in search of nacho excellence

Monthly Archives: March 2014

Criteria

The Quest (Introducing a Nacho Criteria)

I have been to many places in Calgary to find the perfect Nachos and upon viewing my reviews I realized they lacked a proper rubric. So upon collaborating with some of my Nacho reviewing partners in crime I devised a new rubric so you can see a detailed description and score for how Nachos have measured up.

Every review from March 19th and on will feature the following categories and rating scale…

Nachos: Here I will rate the chips taste, quality, crunch factor and place of origin (Are they made in house or in a Tostitos factory?)

/2

Toppings: Here I will rate the toppings and their freshness, taste, and quantity.

/2

Cheese: Upon reflecting on my older reviews I realized that cheese should have it’s own category because after receiving feedback from my fans I realize that this is the most important part of Nacho dish. This will be rated on the taste, quantity, incorporate sad and dry Nachos, as well as the type of cheese.

/3

Presentation: Even though Nachos are about taste primarily I believe that if you are going to pay for dinner you should get a show! Presentation is marked on the accessibility of the Nachos, the overall look, and also takes the dips into account. Are they in bowls? Plastic cups? Or in the Tortilla chip bowls? All of these factors will affect if the Nachos are worthy of your viewing pleasure.

/1

$Price$: Also very important is the price point for the Nachos. We live in a city that has many options. How steep can a restaurant charge for a plate of Nachos? Why would I want to pay $20 for a plate of Nachos? Is it worth it? What is the scale of deliciousness that you get for your dollar? I’m here to help you find the best Nachos in Calgary, hopefully without your wallet feeling violated during the aftermath of your Nacho experience.

/2

Total:   

/10

Well there you have it! The new rating scale! Now you will have further detail on what to expect when ordering Nachos from a place I have reviewed. Hope this is a significant improvement from what you’ve seen on nachojoe.com. Leave me a comment on what you think and as always happy Nacho eating!

Nacho Joe 😛

Last Defence Lounge (The Grad Lounge)

5.5-Nacho-Joe-RatingThe Quest

Graduating is an amazing feeling. You’ve accomplished so much with your peers and colleagues. So one will obviously wonder, “where can I go get a beer and some Nachos to celebrate?” Well UofC students tend to head to the Den, Black Lounge or the Last Defence Lounge, located on the 3rd floor of MacEwan Student Centre at the University of Calgary. Where there’s good beer, there should also be good nachos. So my Nacho reviewing partners Oreagano and Ivy Monroe decided to check them out! How did they match up? Find out below!

 

Nachos.

The Nachos at LDL were crispy, crunchy and thin. They were also house made and tri colored which was nice to see because some places don’t think about the colour aspect. The chips weren’t overly salty but they didn’t really add much flavour to the Nachos. Overall decent chips.

1.5/2

Toppings

These Nachos should have been called “Mount toppings!” There were tons of fresh toppings on these Nachos. There was lots of variety thankfully with fresh tomatoes, olives, green onions, and jalapeño’s. Take a look!

IMG_2941

 

While the fresh toppings were delicious, sometimes cooking the jalapeños can bring out more flavour. Finally the last quibble I have is regarding  the salsa and sour cream. They were served in regular bowls and the while the sour cream was passable, the salsa was clearly store bought out of a jar. It had a bit of a kick to it but still tasted like something I bought from the “Mexican” aisle in Safeway. Can you say old el paso? Old el pas-NO.

1.5/2

Cheese

Unfortunately this is where things fall apart… or rather stay together… maybe even forever. The cheese was a blend of cheddar and MOZZARELLA… Now I’m not here to diss mozzarella. I adore mozzarella. I’m a good italian boy who eats his mozzarella. However I believe that mozzarella should be reserved for pizza and other dishes that need the stringiness of all holy cheeses. More importantly… Mozzarella can have a glue effect if not served super hot. And sadly these Nachos were not served super hot. So when it came to picking up a Nacho, it was certainly a challenge! We had to savour our Nachos in order to fully enjoy them because we could never grab hold of a big piece or full chip without it cracking or prying it from the pile with two hands. The video below shows our struggle.

We found most of the cheese at the bottom of the Nachos. This was sad. As much as we like eating cheese, we prefer it on the Nachos not on the wax paper.

IMG_2947On the note of savouring the cheese, some of the chips were only covered with mozzarella and some were only covered with cheddar. Inconsistent cheese placement is one of my pet peeves.

1/3

Presentation

Superficially, these Nachos  looked good! I had fun photographing them. If I was basing them off looks alone I would give them a 10! The wax paper (although holding much of the cheese on top of it at the end) was fancy and it’s ink didn’t bleed onto the cheese (A problem I’ve seen before)so we could peel the cheese off at the end.

IMG_2939Overall a full mark for presentation goes to these Nachos.

1/1

$Price$

These nachos run at a rather steep price of $13.95. Downstairs in MacEwan Student Centre you can go to the Den for 5 cents more and get far more Nachos (Served in a big old basket), the same toppings, and more cheese (They also don;t have mozzarella on them). So this price is not fair because these Nachos only fed myself and Ivy Monroe with oreagano taking the occasional chip. Comparatively at the same price, I’ve had many other Nachos can easily feed four people.

0.5/2

Summary

I give LDL’s Nachos a 5.5/10. 

IMG_2948

 

Overall LDL’s Nachos get a passing grade but I wasn’t blown away. Ivy Monroe still thinks I’m being generous with my final score but they certainly aren’t the worst Nachos. If I could advise LDL I would suggest that they replace the mozzarella with Jack or White cheddar cheese and perhaps make their own salsa in house. These Nachos would be a fantastic deal at perhaps $10-$12 price points. Otherwise there needs to be much more Nachos and toppings. 

 

 

What did you think of the review? Where should I go next? Leave me a comment below or tweet me @nachojoereviews

Happy Nacho eating!

 

The Keg

NachoJoe rates Montana's Cookhouse 8/10

NachoJoe rates The Keg 8/10

 

The Quest

I told the world I’d be back and I AM BACK. Calgary, you deserve to know where the best Nachos are in the city. I’ve matured over the years and realized that I’m a tad too lenient. Well no more fluffy Nacho reviews! This is serious business. I decided that I needed extra help with my valiant return. So I brought my sidekicks Pastayoyo, Big Mama, and Riceroni with me to eat some Nachos from The Keg at 320 4 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 2S6. Oddly enough if you look at their menu these Nachos are invisible! They are on the bar menu only! But thankfully you CAN order these Nachos when you are out with the family or chums for steak. Here’s how The Keg’s nachos held up.

Nachos.

The chips were thin and crispy with vibrant red and yellow color to them. I asked our server if the Nachos were house made and he said they were cut and fried there so that’s nice to know! You aren’t getting Costco chips, or Tostitos from superstore at The Keg! The chips were crunchy, even the ones covered by lots of cheese. I can’t say there was a soggy one on the plate that we had. Very impressed by these thin lil chips.

Toppings

These toppings were fresh! They were great. We really enjoyed them. Unfortunately, fresh is very different then numerous. Having eaten many Nachos in my day I’ve seen much more toppings then this even for the price point. If the toppings are delicious, use them to your advantage! More toppings may have even made up for some minor cheese issues…

Keg Nachos Toppings

 

Regarding the cheese… There were quite a few sad and dry Nachos. Sad cause they didn’t have toppings, dry because there was a lack of cheese. I like the crown of sour cream these Nachos wear. However all of the sauces were store bought and not house made which made me sad because I can go to the store and buy Regardless they only lost one point because the Nachos tasted great and had a good homemade feeling.

$Price$

The price point for these Nachos was unreal. I was floored that a place like The Keg is only charging $12.00 for their Nachos. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the portion size, but for 12 bucks I thought it was decent! Usually guacamole is an extra charge but not here! Very pleased with the bang for your buck. Even a poor student like myself can afford these Nachos.

Presentation

These Nachos were presented nicely! They didn’t come with any wax paper underneath, however I’ve realized that sometimes wax paper isn’t a positive. It was nice to be able to take our forks and scoop up the fallen cheese on the plate. Also it’s wonderful to have dips in tortilla bowls and the bowls tasted just like the chips. So we ate everything.

The Keg Toppings

 

EVERYTHING. We ate it all. Except 2 olives and cheese.

photo 4

 

Summary

Overall The Keg provides a decent Nacho experience. Some dry and sad Nachos brought down their score from a 10 and I really would like a tad more toppings. I wasn’t blown away by these Nachos but I was definitely satisfied.

The Keg receives an 8/10.

Tell me where to go next! Comment below or send me a tweet @nachojoereviews

Happy Nacho eating!