Providence “The Beehive of Industry” Rhode Island is a city I have ventured to many a time in search of the finest nachos they have to offer, though almost exclusively under the guise of NACHOPROVICON, which in turn is a way to combine some work and pleasure while attending NECRONOMICON. It’s not every year that we can celebrate the holiday of NACHOPROVICON, because it’s not a holiday, and it doesn’t occur every year. Now, while this was not an officially sanctioned NACHOPROVICON, any time one goes to Providence with the purpose of sampling some nachos while indulging in some sort of H.P. Lovecraft event, they can become possessed by the spirit of NACHOPROVICON, which is almost as good. So on this, the 79th anniversary of HPL’s death, let’s take a little trip down to Providence.
Those familiar with the Narragansett Brewing Company (Quint of Jaws’ favorite beer) may be aware that it is a RI based brewery, but what they might not know is that it was founded in 1890, the same year that HPL was born. In honor of his/their 125th birthday they began releasing a special line of Lovecraftian beers, most recently the “I Am Providence” Imperial Red Ale which of course requires the requisite release party at some local Providence hotspot. The location this time, Rogue Island Local Kitchen and Bar, did one better, a Lovecraft menu. How could I not go?
The evening started fine, got some ‘Gansett merch and visited the Lovecraftian Arts & Sciences headquarters, but the trouble began when it came to the procurement of the nachos themselves. Rogue Island was packed, which was to be expected considering there was a release party there, but one would hope that there might have been someone there directing the madness. Nope! I couldn’t tell you if it’s a “seat yourself” restaurant or a “wait to be seated one”, and neither could the waitresses/hostesses I tried to talk to while waiting who were doing their best to ignore everyone standing around with no idea what was going on. After 20 or so minutes of that I eventually just sat at the bar and ordered the nachos there, as they are meant to be eaten, shoulder to shoulder with total strangers. They did thankfully arrive incredibly fast, which was a relief considering how long I had to wait previously, and man did they look good. But as Daniel Upton could tell you about the marriage of Edward Derby and Asenath Waite, things are not always as they seem...
You know how when you’re sick and all your food tastes muted and funny, like all your tastebuds are phoning it in? That’s what these taste like, only I was feeling as strong and healthy as an ox. Perhaps the ingredients locally sourced from Nahum Gardner’s farm, explaining the great disparity between looks and taste, but I know not. The chips were also a little funky, not quite wontonesque (which in some nachos are delicious) but almost as though someone was halfheartedly trying to make some, but only had the ingredients to make chips when they did. Not impressed.
HPL was famous for how cheap he was able to eat, quote, “I have financial economy in eating worked out to a fine art, and know the self-service lunch rooms where I can get the best bargains. I never spend more than $3.00 per week on food, and often not even nearly that.” Excellent on the pocketbook, but probably did not help curb his intestinal cancer one bit. While I would have liked to have tried the “I am Providence Burger” I took a page from him and balked at the nineteen dollar price tag. I don’t go to Providence to pay Boston prices for burgers, no matter how good it sounds, so alas, no delicious sounding burger for me. When it came to the nachos though I will tell you the same thing I told the lady who was sitting next to me at the bar and asked how they were. “Meh.”