Tag Archives: trivia

Orleans: Idaho Nachos; or White Trash-os, Part Deux

9 Apr

We should have know what we were getting ourselves into when our waiter at Orleans (Davis Square) actually cautioned us that the Idaho Nachos came with an American cheese spread rather than traditional queso sauce. Usually we only expect puffer fish to come with a disclaimer, but apparently Orleans thinks these nachos are just as deadly. Probably because they have the nutritional information.

Awhile back, we invented the life-shortening sodium spree known as The White Trash-os. Using Fritos, hot dogs, pork & beans, and jarred queso sauce, we assassinated our arteries while bringing back those oh-so-pleasant memories of family trips to the Ozarks. Orleans’ “Idaho Nachos” might be the slightly higher class version of those (and we really mean only slightly): potato chips, soaked with “an American cheese spread,” and drizzled with bacon bits, tomatoes, and green onions.

  • Appearance: (8) Low-end never looked so haute cuisine!  Beautifully plated in a large bowl with colorful confetti of garnishes, these caught us off guard with their loveliness.
  • Quality of toppings: (3.5) We can’t legally give a score over 4 for any dish that has “an American cheese spread,” though since we were expecting it, the whole experience seemed marginally better. While we kind of like the understated quality of the sauce, it wasn’t strong enough to be the main feature of the dish and we really needed some other element to pump up the flavors and give us an experience other than salty. The bacon added a kick–a nice kick of carbon, as it was completely overcooked. All of that processed goodness left us fighting for the spare tomatoes and green onions on the plate. The real problem here, however, was the chips which were initially stale tasting and toward the end soggy and greasy. Not a good progression!
  • Distribution of toppings: (6) Cheese sauce has notoriously good distribution, starting out on the top layer and slowly soaking its way to the bottom to fully coat everything. But even that couldn’t help the sad lack of toppings or central focus.
  • Price: (9) Ah, Somerville…Leave the Boston/Cambridge area, and suddenly, a plate of nachos costs $8. What a cheesy, greasy steal!
  • Overall: 26.5/40

We appreciate a restaurant that will take a risk on a specialty nacho, but we probably won’t order these again. Idaho Nachos or Irish Nachos are a great idea, but this particular plate just wasn’t inspired. Give us one more strong ingredient that compliments the cheese sauce rather than puts it front-and-center, and we’ll talk again.

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.

RF O’Sullivan’s: The Little Pub That Could…And Couldn’t

26 Sep

One of the drawbacks of running a blog that reviews nachos across Boston and around the globe is that, well, you have to eat nachos.  All the time.  No matter how famously outstanding the house specialty may be, if we see nachos on the menu, we feel compelled, nay, mandated to order them.  And as we learned very early on in our journey, it is unwise and often impossible to eat a main course after nachos.  So we are a bit remorseful about our first trip to RF O’Sullivans & Sons, because from our kitchen-side perch at the bar we could see all sorts of delicious burgers being fried up on the grill…while another cook microwaved a bowl of chili and poured it over tortilla chips from a bag to prepare nachos for someone else.  As we pored over the extensive, inventive burger menu, the words of Albus Dumbledore rang through our heads: “Soon, we will all have to make a choice between what is right, and what is easy.” And this time, we did what was right– we ordered the nachos and gave up any burger dreams, at least for that night.

  • Appearance: (5) Not exactly grim, but we knew that we weren’t in for the most varied nacho plate.  The only color variation came from the salsa and jalapenos in plastic cups on the side.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (6) The round chips were very salty.  The chili and cheese were decent; the salsa, from a jar. And…that’s about all.
  • Distribution of Toppings:  (5) We quickly condensed our thoughts about the distribution into this: too much of not enough going on.  That is, these were smothered in chili and cheese, but to a cloying point: chips were buried and sodden, and we would have loved to see a more open, lofty distribution, with more variety. The round chips were partly to blame for the packed nature of these nachos.
  • Price: (7) At approximately $9, these were…standard.  Though we didn’t get to try them, we will venture that your money is much better spent on a burger.
  • Overall: 23/40.  It feels, as of late, that we have moved from hunting down the best nachos in Boston to curating a list of restaurants to avoid/at least avoid the nachos.  At times, this can be wearying.  But then we come across a place like this; while the nachos may not be great, they are what brought us in the door, and introduced us to a lovely, friendly gem of a place and a lovely, friendly gem of a bartender whose in-depth knowledge of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s filmography helped us to clinch 3rd place in Stump Trivia and a free order of cheese fries. We don’t regret the nachos, or begrudge them their mediocrity– all’s well that ends well!