Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pedro's Restaurant & Cantina (Los Gatos, CA): Nachos with Chicken

So, how do you make an excellent evening watching the awesome How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular with the kids, my mom and dad, aunt, sister, and future brother-in-law even better?  A tasty plate of nachos for dinner, of course!

Pedro's has been in down town Los Gatos for years and has always served excellent, if a bit overpriced, gourmet Mexican cuisine.  I've been going there since I was a kid and have always loved the food, especially their bottomless baskets of warm, thin, crispy chips.  Our group happened to end up there after the show at HP Pavilion and although I really had enchiladas on my mind, I knew that I had to try their nachos to see if they measured up to the quality of the rest of their dishes.

I do appreciate "restaurant-style" nachos (one layer of chips with all of the ingredients neatly piled on top).  It's easy to get all of the ingredients in each bite, making for a satisfying nacho dining experience.  These ones were very good, even though the chicken was grilled and they didn't add any salsa.  However, they let them sit for a bit too long so the beans made the chips soggy (why do I always forget to as for no beans?) and the chicken was overpowered by the generous helpings of sour cream, guacamole, and beans.

Rating: 3½ out of 5
Rating Notes: Once again, grilled chicken, with all it's dryness and too many beans making otherwise excellent chips soggy, knocked a significant chunk off of the score.
Side Note: If you're feeling rich and frisky, try a shot of one of their numerous top shelf tequilas.  You can spend up to $75 for a shot!
Map to Location:

Las Palmas (San Jose, CA): Super Nachos with Chicken

Welcome to Las Palmas! Did I read that sign on their front door correctly?  "No Food, No Drinks Allowed?"  Nice...

Thankfully, this is just a case of poorly handled English. They have food and drinks here and you're perfectly free to partake.

I was a little hesitant to come to Las Palmas.  I used to work right down the street from this restaurant and all of the people I worked with told me it sucked.  I'm willing to give everyone a first chance, so my nacho wing-woman and I went ahead and stopped by for some lunch.

So...  look closely at that picture.  What looks a little odd about these nachos?

Plastic cheese!

It had been quite awhile since I'd encountered a respectful-looking taqueria such as this that took the lazy route and used canned queso for their nacho cheese.  Not that I don't like the stuff - it's just that when you have a great-looking plate of nachos with juicy and decently-flavored shredded chicken plus all of the other expected ingredients present and accounted for, an oozing pile of yellow goo doesn't seem to fit in.

Rating: 3½ out of 5
Rating Notes: Good Chicken, nice presentation, a decent salsa bar to spice things up, but plastic cheese nachos can't really score higher than this.
Map to Location:

Tu Mero Mole (San Jose): Chicken Mole Nachos

Tu Mero Mole?  Again?  Yes, again!  Why?  This place has such a variety of meats to add to their various delectable dishes that it keeps me coming back over and over to try the many possible iterations of their always tasty nachos.

This time I chose to go with their namesake, chicken Mole.  To be honest, I've heard mixed reviews of Tu Mero Mole's Mole from the various people that I've come here with.  Some think it's "unique" and some think it sucks.  As a topping for a plate of nachos I found it to be pretty darn tasty.  The sweet and savory flavor combined with the sour cream and guacamole plus the texture of the chips and meat made for a complex, yet rich and satisfying flavor that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Rating: 3½ out of 5
Rating Notes: Interesting mix of flavors, but unfortunately, Tu Mero Mole always loses a point for their chicken being grilled and a little dry instead of shredded and juicy, no matter what sauce it's combined with.  They also don't use fried tortilla chips, so they lose ½ a point there as well.
Map to Location: