Monday, June 9, 2014

Smoke 'N Wings (San Jose, CA): Pulled Pork Nachos

I don't ordinarily seek out nachos at barbecue joints, but an engineer at work tipped me off to these and since Smoke 'N Wings is but 10 minutes from the office, I had to do it.  Good decision!  Mostly...
Barbecue pulled pork doesn't come to mind as the perfect meat for a plate of nachos, but here it works.  Sweet, savory barbecue sauce over tender, generous quantities of pulled pork shoulder.  And well played S-'N-W for using plastic cheese sauce instead of real melted cheese.  Not sure whether it was a cost decision or a purposeful stroke of genius, but the way that the barbecue sauce and cheese sauce mixed together to form a cheesy barbecue infusion (almost a BB/Cheese Aoli?) was almost magical.  Now, if they could have made a better choice on the chips (the giant Costco bag variety which I've fortunately only encountered on one other location at the mediocre Fiesta Taqueria)we'd have had something amazing.

Side note:  A coworker who came along ordered some of their exceptional wings.  The crisp texture of the skin and tenderness of the meat made for some of the best wings I've ever had - highly recommended!

Rating: 4 out of 5
Rating Notes:  Generous helping for just $6.95.  Jalapeños blended beautifully with overall flavor.  Scored bonus points for originality and generosity or would've been a 3 or 3½ at most.
Map to Location:

Señor Taco (San Jose, CA): Super Nachos with Carnitas

Working further south in San Jose nowadays, I have the chance to visit some taquerias that weren't on my radar before.  Senor Taco is a new one for me and is pretty close to work.  I'd actually found this one before, but skipped over it in the Yelp results because I thought it was a fast food joint!  Wasn't there a 'Senor Taco' fast food chain at one time?  Like so many taquerias, it's shoved into an anonymous strip mall next to nail salons, liquor stores, fitness clubs, etc...

The Super Nachos were good.  Nothing special, but they did certain key things right:
  • Pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, all present and accounted for
  • Generous helping of carnitas
  • Not too much cheese
  • Deep-fried, home-made tortilla chips

The meat was so-so.  They should have seasoned them more because there was just a hint of that "plain pork" taste that grosses me out a little because it reminds me of a petting zoo.  This hurt what could have otherwise been a higher score.

One standout item:  The salsa bar is epic!!

Such variety and unique salsas.  I absolutely loved their creamy chipotle salsa and ate a bunch of it with my nachos, burning the you-know-what out of my tongue because it was a tad too spicy, but loving every minute of it!

Rating: 4 out of 5
Rating Notes: Would have been a 3½ but that salsa bar was good for ½​ a point bonus.  Carnitas were some of the weaker ones I've ever tasted.
Map to Location:​