Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ruby's Tamales y Más (Saratoga, CA): Nachos with Chicken

Alas, my nacho wing-woman declined to accompany me to lunch today of all days when I ended up returning to a taqueria, formerly know as Cazuela's, now as 'Ruby's Tamales y Más".  Our previous visit to this location had been bittersweet - bitter because they were closing this taqueria that my wing-woman used to frequent with her family, and sweet because the chicken mole that covered my nachos was awesome.

This time, I went with my standby, shredded chicken nachos (they offer both grilled or shredded chicken).  I should have gone with the grilled chicken.  How do I know this, having ordered shredded chicken?  For some reason, hidden beneath the sparse layer of shredded chicken atop the nachos was a moderate portion of grilled chicken that was far superior in flavor.  I'm not sure why they did this, but once I tried the grilled chicken I didn't complain.  It was much more tender and juicy than most grilled chicken I've tasted and had a smooth, savory seasoning applied.  A happy mistake or a sneaky cook?  I don't know and I don't care...

Rating: 3½ out of 5

Rating notes:  Quite a run of 3½ out of 5's I'm having here, eh?  Despite the tasty grilled chicken, there was no guacamole and the chips, while crispy, got soggy very quickly.  That, combined with having so little cheese that I almost didn't notice it made for a less than stellar plate.  Excellent salsa bar, though.  Their tomatillo salsa was some of the best I've ever had.

Map to Location: http://mapq.st/107THJh

Dia de Pesca (San Jose, CA): Nachos with Prawns

There are a few things to remember, should you visit Dia de Pesca and partake of their "Si Food" (I didn't make that up - it's on their sign - awesome pun!).  First, their fish tacos are the best I've had, anywhere, and you can choose from numerous different types of meat, ranging from salmon, to halibut, to shrimp, to chicken or beef on any of their menu items.  Second, watch out when you park.  Their lot is ludicrously small for how many people show up at lunch time and you can get a stiff ticket if you park on the wrong side street (I know from experience - $90 ticket the first time I went here - that's one expensive-assed lunch outing).  Lastly, don't waste your time and order "Si Food" nachos.  It just wasn't meant to be...

Yes, I thought I'd be all gourmet and order their tasty prawns atop my nachos.  Note to self: shrimp and cheese do not go together.  I should have learned that when I ate some very disappointing shrimp nachos at Wahoo's.  These were definitely better than Wahoo's, simply because the prawns were mouthwatering -  probably sauteed in garlic butter or something - and the nachos were topped with an orange sauce reminiscent of La Victoria's famous concoction.  I was disappointed, though, to find half-melted cheese, indicating a short stint in a microwave oven rather than a proper broiling or baking.  Obviously, nachos are not Dia de Pesca's specialty, but I'll definitely be back for fish tacos someday...

Rating: 3½ out of 5
Rating Notes: My fault for not ordering a complimentary meat for my nachos, but these still would have been pretty average.  Go there for their Fish tacos, not their nachos.
Map to Location: http://mapq.st/16gDIw4

***100th Post! *** Boardwalk Bowl (Santa Cruz, CA): Nachos Supreme

Welcome to the 100th POST on my Nacho Blog!  It's been so much fun to eat, write, and publish, and I really appreciate you taking the time to read my ramblings on about my favorite food.  Don't worry - I'm not stopping yet!

Yep, that's right!  Bowling alley nachos!  Only the second time I've ever posted a plate of chippy, cheesy, salsa-y sour creamy, guacamole-y goodness on this blog, and these ones blew the enormous-yet-mediocre nachos from '300' away!

The family and I were out bowling by the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz with some friends, having a great time, but I wanted more greatness.  So what better way to increase the greatness of any experience?  Add a healthy helping of nachos, of course!

When I ordered these I was expecting plastic cheese-slathered lameness (they ARE partially affiliated with a nearby amusement park, after all), but what a pleasant surprise to find a homemade-style, oven-cooked (not microwaved!) batch of my favorite Mexican food in such an unlikely place!  All ingredients (except for meat) present, accounted for, and well-made.  Decent chips, melted cheeddar, olives, fresh salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and jalapeños brought a smile to my face and grease to my fingers that almost made me drop my bowling ball a couple times.

Rating: 3½ out of 5
Rating Notes: Homemade flavor is both a good and bad thing.  On the one hand, you know someone put some love into making them.  On the other hand, you don't really feel like your out treating yourself to something special.  No meat available knocks the score down a little, too.
Map to Location: http://mapq.st/XbavCm