The Acme Corporation. We’ve seen their anvils crush cartoon characters for years, but they’re not a very menacing fake company. Weyland-Yutani, Yoyodyne, Omni Consumer Products, the Tyrell Corporation, Cyberdyne Systems, now those are much more ominous fake organizations. But then there is the Quadrangle Group, the Alpha Media Group, and Cerberus Capital Management. What if I told you that these three were real corporations? What if I told you that they produced Maxim Magazine, known as either “The Gentleman’s Playboy” or “Like Hustler, but it wouldn’t be weird to read it around your Grandmother”? What if I told you that in addition to having pictures of tasteful scantily clad women they occasionally wrote about nachos?
Observe the March 2011 issue. The first thing you may notice is the busty Michelle Trachtenberg, who you will only not feel like a creep looking at if you didn’t see her as a preteen in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but that’s you. Oh no, the first thing I noticed with my educated eye (Doctorate in Nachonomics, Miskatonic University, Class of 2006) was the article “The Quest for the Perfect Nacho”, for you see, I actually wanted to read it the magazine for the articles. This of course didn’t make me feel like any less of a creeper buying it, but the lady at the checkout thinking I was a pervert was worth the price of nacho knowledge.
On my first pass through the magazine I missed the article entirely. I figured that since the nacho quest was mentioned on the cover that it would have quite the noticeable spread, but not the case. There were dozens of pages of advertisements (bad), a few interesting articles such as “What’s stopping insects from taking over the world?” or “Nic Cage Crazy-o-Meter” (better), and plenty of scantily clad ladies (best), but I didn’t see a single nacho. After locating the table of contents, hidden between ads for gum on one page and a cell phone on the other, I finally found the correct page and turned from there to a “Journey into the cheesy heart of darkness”.
2 countries, 3 friends, 6 days, 11 towns, 2,200 miles, and 19,000 calories of nachos. In a nutshell, three gentlemen travel from Los Angeles to Austin on a nacho pilgrimage, their quest being to sample the finest nachos at some of the most iconic nacho establishments in North America. From the restaurant in LA where waitress Carmen Rocha (the patron saint of nachos) brought nachos to California for the first time, to the main drag of Las Vegas, to Ignacio Anaya’s first nacho restaurant in Mexico, to the hipster streets of Austin, a holier pilgrimage has not been trod since the middle ages. Channeling the spirits of Jack Kerouac and the guys from the film Road Trip, the article is a simple tale of men on the road eating nachos, but a simple tale that made me very jealous that as a man with a nacho website I have not yet done such a thing. While I had been to several of the towns they visited, I had not eaten at any of the restaurants they had. Shameful? Yeah, but the fact that the writing of such a travelogue could inspire me to both go on this same road trip and set my stomach a rumbling are serious props to author Jesse Will. This is a fellow Man of the Chip that I would tip my hat to if I met him on the road, and hopefully he would tip his right back at me.
There are some things with it I can’t give props to though. Firstly the two side bars; “What your chip says about you” and “Nacho Heroes!”. Both of these were so inane and off tonally from the rest of the article that I have to assume that Jesse didn’t write them and that they were the addition of some genius editor. You want to know what your chips say about you? Nothing, especially not their addition of “wood chips” to the regular ones. Their “Nacho Heroes!” include such figures as Kip from Napoleon Dynamite and Will Farrell in Step Brothers, but not Ignacio Anaya, the guy who invented the food. The other complaint is the article’s length, which was severely lacking. When I finished the third page of it and flipped to the next, I found not nachos waiting for me, but instead a spread of the lovely Diora Baird. While I would never disparage the lovely Diora, the hottest woman alive and better than nachos on all accounts, she unfortunately did not satisfy my need for more tales of this nacho trip.
So was the magazine worth my $4.99, plus tax, for three pages of nachos and some pictures of the sensual Diora Baird? Nope. If Maxim was the sort of magazine they had they had at the library I would have just sat down and read it on the spot, but libraries are classy places and don’t care for “Men’s Magazines”. If I had known that I could have read all of it I wanted in five minutes in the store I probably wouldn’t have bought it either. While the writing is excellent, this is really only worth picking up if you really love nachos, or Michelle Trachtenberg and are a creeper. I realize they need to make a third of the thing ads to pay to produce it, but the article could easily have been longer than three pages and still have plenty of room for pedaling male enhancement pills and legal steroids. You do that, put Diora on the cover instead of Michelle, and you’d have quite the issue. Alas, that doesn’t exist, but you can still purchase this one here and plan your very own nacho pilgrimage. If you do there’s a good chance you’ll see me on that same road...