Tag Archives: Washington DC

Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC: The Nacho Speaks of Rivers of Cheese Sauce

9 Aug

Next up in our summer series, “Nachos From Exotic Locales To Make Up For Rarely Posting,” is the lovely Washington DC!  We’ve reviewed here before way back in 2009, and arrived for this visit hungry for more museums, monuments, nachos, and above all, functioning air conditioning.  We found the latter two at Busboys & Poets, a bar/restaurant/bookstore/meeting place/social justice center (?) named in honor of Langston Hughes.  The “social justice center” part had us slightly concerned about the tempeh-to-cheese ratio, but what we found caught us completely by surprise:

  • Appearance:  (5) A toupee of shredded romaine alongside a vat of orange cheese=NOT what we were expecting!  With their green-and-gold color scheme, these could easily be the official nachos of the Green Bay Packers. Congealed cheese and a hint of tomato were the only signs of life from beneath.
  • Quality of Ingredients: (7) In deference to our vegetarian host Natalie we skipped the beef chili and got these with only the the roasted corn and black beans, which we very much enjoyed.  The chips were homemade but slightly stale and not salty enough.  The guacamole was fresh and citrusy and we appreciated the fresh jalapenos, which have proven to be exceedingly rare on nachos. And while we never like lettuce on nachos, we must acknowledge that it was fresh and romaine.  The real cheese was slightly burnt, and we were divided on the cheese sauce (surprise!)– some found it too cheap and generic-tasting for these nachos, while others found it a pleasant addition.
  • Distribution of Toppings: (5) There was not nearly enough salsa and cheese, so the cheese sauce did come in handy for some extra oomph.  We would be interested to try these with chili…though with all the other toppings, it was not too badly missed.
  • Price: (9) At $8, these were not at all the tourist trap we were expecting!  Finished handily by three.
  • Overall: 26/40.  You’d never guess that these nachos came from “a haven for writers, thinkers and performers from America’s progressive social and political movements”.  They seemed so…normal. That couldn’t be!  Perhaps the juxtaposition of the two cheese forms represented the immigrant struggle between assimilation and traditional culture? Was the oppressive lid of romaine a symbol of white male patriarchal domination?  And what does the heat of the jalapenos have to say about pacifism? We pondered until our ponderers were tired, or until it was time to catch our flight. Perhaps there is no subtext, no meaning, just a plate of mid-level nachos.

J. Paul’s in Washington, D.C.: Monumental Nachos

15 May

When a Nacho Patroller takes a vacation, she always make sure to sample the local nacho fare. A recent weekend jaunt to Washington, D.C. was no exception, taking one of us to J. Paul’s in Georgetown. Between various Smithsonians, running into Owen Wilson (!) on the street, a perfect day at Six Flags and copious Yuengling,  it had been quite an exciting, eventful trip, and the nachos continued in that fashion.

  • Appearance:  (7) Bright and colorful, with loads of salsa, sour cream and guacamole on the top.  However, the appearance of lettuce underneath these, and a lack of cheesy/chili-riffic goodness oozing out from the edges cut down on the animal attraction.
  • Quality of Ingredients:  (8) Oh, the chili! It was delightfully chunky, a bit on the spicy side, and studded with kidney beans and some of the largest, juiciest, tastiest chunks of meat that we have ever come across (in nachos, that is…). The chips were homemade but a bit on the stale side, unfortunately.  Delightful guacamole, and a salsa with a very strong chipotle flavor were excellent accoutrements.  Even the (uneccessary) lettuce on the top, which we unanimously abhor, was better than average– thick spears of a very crunchy, dark iceberg.
  • Distribution of Toppings:  (7) The vegetarians in the group had very little luck trying to find a chip that hadn’t touched the chili, a sign of thorough distribution.  However, because of it’s thickness, the lettuce on top created a mat that separated the condiments on the top from the majority of the nachos underneath.  We had to remove a significant amount of lettuce to get to the chips at the middle of the plate.
  • Price: (7) For $10, a delicious meal for two.
  • Overall: 30.  A memorable nacho, but mostly for the chili.  Next time, we’d just get a bowl of it to go with the free hot pretzels.