Tag Archives: lettuce

Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC: The Nacho Speaks of Rivers of Cheese Sauce

9 Aug

Next up in our summer series, “Nachos From Exotic Locales To Make Up For Rarely Posting,” is the lovely Washington DC!  We’ve reviewed here before way back in 2009, and arrived for this visit hungry for more museums, monuments, nachos, and above all, functioning air conditioning.  We found the latter two at Busboys & Poets, a bar/restaurant/bookstore/meeting place/social justice center (?) named in honor of Langston Hughes.  The “social justice center” part had us slightly concerned about the tempeh-to-cheese ratio, but what we found caught us completely by surprise:

  • Appearance:  (5) A toupee of shredded romaine alongside a vat of orange cheese=NOT what we were expecting!  With their green-and-gold color scheme, these could easily be the official nachos of the Green Bay Packers. Congealed cheese and a hint of tomato were the only signs of life from beneath.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (7) In deference to our vegetarian host Natalie we skipped the beef chili and got these with only the the roasted corn and black beans, which we very much enjoyed.  The chips were homemade but slightly stale and not salty enough.  The guacamole was fresh and citrusy and we appreciated the fresh jalapenos, which have proven to be exceedingly rare on nachos. And while we never like lettuce on nachos, we must acknowledge that it was fresh and romaine.  The real cheese was slightly burnt, and we were divided on the cheese sauce (surprise!)– some found it too cheap and generic-tasting for these nachos, while others found it a pleasant addition.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (5) There was not nearly enough salsa and cheese, so the cheese sauce did come in handy for some extra oomph.  We would be interested to try these with chili…though with all the other toppings, it was not too badly missed.
  • Price: (9) At $8, these were not at all the tourist trap we were expecting!  Finished handily by three.
  • Overall: 26/40.  You’d never guess that these nachos came from “a haven for writers, thinkers and performers from America’s progressive social and political movements”.  They seemed so…normal. That couldn’t be!  Perhaps the juxtaposition of the two cheese forms represented the immigrant struggle between assimilation and traditional culture? Was the oppressive lid of romaine a symbol of white male patriarchal domination?  And what does the heat of the jalapenos have to say about pacifism? We pondered until our ponderers were tired, or until it was time to catch our flight. Perhaps there is no subtext, no meaning, just a plate of mid-level nachos.

Tavern in the Square Porter: Family Feud

3 Sep

As the mercury rose into the mid-90’s, Tavern in the Square seemed like an excellent place to gratuitously mooch AC…and to engage in our first patrol in our new ‘hood.  But quickly after settling in, our safe haven revealed a more sinister side.  The menu seemed….suspiciously familiar.  Flipping to the back, we realized that the Tavern in the Squares are related to both Joshua Tree and CitySide, which, to put it nicely, are not exactly two of our favorite places.  Despite assurances that the Taverns are a little more upscale, the description of Tavern’s buffalo chicken nachos was IDENTICAL to those found at CitySide– a 7/40 monstrosity that is to date, the worst-rated plate of nachos we have ever tasted.  To say the least, we were skeptical…

  • Appearance: (6) We immediately questioned the structural integrity.  Why piled so high? Why not a bigger plate?  Why so much sour cream? And why the lettuce?? So many question marks, and not enough exclamation points.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (7)Nothing particularly stood out, other than the chips, which were dense, crispy and salty.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (6) We’ve finally found a use for the dreaded shredded lettuce: it makes a barrier against the even more dreaded sour cream hat, and allow for easier removal of the offending condiment!  In other news, there was a lot of cheese but the the tall, packed mass of chips made it near impossible for it to get everywhere.  The chili was on top, making it hard to grab chips without taking them from the bottom and risking collapse, reminding us once again of Jenga!
  • Price: (7)Expectedly overpriced at $12, but still too big for us to finish.
  • Overall: 26/40.  Yet another average nacho.  You may be better off trying some of their more interesting apps.

Dear Tavern in the Square/Joshua Tree/CitySide’s parents: We are seriously disappointed with your offspring.  They are no longer invited over to play.

Whiskey’s: Persistent Vegetative State

27 Mar

dsc03275I believe it was Orson Welles who said, “ask not what you can do for your country–ask what’s for lunch.” And for lunch yesterday at Nacho Patrol World Headquarters, we boarded the B Line and made for Back Bay to a enjoy some nachos at the bustling Boylston bar, Whiskey’s. Though it was rainy and a third of us were ill, Nacho Patrol carved out a little space in their evening for some quality nachoventures. Welles also pointed out that “nobody who takes on anything big and tough can afford to be modest,” so let’s get down to some serious reviewing:

  • Appearance: ( 8 ) bright with the multicolored chips and a perfect–though perhaps a bit gratuitous–globe of sour cream on top. We wanted to dig right in!
  • Distribution of toppings: (7) this plate severely lacked cheese. Sure, there was a glob here and there, but how would we know–everything looked like stringy, disgusting shredded lettuce, probably the most unwarranted and unnecessary nacho accoutrement of all time. Nacho Patrol really resents lettuce on nachos. Like sour cream, it seems like one of those extras thrown on to make the plate look fuller, though it does absolutely nothing for taste and is often detrimental to texture.
  • Quality of toppings: (6) Nacho Patrol usually steers clear of spicy. Too bad, since the 2-Alarm Chili was probably good, but with the level of heat, it’s difficult to actually taste anything. The guacamole was also pretty unusual–disturbingly chunky, very lemony and practically bathing in cilantro, Nacho Patrol was so put off by our favorite condiment that Patroler Chad said it “looked like a giant had stepped on it.” Whiskey’s loses serious points for the lettuce, though, which covered just about everything in a slimy mesh. Overall, everything was strongly flavored–no concern about salt content here!
  • Price: ( 8 ) for $10 these nachos presented as pretty average for the “downtown” Boston bar prices. Right across from the convention center and just three blocks from Copley, this place can certainly get away with maybe overcharging by a bit.
  • Overall: 29/40

After doing almost 30 reviews, Nacho Patrol can say without a doubt that certain nacho failure comes in the form of sour cream waterfall and a deluge of bland lettuce. Sometimes, simple is better–there is no need to dress a plate with half a head of lettuce if the result going to be a brownish, tangled web of soggy leaves and a levee-breaking amount of sour cream. The whole thing makes Nacho Patrol cry. So if you’re in the area and you want some nachos–and are too stupid to go to the BEST nacho destination in Boston, just half a block down–settle into this crowded sports bar/BBQ joint/Tex Mex with glass of milk to quell the spice and a fork to pick off the stray lettuce. You will need it.