Tag Archives: vacation

Playa Azul in San Francisco, CA: Wish They All Could Be California Cho’s…

28 May

Big news in Nacho Patrol land!

  1. Founding Patroller SmAsh recently got hitched to a lovely gentleman, who among many other wonderful qualities, was fully behind them serving a Mexican buffet at their wedding. This led to:
  2. The first reunion of the entire founding Nacho Patrollers in several years, in:
  3. California, our 11th state to nacho review in!

Seeing as we were in one of the most famous seafood cities in the world, San Francisco, we went in search of something that has long intrigued us: seafood nachos.  We found them at Playa Azul, a lovely, inexpensive Mexican joint on Mission Street.  We highly recommend this place if you are looking for fresh Mexican seafood, but must warn anyone with a fear of mariachi bands to stay far away. The “Nachos Playa Azul”, which you can order by the half-dozen or dozen (a first), come with beans, cheese, crab ceviche, shrimp, sour cream and avocado.

  • Appearance: (9) Now those are some loaded chips!  Each one resembled a miniature pizza slice, with a layer of melted cheese and the toppings piled high. The pink shrimp, gooey melted cheese, and verdant salad/avocado center presented a stunning sight.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (10) The seafood was the main feature here, and it was excellent.  The shrimp were well cooked and the crab ceviche was delicious. We, who hate lettuce on nachos, even loved the greens in the middle, which were a combination of arugula and spinach and very lightly dressed.
  • Distribution of Toppings:  (9) While one could not complain about naked chips here, we did wish that the avocado had already been stacked on the chips, instead of in the center where we had to apply it ourselves.
  • Price: (8) At $17.49 for a dozen (that’s $1.46 per chip for those of you playing along at home), these are a  worthwhile splurge.
  • Overall: 36/40.  These are some of the best, most interesting specialty nachos we’ve ever had.  Between this and the amazing nachos at Peso’s Kitchen in Seattle, we have to wonder– are we on the wrong coast??

The Asheville Brewing Company

26 Oct

Today’s nacho review takes us far, far away from the cold, Bud Light-drenched land of Boston to the warm, welcoming bosom of Western North Carolina.  There, the beers are locally brewed (and cheap!), the hippies run wild, and it’s still out-door dining weather. We found all three of these things in our recent trip to Asheville at the Asheville Brewing Company, a converted bus station turned brewpub/movie theater.  The covered outdoor patio resembled a less dodgy and much better ventilated version of Our House West, with a rack of board games (including a giant custom-made Jenga set) and a corn hole game. Were the nachos too a step up?  Here, we were confronted with two options: one nacho plate with corn tortilla chips (Nacho Mama), and one with flour (Nacho Daddy).  We went with the flour chip offering with chicken, in hopes it would be the most original.

  • Appearance: (7) Did we order pizza?  These nachos blew Uno’s out of the water in the “Flattest Nacho” competition; and the finely-chopped toppings did nothing to dispel their pizza-like image.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (6) The chips were bizarre, like nothing we’d ever tasted on nachos but at the same time familiar.  It took a few bites but we narrowed it down– they tasted exactly like the wrappers on crab rangoon. Interesting, but a bit too heavy after a few bites.  The chicken was in tiny pieces and rather dry; black beans and some veggies were a nice touch. The salsa was pretty tasty, too bad it was on the side in a tiny container!
  • Distribution of Toppings: (7) It’s hard to mess up distribution when your nachos are at max two chips deep.  However, these still could have used a little more viscous ingredients.
  • Price: (7) At $7.50, great for Boston, just OK for the boondocks.
  • Overall:  28/40.  While tasty, these nachos suffered a bit of an identity crisis.  Pizza? Chinese food? Or ‘chos? Until they make up their mind, unless you are really jonesing for some nachos you are better off looking elsewhere on the menu.