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Jul 21, 2013 05:00 PM

Nachos -- probably beating a dead horse, but what the heck?

O.K., call me a purist, a crank, a Neanderthal, whatever, but I like nachos in (or close to) their original form (as invented by Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya, in 1943, in Piedras Negras, MX, just across the border from Eagle Pass, TX). Individual tortilla chips and jalapenos, covered by melted cheddar cheese. (The cheese is melted under a broiler or salamander.) The only other incarnation I like is refried beans on the chips under the jalapenos and melted cheese.

I do NOT want taco meat, chicken/beef fajitas, tomatoes, lettuce, olives, guacamole, and, especially, sour cream. If I have a hankering for any of those, I'll order them separately.

These nachos were once the norm here. Years ago, my favorite place for these traditional nachos (and beer) in Houston was Las Cazuelas, a 24-hour joint on (I seem to recollect) Quitman off North Main on the second floor. I also have fond memories of the nachos at Last Concert Cafe, when mama was still alive. Las Cazuelas is long gone, and the nachos at Last Concert Cafe are not the same. A few years living in San Antonio got me hooked on the Shypoke eggs (nachos) at Hip's and Little Hip's, now gone, too.

While I do love chile con queso, what I really hate is ordering nachos, only to find queso slathered over a pile of chips, which instantly disintegrate into a soggy pool that requires a spoon to eat. This seems to be the norm these days: queso, stuff I don't want, haphazardly prepared, and overpriced. Might as well wait for one of the new 7-Elevens to open.

I want the gooyeness of melted cheese and the crispy crunch of the tortilla chips.

Yeah, I know, I can and do make them at home (mess of nachos for dinner). But, sometimes, I'd like to grab some for lunch or dinner out.

About time to see if Spanish Village still does them the right way. Any other suggestions, particularly around the NASA area would be greatly appreciated. Will drive anywhere in the Houston area for the real thing.

And wondering when, how, and why Houston nachos started to suck.

P.S. Oops. Just looked at the on-line menu for Spanish Village. No way, no thanks.

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  1. Lopez (on Wilcrest in Stafford) does them that way and they are delicious. This picture has meat, but they do them without also. The jalapenos are on the side, but I have no doubt they'd put them under the cheese for you if you like.

    1. My little brother used to love the nachos at Los Tios. They make them in several different ways.

      1. Here's a discussion you might get a kick out of - trying to educate some Nacho Neophyte on the creation of the proper nacho. It even got a little testy, as he stated that, in his view, the only possible reason for anyone to serve him the individual hot nachos was an effort to cheat him - a "rip-off." I mean, God forbid he should learn something. I do note that he hasn't returned here, since he got schooled.

        I live out in Katy. We go to Tony's on Mason, Las Mananitas, El Jarrito, Lupe Tortilla. They all serve the original, perfect, exquisite Individual Hot Nacho. If they didn't, we wouldn't go back, and that's not an exaggeration. We order two dozen, one with nothing but a smear of refried beans and cheese. My two little granddaughters (3 & 4) polish off that complete order by themselves. It's their preferred dinner and it disappears quickly, no begging or cajoling needed. The three grownups (daughter, SIL and I) finish off the second order, jalapenos added. We do this every single time.

        As I said, if the restaurant didn't serve this type of nacho, we would not return.

        But want to add...

        Due, I'm sure, to an influx of Yankees and other furners, these restaurants also offer the "kitchen sink" version. I suspect most of the restaurants you're trying offer the individual hot nachos if you ask. Tony's, for example, has several types of nachos on their menu. The ones we like are "Nachos Sabrosos."