We get it restaurants, in order to appear cool to the hipsterati you need to have a bunch of strange and out of the ordinary dishes to wow and amaze. And if you’re a said restaurant claiming to have southern influences as well you’ll also need to throw in something like pork rinds, because, thanks hipsters, why not. Of course the why not is because they’re gross and have a weird consistency that ranges from teeth shatteringly hard to soggy old skin when they get wet. Oh, and I especially wouldn’t get an order of nachos featuring them in the place of chips. That being said, I totally did and now want to save you from that horror.
While in Washington DC there are plenty of places where one can go to get nachos; The Smithsonian, The White House, The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial, and The Right Proper Brewing Company. I chose the latter because they had not only Pork Rind Nachos, which I had never seen before, but more importantly Cheerwine, a southern soda delicacy. Well I ordered the nachos, bad idea. I gazed into the abyss and it gazed back at me, puked onto a plate, and called it Pork Rind Nachos.
Now if you look at those toppings; pulled pork, roasted tomato sour cream, jalapeños, scallions, cheese sauce, all those things put on some chips would be delicious. However when you put them onto pork rinds instead you have a horrible mess. The first pork rind I bit into was rock tooth shatteringly hard. As it had been probably 20 years since I had a rind I wasn’t sure if that’s how they were supposed to be, but it’s the only time in all my years of nachonomics I’ve thought to myself “My god, if the rest of them are like this I don’t think I’m going to be able to finish them.” Let me tell you, if I’m not able to finish an order of nacho, I don’t even deserve to write a nacho review blog.
But I am a degreed professional in the field of nachonomics and steadied myself, checked my teeth, found that they were intact, and bit into the next rind, finding it much better than the last. Does this mean that I was served a nasty stale pork rind? Either that or pork rinds now feature a roulette of the teeth breaking variety. After the first bad rind the others were, um, good is too strong a work, so maybe acceptable? Edible, they were definitely edible, but then they underwent a horrible transformation. As the rinds absorbed the juices from the pork and other toppings they turned from a crunchy chip like things to the soggy, chewy, skin-like material from whence they came. When a chip gets soggy it definitely changes texture, but to something equally edible, not into something of a completely different different that reminds you of that time you had to eat the skin of your fellow sport team players when you crashed your plane in the mountains and had to do what you had to do to survive.
In Mexico tripe, snout, and tongue are all common toppings in street foods that most Americans would find unusual. Then there is the dish known as Tacos de Nana, which are tacos whose meat comes from the uterus of a pig, which is unusual even for Mexicans. As I was eating the Pork Rind Nachos I couldn’t help but think whether Nachos de Nana might be a thing, and a thing I might enjoy better than the nachos in front of me. It was a terrible experience all around and I can’t recommend it. Perhaps if you’re a hardcore fan of both pork rinds and nachos these will appeal to you, but if you’re a casual fan of either you want to steer clear as it’ll take a lot of Cheerwine to wash that taste from your mouth.