Tag Archives: Old and Faithful

Jalapenos: Our House South of the Border

21 Mar

Do you remember a scant 29 months ago when we questioned the strange allure of Our House West (in case you don’t, you can get nostalgic here and here)? That “den of vice, iniquity, and many a lost Tuesday night” kept us coming back week after week despite its many, often very apparent, flaws. Sure, the nachos weren’t that good, but they had board games and curly fries. It was like college, but sexier.

Reader, in recent months you may have noticed a painful cry rushing away from the dingy streets of Allston. Have you paused to listen to that sad moan hanging in the wind? Have you heard it whisper, “Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuddddde…..I looooooovvvvveeee yooooooooouuuuu” and then vomit? Well, that’s just the ghosts of the recently deceased Our House West fleeing that immortalized basement to make room for the bright and beautifully whitewashed Jalepenos. Ditching our mourning shrouds and bolstering our spirits with thoughts of Mexican food, we headed back down that well trod road to Our House–I mean Jalapenos.

  • Appearance: (6) Segregation was ruled unconstitutional years ago, but Jalapenos missed that.  One half entirely cheese and veggies, the other split between pico and a torrent of jalapeno peppers?  It didn’t make a lot of sense to us. Also, the cheese sauce had a very suspiciously too-orange color…
  • Quality of Ingredients: (7) The homemade chips here are good, and while the salsa is more like pico de gallo, it was fresh and bright tasting.  The veggies were large, well-seasoned chunks of roasted zucchini, summer squash and eggplant.  The cheese sauce was…cheese sauce.  We had been hoping for something along the lines of Border’s queso dip, but this unfortunately had more in common with Velveeta.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (6) Does anyone really need that many jalapenos? Really?  We scraped them off and they filled a whole appetizer plate.  The cheese sauce got so cold that it formed a skin and didn’t properly coat the chips.
  • Price: (7) We’re pretty sure these were in the $10 range–so average, it’s not worth discussing.
  • Overall: (26/40) Jalepenos may have upgraded the decor, but sadly not the nachos. Tying with the Our House West re-review, we’re unsure why the cheese sauce on the nachos was different from the queso dip on the menu and why they found it necessary to douse the whole plate in jalepenos. Was it an edible homage to their name???? Genius!

Saying goodbye to Our House West was hard, but it’s nice to see the space growing up with us. And no matter what, we still have our memories–or rather, hazy drunken recollections of questionable decisions gone by.

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Classics Revisited: Harry’s Bar and Grill

6 Aug

A year and a half ago, a little bar named Harry’s unexpectedly stole our nacho-loving hearts.  Coming from out of nowhere, this unassuming place gave us a plate that powered past nearly all of Boston’s nacho behemoths with its delicious flavors and artful distribution.  We have since returned many times, but never for the nachos.  Why?  Fear– fear that these were too good to be true, that we were wrong in awarding the silver medal of Boston nachos.  Also, we maybe had heard some negative reports.  Determined to nut up and do the right thing, we returned to Harry’s on the eve of our departure from the neighborhood, to either confirm their brilliance or set the record straight.

  • Appearance: (8) Much has changed from our original review!  Gone are the tri-colored chips, but to more than make up for it, guacamole, green onions and a tantalizingly non-sour cream dip on the side. Chili is now on the top, instead of in the middle under a helmet of cheese.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (9) As could be guessed from their fancied-up color scheme, practically every ingredient in these nachos had changed, generally for the better. The chili had a distinct, chocolaty mole flavor, something we rarely encountered.  The orange sauce on the side turned out to be a chipotle cream/mayo concoction, much more exciting that its sour cream predecessor.  Even the salsa was miles ahead of the canned stuff of yore– thin, fresh, and reminiscent of both gazpacho and our recent trip to Brighton Beer Garden (perhaps these two are in cahoots?). As before, the chili presented a kidney bean extravaganza, but gone were the black olives.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (8) Here Harry’s has completely changed their approach, trading in the “molten chili center” method for the more traditional “chili hat” distribution.  This created a few more problems with distribution, making it sometimes hard to get at sodden chips, and hiding the true melted cheese magnitude. Indeed, there was a lot of cheese but most of it near the bottom and some even stuck to the plate (it appears the Gospel of John Harvard’s is spreading!)
  • Price: (8.5) What is it with restaurants not having a website? Our blueberry beer-addled brains have failed us.  They are only listed without chili, at $7. We’re guestimating on this one.
  • Total: 33.5/40.  While they have moved down out of medal contention, we’ll still think of these as winners any day.  In an era where restaurants seem to be cheapening and dumbing down their nachos, Harry’s has upped their game with bold, original ingredients.  Hurray!

Rudy’s Cafe: Where Everybody is Soon to Know Our Name

17 Jul

Nachoville is abuzz tonight with thrilling news and general celebration.  After much Craigslist trolling, an extended tour of Cambridge/Somerville, peeking into the bedrooms of strangers (why do so many people keep weapons in their bedrooms?) and dealing with the World’s Most Senile Realtor,  the new Nacho Patrol World Headquarters has officially been chosen.  In the mood for celebratory margaritas and intensive furniture discussions (too much wicker? not enough wicker?), we hit an old standby in our new neighborhood, Rudy’s Cafe.  Rudy’s is an adorable Somerville institution, full of fiesta-colored furniture, cozy dining nooks, and with not-insignificant margarita list.  It’s entirely possible that one of our members may have been conceived after a night of one too many Original Margaritas.  Putting that uncomfortable thought aside, we eagerly ordered their Super Nachos, with spicy chili.

  • Appearance: (6) Despite significant oozage, the lack of color variation left something to be desired.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (7) We loved the thick, crispy, perfectly-salted homemade chips, and could have easily just eaten a pile of them plain.  The chili was also good, but the salsa was a little overwhelming, and far too runny.  Melted cheese=excellent.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (7) It was hard to know where the salsa ended and the chili began, because the two were layered on top of each other (Rudy’s also offers these nachos with black beans instead of chili, which may cut down on this problem). Because there was so much runny salsa,  the bottom layer of chips quickly became sodden, though rarely inedibly so.  Upon seeing the hat of toppings on these nachos, we feared for many naked chips, but were pleasantly surprised to find a second layer of cheese in the middle.
  • Price: (7) $10 for a solid starter for three.  Still, we would have appreciated a little more varietal bang for our buck.
  • Overall: 27/40.  Nice nachos, but in the future we’re looking forward to trying other things on the menu!