Nacho/Notcho artwork

Just got tweeted the following by Sam Gray (twitter handle: @samsbit so follow him). The Nacho Times is not particularly good at web-based design (as you can probably see from the current, y’know, design) but in the meantime, LOOK AT THEM:

Aren’t they utterly stonking?

The Notchoists

If you’ve been following The Nacho Times, or have just stumbled across the site (hi new friend! Perhaps you’re the guy directed here after typing “gwyneth paltrow boobs” into google? If so, let’s chat about this at a later date) you’ll know that Notchos are a form of non-chos masquerading as chos. We’ve all been there. “Hey, come round for nachos” our friends exclaim, before setting out a plate of tortilla chips and houmous. No friends. No. It’s a charming dish, but cannot be placed in the same category.

Additionally, you will have come across the term Nachoist- those who appreciate a good cho. There are those, sadly, who do not. Today, Olive Wakefield from Olive On A Plain declared (actual quote) “All you need to make nachos is doritos and spray cheese.” This shook The Nacho Times to the core. It undid all the good work purveyed in the last four months. I didn’t know myself anymore. I had to go and stand on the balcony and drink a bit of diet coke.

There are people who believe anything involving a crisp, some dip and a sprinkling of cheese can be known as nachos. It’s a misconception that often goes unchallenged, and be remedied by a link to this blog, or other sources of cho information, and a  slap. After a polite request for an embrace  as you cry uncontrollably into their shoulder, muttering “have you never tried actual nachos?” and “but spray cheese is rank” and “there isn’t a God”.

As The Nacho Times has found, even the poorest chos served in franchises such as O’Neills are aware of what constitutes a Notcho. They may have used ketchup instead of salsa, but the jalapenos were present, if humiliated by a lack of valid relish. Wetherspoons, as I have said time and again, do great chos despite being best known for serving such British dishes as Roast Dinner and Really Mild Korma That Tastes Like Roast Dinner.

By all means enjoy some crudité and houmous action, but don’t kid yourself you’re sampling Mexican cuisine. If you’re eating a packet of Cool Original Doritos while making a cheese sandwich and a bit of cheese falls into the packet, have you automatically got nachos? Er, no. You’ve probably got dyspraxia, or at the very least, incredibly poor hand-eye coordination.

Don’t be a Notchoist. If you are, or you know someone who is, take yourself/them to any of the fine establishments reviewed on this site and open your/their mouth(s) to a world infinitely better than spray cheese and doritos.

Other brands of tortilla chip are available.

The Nacho Times Nachos (Attempt #1)

There’s only so long you can critique the chos of others before you realise you should probably have a go yourself and so The Nacho Times presents: Nacho Times Nachos Attempt #1. No, they didn’t turn out perfectly. Which is a bit awkward.

It did, however, involve layering of both sauce and cheese.

Layer one is as follows:

The finish product is as follows:

I think you’ll agree they look banging. Ideal distribution on each of the three (yes three) layers was achieved by dotting the relish across the cho plain. Cheese and jalapenos were then added before introducing the next layer. Did I microwave it? Obviously not. No, I put it in the oven. Which was the fatal error.

Baking nachos meant the consistency of the chos turned to water. Soggy flaccid chos like bits of paper submerged in a salsa pond. A spond. The chips used were Doritos Chili Heatwave and they responded more like Doritos Wet Wimpy Bastards. Or rather, Glooped Chos.

Because of this, forks had to be employed which is a clear breach of Nacho Law. They’re made to be finger food so if you have to crack out the cutlery, tell those chos to Fork Right Off (pun). The lesson of the day was: to avoid Glooped Chos, bake each layer separately. Time consuming but worth it in the end.

The clear winner of the evening was the guacamole. Recipe to follow. Finally The Nacho Times has discovered the perfect way to make this avocadoey dip, without it having the appearance of boiled vomit.

So at least some good came of it.

Ultimate London Nacho: The Beehive

Place: The Beehive, Vauxhall

As Sophocles once said: “There’s nothing more satisfying than nachos and bees.”

Sadly, The Beehive chos priced at £4.50 and sampled by Nachoist Katy from Londonfood4afiver appear, at first glance, more wasplike (wasps are bald. See, the analogy works)

  Just look at the cheese adhesive and inevitable mass clumping. Oh Beehive, why don’t you stick to what you do best? Which is… layering apparently. Oh hello curveball.

For the first time in Ultimate London Nacho history, we’ve hit upon the goldmine of the tex mex world. Yes, The Beehive layer their cheese throughout their chos. Oh stop I’ve come over all emotional. I’m crying. I’M CRYING ALL OVER THE BEES.

Quote from Katy: “The cheese layering was exquisite. Everytime I thought there was no more cheese, more appeared…”

Unfortunately the guac tasted like toothpaste which proves maybe you can’t have it all. Everytime a chef gets it right, they balance it out with something incredibly wrong. Like Colgate. The rule of thumb is, if you add mint to guacamole, it becomes GuacaNO. And it’s just a bit weird, really.

One day… one day…

Ultimate London Nacho? Sadly not due to bizarre mint guac, but the layering definitely brings it up to a commendable level: 3.5/5

Filo Pastry Nachos

The Bridge House in Little Venice, renowned for it’s by-the-river quaintness, charming upstairs theatre, and clientele with a tendency to wear marmots as scarves and discuss Pont Neuf, has altered its chos. And not for the better. In fact I’d go as far as saying this is definitely, in light of their previous review, a case of Devolved Chos.

They were not strong contenders for The Ultimate London Nacho before but they were, however, quite normal. The current situation is reminiscent of The Thing (popular 80s horror classic featuring Kurt Russell) where the alien emulates whatever it wobbles it’s tentacles at, but badly.

These nachos have apparently wobbled their tentacles at a Greggs Bakery. Why? The chos were not corn chips. Nor were they fried tortilla. No, they have taken Ponce to a whole new, northern bakery chain level. Who the hell wants nachos made from filo pastry? And not only that, they are shrivelled and curled like something out of a Tim Burton movie (not Jonny Depp. He isn’t wizened. But that’s for another time/blog) while simultaneously being absurdly massive.

Look at them. No, actually look. Then have a sit down. If faced with these bad boys in the Antarctic, Kurt Russell would no doubt have run away and perhaps had an accident in his snow trousers. Some of these chos were the size of my hand, adding to the “I’m eating a pasty but it’s not a pasty”  feeling. And yes, I have massive hands.  The salsa was also  sickly sweet, counteracting the utter pointlessness of the guac and the cheese had been bizarrely brushed onto these mini extra terrestrial pasties instead of spread, leaving a layer of cheese slime. Never experienced this before, although as you can see from the picture I did eat them all. This was mainly down to curiosity and disbelief and acute hunger. 

Would have preferred to have eaten a tentacle.

Ultimate London Nacho: Desperados

Place: Desperados, Islington

You know it’s going to be good when you’re drinking a cocktail called The Cactus Banger and there’s a boot stuck on the wall.

Desperados looks someone blew up a sombrero and thought they’d accessorise with a few tables. It’s great. There’s a massive wagon wheel outside and everything. The chos were £3.99 which are the cheapest yet, and you know what? There was not one bald cho. Not even a small one with a receding hairline. 

They used a Spreading Technique which was a surprisingly intelligent move for a place where waiters didn’t understand the phrase “do you mind if I have my main meal without Chorizo?” For those not au fait with the Spreading Technique, it involved the chos being spread on a flat plate as opposed to piled high in a bowl. Which looks impressive, but tastes like Bald.

Clumping? Does a sombrero shit on the pope? No. There was no clumping or cheese adhesive as it hadn’t been microwaved and the guac was staggering. Chunky like the thighs of an oiled Chippendale dancer (dated reference) and contributing to what was a perfect ratio of soured cream to salsa to guac to penos. It’s difficult coming up with affectionate nicknames for Jalapenos that aren’t reminiscent of male genitalia. 

The one complaint I had was perhaps there was too much relish. I know, it’s like picking holes in God here, but knives and forks were necessary. Surely the point of nachos is that it’s a hands-on situation. 

Aside from this small gripe, the whole nacho experience was brilliant. Dimly lit utterly mental and tacky environment, beautifully executed chos, and wall mounted footwear. Nacho Times recommends this highly.

Ultimate London Nacho? Restored my faith in London Nachos. Those chos were the strongest contender for Ultimate London Nacho yet. 4.5/5 

Salsa substitutions

While candid chos are often the way forward when sat alone with nothing to do but assemble ingredients on a plate, said ingredients can be hard to come by.

You’ve got the chos. You’ve got cheese. You’ve got sour cream. You’ve even got guac. Unfortunately, you’ve dropped the salsa out the window in a fit of rage. And it’s a Sunday so you can’t even pop out and grab some (this is a very specific scenario, but it has happened to someone somewhere)

Luckily, here is a handy guide to how to substitute salsa. Get prepared to go utterly mental.

  • Pasta sauce You know, like Dolmio or that one with the monochromatic man wearing a bowler hat (other brands, and headgear, are available) If you’ve got some chilli spice, add that for a bit of a mouth party or alternatively go naked. And then use the pasta sauce without any flavouring.
  • Ketchup I disagree with this, but it’s been brought to my attention that some lunatics don’t mind this. Approach with caution.
  • Homemade salsa Very simple to make provided you have cans of chopped tomatoes. Mainly because the recipe consists of a can of chopped tomato.
  • Actual chopped tomato But not in a can. Two free, liberated tomatoes chopped using whichever knife you deem fit.
  • Baked beans It sounds offensive, but it actually works. Think refried beans but not refried. 
  • A bit of astroturf Just checking you’re attention span.
Alternatively, sign up to anger management classes and/or keep all windows permanently closed. 

Nacho Glossary

Yes, it was a long time coming.

There’s only so long one can bandy about such terms as “golden triangles” and “bald chos” before things need to be explained. Hopefully this won’t get out of control and become a recognised dialect requiring a 300 page phrasebook but you never know. Check out the all new Nacho Times Nacho Glossary if you start feeling linguistically out of your depth.

And, of course, if there are any terms that have been missed off the list, alert me immediately. 

Layering Cheese on Nachos

It’s a much talked about topic in the fact that nobody talks about it. But I think they should.

Yes, that’s right. The distribution of cheese on Nachos. As the wonderful Joe from London Food 4 A Fiver once said: “I’ve layered the cheese throughout so there won’t be any hairless nachos”

He said this after making some great candid chos. Unfortunately, the picture is unavailable.

Presumably he meant Bald Chos, but regardless of this terminology issue, he had unknowingly hit on a cho goldmine.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the world: layer your cheese. Not only does it eradicate the weird wasteland effect you often get when working through your triangle mountain, but it keeps things interesting. There’s nothing better than being surprised by your own food. Couple this with relish distribution, and you’re away. By relish distribution, I refer to the act of blobbing bits of relish all over the dish, as opposed to three separate large blobs. It’s a technical art.

While we’re on this note, the Ultimate London Nacho (or possibly Ultimate Global Nacho) would also involve layering of relish too. Joe only went for layered cheese, but just think what could have been achieved if he’d gone that extra mile.

Unfortunately he microwaved the crap out the chos, resulting in cheese adhesive but you can’t have everything.

How To Make Tortilla Chips (Ish)

Attempted to get “creative” and make tortilla chips out of wheatflour tortillas. Yes I’m playing fast and loose with the term “creative” and indeed “make” but, either way, here’s the recipe:

  • Buy round tortillas (Old El Paso were used here, but other brands are available) 
  • Cut into triangular shapes
  • Fry in loads of oil for about five minutes 
  • Eat 
Quote from observer: “Yeah they’re alright actually.”

I have a newfound appreciation for those who successfully make tortilla chips although, granted, they probably create them from bits of squashed corn and threads of sombrero’s found at crossroads next to a babbling brooks.  I’m getting confused with teenage novels about witchcraft. 

After covering the handmade chos in well distributed relish, and heating the layered cheese throughout UNDER A GRILL NOT MICROWAVED HAVE YOU LEARNT NOTHING ABOUT THE DANGERS OF CHEESE ADHESIVE?! I found them to be different, and surprisingly quite good.

Softer, yes, but that merely conjured up charming images of chewing a freshly baked, you know, baker. Burnt in places, certainly, but this added crunch and flavouring. Once I’d added a bit of salt and a pickled cats arse baked under a full moon, they were more filling and, dare I say it, wholesome tasting. Oh no wait I’ve done it again haven’t I. Ignore the bit about salt.