos, etc. were utterly forgettable.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (4) Piled too high on a small plate, with a single layer of cheese on top.  Once we had picked off the good stuff the situation got dire, but we persevered out of hunger. Our thoroughness lead us to an extra added bonus item: a lone french fry nestled deep in the mountain of chips.  After the steak, splitting this fry was one of the highlights of these nachos.
  • Price: (7) Where many other restaurants would probably try to get away with charging an arm and a leg for steak, it was refreshing to see only a $2 .50markup, the same as chicken or chili.  Mushrooms were another $1.50 (and definitely not worth it).
  • Overall: 19/40. To cite Wikipedia: “Put lipstick on a pig: a rhetorical expression, used to convey the message that making superficial or cosmetic changes is a futile attempt to disguise the true nature of a product.” These nachos immediately brought this phrase to mind, as they were nothing but sub-par nachos with a little fancy dressing.  To be fair, this place is a dive and the nachos weren’t pretending to be much more than they are, but the steak (and bonus french fry) was the only thing that made them worth the time and effort.  Just skip right to the good stuff and order some steak tips, maybe with a side of chips if you’re really jonesing for ‘chos.

Centre Street Cafe: Jamaica Pain

22 Aug

Oh,  Jamaica Plain, lush city oasis, playground for puppies, ancestral home of fabulous ice cream and overpriced organic raw granola.  Do your wide-ranging borders contain a haven for nachos as well?  We’ve had moderate luck at James’ Gate but it only left us wanting more.  Next up, the Centre Street Cafe, a funky little joint on (you guessed it) Centre Street in the heart of JP’s downtown.  They’re famous for their brunch, eclectic dishes and generally fresh/local/organic ingredients.  Bodes well for the nachos, right?  Let’s discuss:

  • Appearance: (6) While colorful, the ingredients were perhaps a little too partitioned off.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (5) “Stone-ground” tortilla chips tasted like…tortilla chips.  Tomato salsa was no where near as fresh as we had expected.  Guacamole was average.  Beans were from a can.  Sensing a pattern here?
  • Distribution of Toppings:  (6) There was a ton of cheese on these nachos, and it got everywhere.  Great, right?  Well, only if the cheese is melted enough to actually make it into your mouth, instead of sticking together in a glob on the plate when you extract a chip.  Having the beans and guacamole in sections made it difficult to get more than one topping on each chip.
  • Price: (3) At $12 WITHOUT any extra toppings (chicken or tofu would be an extra $2), these were a bit of a giant ripoff.
  • Overall: 20/40. It’s such a shame, with all the other interesting, delicious, moderately-priced items on the menu (we greatly enjoyed the polenta fries with chipotle ranch), that these nachos are such a mediocre, unimaginative mess.  Centre Street Cafe needs to either give them some serious love and attention or just take them off the menu already.

Moving Day

22 Jul

As our loyal fans know, Nacho Patrol World Headquarters is on the move. After two years slumming it in Brookline, we’re packing up the corn chips, sweeping away the old cheese, cleaning out the chili crock pot, and making our way across the river to the scenic Somerville/Cambridge border. What our new home lacks in yard space, it makes up for in pure colonial charm, and we cannot wait to see how it fairs during the first of many Nachopalooza events (block party?), tentatively planned for September 2010.

Though we are in no way shutting the door on our current neighborhood, we’re hoping over the next few weeks to visit a few of those restaurants we’ve unforgivably neglected, and we need your help to make sure we’re not missing anyone. As mentioned on our Master Nacho List, here are the places we’re already planning to hit up:

  • Game On! (Fenway) – coming very soon
  • Harry’s Bar and Grill (Allston/Brighton) – Re-Review
  • Porter Belly’s (Brighton)
  • Corrib Pub (Brighton) – coming very very soon
  • 973 Commonwealth (BU)
  • Center St. Cafe (JP)

And that’s where you come in…While we may consider ourselves experts of Boston geography, we have a few blind spots when it comes to the southern neighborhoods. If you’ve got any noteworthy nacho noshing spots you want us to review before we make our way north, please get in touch with us via Twitter, Facebook, a comment below, or at our email (nachopatrol@gmail.com).

We welcome all suggestions, especially outlandish ones.