In the sleepy west of the woody east is a valley called the Pioneer, home of the largest public university in New England, the University of Massachusetts Amherst (it’s educational). It is also home to infamous radio station WXXT, a park with a bunch of fossilized dinosaur footprints along a riverbank, and The Quarters, which google tells me is the only “barcade” in central Massachusetts. The Quarters in turn is known for being the only place, possible in the world, where you can get Tetris Tater Tot Nachos.
Look at “Tetris Tater Tot Nachos”. You know all those words separately, sure, but together in that order to you they’re just a mish mash of nouns. Well allow me to introduce you to the magical world of Monarch Puzzle Potatoes, a proprietary potato snack available only from US Foods.
Now due to legal reasons I’m sure they couldn’t use the actual name of “Tetris” in their marketing, but I’m feel “Tetrominoes Tots” would have worked just as well, and it’s certainly a better choice than “Polyominoes Potatoes”, which was a good move on their parts. Monarch Puzzle Potatoes also only come in 3 (or 5 if you flip them) distinct pieces compared to Tetris’ 7, missing both the “I” and “O” piece, which may also assist in skirting the fine line between legal security and the expensive lawyers of Big Tetris. I’m sure like me whenever you played Tetris as a child looking at all those spinning pieces only one thing was on your hungry mind, what it would taste like to eat all those shapes. Prepare to have your question answered.
It only makes sense that a barcade like The Quarters would have video game based food, such as Tetris totchos, or any of their game based drinks: Power Flower, Golden Eye, Harvest Moon, Zangief’s Murderous Mule, Pac-Man Margaritas, Ocarina of Thyme, or Diddy Kong. Any of these would be perfect compliments for consumption while playing a little Simpsons, Gauntlet, X-Men, or Rampage, but we’re talking about nachos. How perfect are they really?
Under no circumstances can you go wrong with tots covered in cheese, bacon, jalapenos, scallions and chili, and The Quarters certainly does not disappoint there. I did miss out on the Pulled Pork topping, but I have to imagine that the taste would only get better with that as well. No, they do everything right with totchos, but the issue lies with totchos themselves, especially ones with themed tots.
The whole issue with totchos compared to nachos is that you really can’t pick them up as you would a chip as they are more of a fork deal, or you can use your fingers, I’m not going to judge. A tot gets soggier much faster than a chip, and the fact that it’s just a lot of tiny potato pieces smashed together certainly does nothing to increase their structural integrity. As scientists can undoubtedly show, a singular shaped tater tot piece, covered in heavy wet chili, is not going to stay that shape for very long. When the very novelty of the dish is those same shaped pieces, that wears off pretty quickly when it all turns from the screen of a favorite video game into just potato piece pile of tasty goodness. It still all tastes just as great, but loses a bit of the magic.
If you’re going to The Quarters just for the novelty of eating Tetris pieces you won’t regret it, but if you want a sweet instagram picture you better take it quick before they lose cohesion. If you are going for the video games, feel free to eat whatever you want, like some miniature hot dogs, or some fried brussel sprouts if you are some kind of maniac, because they have those too. Really, they have one of the more eclectic menus I’ve seen, so video games and totchos aside, you should check them out.