I spent this past weekend in New York City. Having lived there for three and a half years, my NY weekends are not what you would expect. Mostly I spend time with my friends, walking around, playing video games, watching movies, and trying out new gluten-free fooderies.
This weekend, however, lacking somewhat in funds, I only revisited two favorites: Ivy Bakery by my friend's place in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn for a gluten-free carrot cake cupcake (still the best GF cupcakers I've found) for "breakfast" on Saturday and a huge, glorious dosa from Hampton Chutney Co. (the one on Amsterdam between 82nd & 83rd) on Sunday to consume on the bus ride back to Boston. yum.
Otherwise the most NY thing we did was re-explore St. John the Divine, the largest cathedral in the world and by far my favorite (it has peacocks! live ones!), and meander from there (110th and Amsterdam) to a Red Sox bar called Professor Thoms' on 2nd ave between 13th & 14th. a roughly 6 mile walk, as shady as we could make it in Saturday's sunshine.
The reason we ventured back to our old NYU neighborhood and a Sox bar (my friends consist of a Mets fan, a Phillies fan, and an agnostic) was to try their nachos. According to my online research, the nachos offered at this establishment are the best in NYC. So I considered it part of my sacred duty as chairperson of Nacho Quest 2009 Boston to dive into these nachos face first.
While excellent in the categories of portion size (it came on a pizza tray!), price, and salsa, they only fared average in cheese, sour cream, and extras. The chips themselves were sub par and while we received a lovely little pile of jalapeños there was an overall lack of flavor. A zestlessness, if you will.
If Nacho Quest 2009 has taught me only one thing so far, it is that the chances of finding nachos better than the ones already holding spots numbers 1 and 2 in my heart are slim to none. Still, we march on. There are many nacho providing establishments in The Greater Boston Area still on our quest. And I have compiled a short list for my NY friends to explore on their own, so that when I next visit mayhaps my nachoing experience will be somewhat improved.
If you care to test my favorite nachos, head over to
1.) Sunset Grill & Tap (or Sunset Cantina, since they're the same franchise) in Allston (off the B line) and order the South-of-the-Border Giant Fiesta Nachos. Now, to be fair, the straight-up Buenos Cheese Nachos are beautiful in their simplicity and still executed expertly but let's get real - you want a gastronomical challenge. The word "giant" is an understatement. The full plate can comfortably feed 4 average to somewhat-above-average eaters. Even if you are starving you could never hope to finish an entire half plate by yourself. Unless, maybe, you practiced. Unsurprisingly my go-to chili choice is the Veggie 3-bean. Delish!
2.) CBC (Cambridge Brewing Company) in Kendall Square: tri-color chips, top-notch distribution, amazing extras, including some seriously hot peppers if you like your bites to be super spicy!
And remember, readers, the motto of Nacho Quest 2009: If we didn't layer our nachos, what would separate us from the animals?
Meanwhile, back on the farm, I passed my Kaplan audition. The next step is a one-on-one interview to make sure the fit is right and to figure out where and when I can train. As long as it doesn't get in the way of the wedding or my Left Coast trip, I'm gold. Otherwise I can always try to get back into coaching.