Tag Archives: Viva Mexico!

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??

Lone Star Taco Bar: When You Wish Upon A Nacho, pt. II: Dreams Really Do Come True Edition

11 Mar

Once upon a time, in a haze of beer and a few too many truffled gorgonzola fries, we waxed slightly poetic about our love for Deep Ellum, and our torrid fantasies about just how good their nachos might be.  And now, it seems our dreams have (somewhat) come true, as Deep Ellum has recently expanded and opened up the Lone Star Taco Barright next door, complete with nachos on the menu. Have our dreams come true??
Lone Star is indeed the South-of-the-Border sister of Deep Ellum, complete with the exceedingly dim lighting, delicious cocktails, and a bovine head on the wall (though stuffed, not skeletal). The “Victory Club Nachos” came with little descriptive text, but considering that they were $5, we waited in nervous anticipation for them to arrive. Would they live up to our fantasies, or would they be little more than cheese over chips? And then, at long last, they arrived:Image

  • Appearance: (4) Excuse me, waiter? There must be some mistake, you’ve brought me a salad!
  • Quality of Ingredients: (9) Upon closer investigation, the vegetable on top was not lettuce but sliced Napa cabbage, which was…better than expected.  With the Cotija cheese on top and some crema sauce underneath, it was almost edible on its own as a salad.  Underneath, we appreciated the thick housemade chips and pickled jalapenos. There were a few small dabs of guacamole, but we found them to be slightly funky and overripe tasting.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (7.5) There was a fair amount of cheese and the sour cream sauce added to the distribution, but the lid of cabbage cooled the cheese unusually fast, leaving it in thick slabs.  Still, just about every chip has something tasty on it.
  • Price: (10) For $5 these were an exceptionally filling snack for two.
  • Overall: 30.5/40.  If you make a trip to Lone Star, these nachos are definitely worth your time, cash, and stomach space.  Sometimes dreams really do come true…

Spoon in Lenox, MA: ‘Chos After Doze

19 Jul

Second only to (duh) nachos, breakfast/brunch is one of our most favorite food groups (as you may have guessed, we aren’t exactly strict adherents to the US FDA nutrition guidelines…).  We have long aspired to combine these two great loves into one mythical dish, the breakfast nachos (also possibly known as breakchos, brachos, nachfast, and/or fastchos). The Friendly Toast has something resembling breakfast nachos on their menu, which we have been eyeing for some time, but are always tempted away by other items on their delicious menu.

On vacation in Lenox, MA (Official Motto: Are you a rich middle aged woman? Then you’ll love it here!), we had practically given up hope on finding nachos amongst the bevy of overpriced Italian restaurants and wine bars.  Then serendipity struck at Spoon, a cute little breakfast/lunch/ice cream cafe in the heart of town.  Our bleary eyes widened in surprise and delight at the description of Chilaquiles on their menu: “Basically, nachos with eggs. Salsa verde, queso fresco, crema, jalapeno.” Nachos AND breakfast? Sign us up!

Aren’t those egg yolks just begging to be popped??

  • Appearance: (7) We found these to be much less colorful than the description. But it turned out that the salsa verde and crema had been combine into one.  +1 for excellent use of garnish.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (10) The chips were thick and hearty, almost like pita chips, and definitely homemade.  The crema/salsa verde combination was at once spicy, tangy, smooth and creamy– and the queso fresco added a nice salty kick.  The poached eggs were a little on the runny side (perhaps their only fault, and it can be a personal preference).  We loved the clearly house-made pickled jalapenos and carrots on the side– definitely a nacho patrol first!
  • Distribution of Toppings: (8) We could have used a little more of the chili/crema concoction, as it was sad to get a chip without.  Other than that, the distribution is up to the user: how early do you break the eggs?  A warning, once you do break the yolks you need to eat fast– runny egg soaks into a chip far faster than most nacho ingredients.
  • Price: (9) At $9, these were a hearty and original breakfast dish, something that is often hard to come by, especially in tourist traps such as this!
  • Overall: 34/40.  Other breakfast nachos, if you’re out there, take notice and get your game face on.  These were simple, fresh, authentic tasting, memorable nachos that we would re-eat in a heartbeat.  We wonder, will they ever be topped?