Tag Archives: Somerville

At Long Last, the Best Nachos in Boston

12 Jul

You may have noticed a strange lack of nacho related blog posts in your life over the past few months (years?). There are many reasons for this–time, money, meat sweats, dimply-cheese-ass–but one excuse trumps them all: until recently we had absolutely run out of things to say about nachos. Honestly, how many times a week can you write about naked chips and canned jalepenos before you want to kill yourself? Answer: like 1 time. What started out as a hiatus from nachos eventually became a habit and before long we were ready to declare Nacho Patrol legally dead.

But wait, Nacho Patrol writer, you said “until recently” you’d run out of things to say! What nacho could be good enough to lure a more svelte Nacho Patrol out of hiding? That’s right, sports fans: the oft-requested Painted Burro.

Located just down the street from Nacho Patrol World Headquarters in scenic Davis Square, the Painted Burro has been racking up Best Mexican Restaurant awards since they opened. And for good reason. The food is delicious, if on the pricier side, and the margaritas…Oh, the margaritas! May we suggest the cucumber marg? It’s like a cool beach breeze on a hot day in a salty rimmed glass. And the beans! Oh, the beans! Suffice it to say, God in all his glory touched those beans and made them holy. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…Shall we review?

Did you miss our terrible blurry photos?

Did you miss our terrible blurry photos?

NACHOS CON CHORIZO DE LA CASA: guacamole, pork charro beans, cabbage & jalapeno slaw, pimpin’ jalapenos, tres quesos, baja cream, chipotle mayo

  • Appearance (10): a messy melange of Mexican flavors; colorful and fresh; cheesy and gooey. It begs you to dive right in! Per the usual, chorizo is on the side in deference to our vegetarian cohorts.
  • Quality (10): The general consensus at our table was that these nachos tasted like heaven mixed with nachos. If nacho/human marriages were legal (SCOTUS, please get on this), we would propose to this plate and take its last name. The stand out item was the chorizo. It elicited such comments as “Oh man you guys, this chorizo” and “But seriously you guys, this chorizo.” It was perfectly salty and delightfully tender, greasy, but not excessively so, a wonderful alternative to the standard (chicken, pulled pork, steak, chili, etc) nacho proteins we’ve tried over the years. We also loved the cabbage slaw with an emotion that bordered desperation. The crunch and the slight sweetness took the flavors to another level.
  • Distribution (9): From our many years of nacho consumption we know that distribution is one of the hardest categories to master. Painted Burro does a mostly excellent job by serving our ‘chos on a flat plate in a relatively one-dimensional fashion. This allows for maximum coverage and terrific chip-to-topping ratio. We would be remiss if we did not point out that there weren’t quite enough chips for all of the toppings, but luckily we had extra on the table from our chips & salsa.
  • Price (8): Our one complaint was the price. $12.00 for not-the-largest plate of nachos is a lot for the area, but given the quality of ingredients, the overall cost of the restaurant and the general nom-worthiness we think it’s a fine deal.
  • Overall: 37/40 — WTF!??!!??!!

Congratulations to the Painted Burro on winning Nacho Patrol once and for all. We’ve spent years searching for amazing nachos in Boston, but you guys have set a new standard by which all future nachos will most certainly fail.

And with that, we say goodbye:

Nacho Patrol out! #micdrop

Newtowne Grille: But the Chips are From Oldtowne

31 May

We’ve lived less than three blocks from Newtowne Grille for nine months now, and since we’re not townies or college students, we’ve so far elected not to go in. We’re past the days that we need a $12 pitcher of beer and a $4 pizza…okay, that’s a big fat lie. But when Christopher’s is marginally closer and 1000% better, we just can’t be accountable for never going. Given the sorry state of the nachos, we might be completely justified.

  • Appearance: (5)  The photo here does this particular plate too much justice, but trust us, the tomatoes were wan and the cheese pre-congealed. The chili looked delicious, but god damnit there was lettuce! Cue a very passionate out-loud groan.
  • Quality: (2) We don’t even know where to begin. First of all, we liked the chili. The chunks of meat were ample and not of the ground-beef variety. The extent of our compliments need to end there, because the only other part of these nachos that didn’t make us cry was the lettuce (and black olives! -ed). That should tell you a lot about the quality. The chips were absolutely the stalest we have ever encountered.  Our Guest Correspondent Tim described them as cardboard, which is probably as apt a metaphor as we can give you to describe the stale, soft, and salty foundation of our chos. Normally when you bite into a chip you expect a bright crunching sound. When you bit in to these chips, it sounds a little bit like shattering safety glass. We wondered aloud, what happened to these?  Had someone accidentally left a bag of chips open since last summer and then tried to make nachos with them?? Louder groan!
  • Distribution: (5) The cheese was cold even before it got to our table, making it very hard for it properly coat the chips. The chili was ladled with a heavy hand but unfortunately, only on the very top of the chips, leaving many naked below.  This worked to our advantage as it was easier to spoon off and avoid the abominable chips, but that really doesn’t deserve extra points!
  • Price: (5.5) At $10, why not just pay a dollar more and go for the $11 pitcher-of-PBR-and-pizza deal, and save yourself the jaw-numbing, soul-crushing apocalypse that is these nachos?? Really.  Save yourself.
  • Overall: 17.5/40.

Here’s a question: how long do these nachos have to go un-ordered before Newtowne takes them off the menu? Three months? Six? We, say, however long as it takes.  People of the world, unite! Boycott this disaster!  Down with stale chips!  Viva la PBR and pizza instead!

Redbones: Hidden Gem

17 May

Redbones, we are forever in your debt. When, after seven hours of plodding, we finished our first annual Walk (Amble) for Hunger, crawled back to Nacho Patrol World Headquarters and found ourselves in dire need of some hearty BBQ, you delivered…for free, and on a bike. The ample array of meat you provided that night gave us the strength to carry on (to the shower and then to bed). We’ve been craving you ever since.  We’ve known for a long time that you had nachos, but the description wasn’t hurrying us out of the house: two kinds of cheese, guac, salsa, jalapenos and sour cream. The bartender Mike (or Eric, we’re not sure) must have agreed with us because he clued us in to the off-menu nachoption with all the above toppings and a heaping pile of pulled pork. From now on, we will always ask, “who can we talk to about nachos?” before we order.

  • Appearance: (8) You wouldn’t see these on Top Chef Masters, but these nachos demanded our gastronomic attention. Don’t you just want to dive in and cover yourself in all that perfectly smoked pulled pork? The burnt chips and sour cream waterfall pulled down the rating a few points, but the guac, tomato, and moist mountain of meat all but makes up for any shortcomings.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (9) We recorded our thoughts mid-nacho patrol, but we couldn’t hear anything over the sound of reckless crunching. The chips were thick–almost pita chip-like–and we could easily ignore the burntness (though they were a little under-salted). The tomatoes were fresh, and we enjoyed the guac, though we doubt it was homemade. As you could probably predict, the meat was the real stand-out of these chos. Oh-so-moist, oh-so-succulent, oh-so-flavorful! We were torn over whether or not we wanted a sauce…Oh, the selection of sauces! In our experience, BBQ sauce doesn’t go well with the overall palate of ‘chos, and it would probably be a shame to cover up the perfectly seasoned pork.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (7) New restaurant, same distribution problems. Naked chips, sparse cheese, and a sour cream avalanche that smothers everything toward the bottom of the plate. Dare we say it, but there were perhaps too many toppings and not enough chips!
  • Price: (7.5) The one flaw of off-menu-Groupon-nachos is that you have no idea what they cost. After some shaky math, we estimate they were about $13, which is a lot by Nacho Patrol standards, but cheap in the grand scheme of BBQ.
  • Overall: 31.5/40.

You should never order off the “American”menu at a Chinese restaurant, and you should never order anything but BBQ at Redbones.  So, while we wholeheartedly endorse these nachos, we implore you, don’t even bother unless you get them with the off-menu pulled pork.   It’s shocking and disappointing that Redbones doesn’t even list pork nachos as an option.  So for now, we are classifying these as “specialty nachos”, separate from the Best of Boston list.  Redbones, if you want to be a contender, put these on the menu!