Sips & Dips

Nacho Mama

So, in my 22 years of living, I can confidently say that one of the most important things that I’ve learned in life is this:

If you don’t like nachos, you’re a crazy person.

I’d say it’s a pretty universal learning, wouldn’t you?

I mean come on, they’re nachos. Need proof? Look at these bad boys:

Lola’s Nachos: The Gisele Bündchen of Nachos

It’s safe to say that anyone who has dined out with me, particularly at a Mexican eatery, knows that I’m teetering dangerously close to a nacho obsession.

So I’ll let you in on the fun:


1) Thick, homemade chips are essential. Thin whimpy ones will only get sloppy, thus inhibiting crispiness and ability to hold copious amounts of melted cheese.

2) Beans. And then… Some more beans. Black beans are great if you’re trying to act like you’re eating something  pseudo-healthy, but pinto or refried pinto blend nicely into the mix of other toppings as well.

3) Sharp cheddar cheese (or extra sharp, basically the sharpest cheese you can find). At Lola’s restaurant in Costa Rica queso blanco was used which is also delish with a nice fresh taste to it. Queso fresco will do too, but it doesn’t have the “boom-ka-pow” kick that sharp cheddar does.

Lola’s Restaurant & Bar in Playa Avellanas, just south of Tamarindo

4. Guac. Guac is something that should not be taken lightly, seeing as it is the condiment of the Gods. If you know me, then you also know that I get really weird about making guacamole. I find it to be one of the most fun things to cook. Get some perfect avos, toss in some chopped jalaps (pronounced ‘ja-laps’), diced onion, diced tomato (pronounced “toe-mot-oh’), sprinkle some garlic salt, squeeze in a heavy dose of fresh lime juice and you are GTG (good to go). Sometimes I even add corn on top when I’m feeling cray cray.It should also be noted that guac is CRITICAL to good nachos. If a restaurant isn’t offering guac on their nachos then they’re probably Commies (if that’s even still an insult?).

5. Sour cream, or “crema fresca” as mis amigos like to call it. Pretty basic. When I worked at Cha Taqueria in Portland, Oregon they use a chipotle crema as well, which is obviously the

6. Pico de gallo (this is not pronounced “gal-oh”, seriously) salsa is also pretty vital on a good plate of nachos. Fresh tomato works too, or regular salsa if you’re down-and-out on the gallo variation.

7. Jalaps. Also known as jalapenos. Extra if possible.

8. Some kind of protein if you really feel the need to add it. A.k.a: to let whoever you’re with know that you’re not kidding around with your nachos. Knock yourself out with this one.

So go on, preheat the oven! Or hit up your favorite taqueria!

Cause it’s always time, for nacho time.

Caution: Do not try putting Jack Black on your nachos… Unless he asks you to. Then do. Because after all, it is Jack Black.

Looking for great nacho-makers? Try these:

1. Mexicali Cocina & Cantina, Studio City, Los Angeles

2. Downward Dog, Corvallis, Oregon

3. Cha!Cha!Cha!, Portland, Oregon

4. J. Pauls, Georgetown, Washington D.C.

5. Del Alma, Corvallis, Oregon

6. Lola’s, Playa Avellanas, Costa Rica

Got more ideas? Speak the word!


One thought on “Nacho Mama

  1. Yummm! I couldn’t agree more. Nachos are the perfect addition to a margarita, a hot summer evening, or a rainy Portland afternoon. They go anywhere with everything. But don’t order the fake nachos served at movie theaters- that’s vile. McKenna’s nachos are maravilloso!

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