If you were to name a city in honor of someone named John Mason, you would think it would be called Masonville, Masonburg, Masontown, or something along those lines. However in New Hampshire they called it Portsmouth, because Mason had been the captain of the port of Portsmouth, England, in the county Hampshire, which is where the state got its name. It seems more likely that Mason was a bit of a dick and nobody really wanted to name the city after him so they made up an elaborate lie about how Portsmouth totally is based off of him, I swear. Anyhow, The Friendly Toast is a restaurant there, and that’s what we’re talking about today.
While I’m sure there are many places in Portsmouth where you can get food and nachos in particular, how many of them are named something great like “The Friendly Toast”? Only one, and that’s “The Friendly Toast”. The fact that it’s generally pretty busy no matter when you go by also seemed to speak to the quality of their food, so I took the dive on in. One order of nachos and one jalapeno infused tequila bloody mary coming up.
The meat topping options for their non-vegan nachos consisted of grilled chicken, taco beef, pulled pork, and something I had not seen before but now had to try, buffalo chicken tenders. Buffalo chicken on nachos is the greatest meat you can put on them, and buffalo chicken tenders are also great, so how could these two things not be amazing? Welp, turns out this is one of those situations where two great things don’t work quite as well when put together.
As a base, nachos are just a pile of chips, which are good yes, but they’re corny and heavy, and really just a delivery system to get toppings into you. Chicken tenders are also good, but they’re more bready and heavy than chickeny, and really just a delivery system to get dipping sauce into you. Combined they’re two starchy bases, and even with toppings it’s not enough to right that ratio. That these are buffalo tenders offsets this a little, but every bite feels very heavy.
Now, even with that, the nachos were pretty good, and I’m sure if I had gone with my other standard of pulled pork I would be singing their praises and have zero complaints. I’ve got to admire them for going out on a limb with a crazy new meat topping, but ultimately it’s more style over substance, which is unfortunate. I can really only blame myself for choosing the tenders, but I will take an ambitious failure any day over some just blando nachos that I’ve forgotten immediately after having eaten them.
I might not have cared for the nachos with the tenders, but I’ll definitely be trying them with the pulled pork the next time I’m there. I’ll also 100% be getting their jalapeno infused tequila bloody mary, the Hot Maria again. The jalapeno tequila plus house made bloody mix plus chipotle spiced rim is the drink for those of us who when a Mexican restaurant gives you that watery salsa wish they could drink it with tequila. While I doubt it is quite that simple to make, the fact that it tastes like I imagine that would is good enough for me. So for now you can drop tequila shots into bowls of salsa at your local Mexican restaurant, or go check out The Friendly Toast. Either works, but the latter sounds a little more civilized and delicious.