The most tasty thing in the world, I think, are nachos. I live on a placid island of gustatory ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that I should voyage far, because all I need to eat is those. The culinary sciences, each straining in their own direction, have hitherto harmed me little; but some day the piecing together of delicious knowledge will open up such terrifyingly scrumptious vistas of food that I shall either get fat from eating it all or flee from the deadly light of a food that might be better than nachos into the peace and safety of never eating again. It’s NachoProviCon 2017!
You know what that means folks, time for another co-mingling of Providence, Rhode Island’s bi-annual H. P. Lovecraft “NecronomiCon” convention and Nachonomics’ own bi-annual “NachoProviCon” nacho pilgrimage. In the past I had gone as a lone wolf, knowing nobody and talking to no one but the hideous hunger for nachos in my belly and could therefore afford to be a slob who went out of their way to eat nachos for every meal and in general stink up the place due to eating nothing but nachos for every meal. This year I went with friends, and rather than being a slavish beast and force them to eat nachos with me at every opportunity, I did the adult, friendly thing and actually hung out with them and ate real meals. Even a nacho man must grow up sometime…
Not grow up enough to not eat ANY nachos of course, let’s not go raving into gibbering madness. There were shrimp dinners, there were cuban sandwiches, there were jalapeno and cheddar stuffed pretzels, and yes, there were some nachos. These nachos in particular:
How much do you think it costs to add the following to nachos: Olives, Onions, Jalapenos, and Guacamole? If you said $6 you’d be right! Now I get that Guacamole is going to run you a bit extra, maybe even $1.50, the price it is here, but a buck fifty for onions? A buck fifty for jalapenos? A buck fifty for olives? Well I’d never put olives on an order of nachos so that’s not a big deal, but $1.50 for a few onion pieces or jalapenos? You can buy nigh on a pound of onions or jalapenos for $1.50. What’s really going on here? Is the chef all, “I don’t want to cry or burn my fingers cutting up onions and jalapenos!”? Can this be explained?
The above nachos cost $18. If I had wanted olives (and nobody ever should as they taste like an old ashtray) they would have run me $19.50. Here’s some hard truth, these are not $18 or $19.50 nachos. They’re $14, maybe $15 tops, and stop acting like you can charge Big City prices for food Providence, you’re not a real city. Charge for meat, sure. Charge for guac, sure. But when you start charging for onions/olives/jalapenos, there’s something wrong with your business model. What’s next with these people, charging for cheese! If these were the absolute greatest nachos I had ever eaten in my life, I’d give them a little slack for the $18, but these were just your general “fine” nachos, nothing that’s going to blow me away.
What especially didn’t blow me away was the pool of… something… the nachos were sitting in that I found once I got down to the bottom of the platter. The good news was that it wasn’t oil or grease, as is the case with some nachos I’ve had, but that means it was a pool of... water? My only guess is that perhaps the tomatoes or beans were in some container with liquid and when put on the nachos they were done so without a slotted spoon so as to pull the mystery fluid as well. If it’s not any of those though, I have no idea what it might be. I do know that they should have not poured them all over my nachos as they quickly reduced the chips to a soggy mess and made the rest of the toppings a pile of goop, as you can see here.
Was it delicious goop? You know it. Was it also sickening to look at? You also know that. Was it worth $18? No. Fortunately there were other nachos in the greater Providence area that would cost much less, and the leftovers of wouldn’t make you sick to look at.
BABA'S ORIGINAL NEW YORK SYSTEM
Rhode Island is apparently known not only for its coffee milk, but also for its legendary “New York System” Hot Dogs. What exactly is the “New York System”? I’ll let Wikipedia explain:
“The traditional wiener is made with a small, thin hot dog made of veal and pork, giving it a different taste from a traditional beef hot dog, served in a steamed bun, and topped with celery salt, yellow mustard, chopped onions, and a seasoned meat sauce (the spices vary by vendor but commonly include cumin, paprika, chili powder, and allspice). A preparation including all of the above is often ordered by true Rhode Island patrons as ‘All The Way.’”
Now I’m never one to turn down a local food delicacy, especially when told by they proprietor that they don’t put the hot dog buns all up their sweaty hairy arms when making them, so I was not going to say no when deciding to go there. What made me say “Yes, YES, YES!” though was when I saw that not only did they have nachos, but they had a NACHO BAR.
To a degree it is somewhat unfair to rate a nacho bar, since you could make a nacho with all your favorite ingredients and it would be the best, or you could pick all the worst ones and make it the worst. I don’t know why one would do the latter, that seems like a serious waste of money, but you know that I did the former and made a delicious melange of nachotude with so many ingredients that the guy making them said, “Oh, you’re in for a treat boss.” The treat was of course that these were pretty damn tasty, especially with the pulled pork + chorizo meat mix and the combined power of both melted cheese and nacho cheese. Are these just glorified stadium nachos? Perhaps, but when you can make them any which way you want with almost any nacho topping you can think of, they’re YOUR glorified stadium nachos.
When I last attended NACHOPROVICON 2015 I was complaining about being an old, 30 something year old, old, old man and not able to eat nachos for every meal. I hypothesized that I would train day and night to be a walking nacho eating machine for this year, and low and behold that was not the case. Partially because now after three visits to downtown Providence for NachoProviCons, and then a few other just general visits, I think I have sampled all the easy to get to and common nachos, and partially because I forgot about training night and day to be a walking eating machine until rereading last visit’s posts now. Excuses? Perhaps. Weak Sauce? Maybe. Super lame? Eehhh… Time to turn in the nacho crown old man and hand it over to a younger generation of nacho lover? I suppose only time will tell. At least I didn’t need to get wheeled around…
Anyhow; Lovecraft, Cthulhu, Shoggoth, Nachos, Nyarlathotep, Ignacio Anaya, Yog-Sothoth, Cheese, Jalapenos, Azathoth. You know the drill. Until next time, please enjoy this picture of yours truly and my cohost of The Horror of Nachos and Hamantaschen podcast, J.R. Hamantaschen at Lovecraft’s grave on what would have been his 127th birthday. You can’t see it but right outside of frame is a security guard to make sure a certain author of weird horror didn’t come and pee on it. Ain’t America crazy folks!