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Best Nachos?

It's national nachos day....

Who makes the best nachos?

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  1. call me crazy dirty, but i like the basic nachos with electric yellow nacho cheese and pickled jalapenos only ie at dodger stadium and staples...extra cheese sauce please.

    for meatier and fancy nachos, im all ears hounds...nice post...i want to know!

    1 Reply
    1. I like 'em at Don Antonio's on Pico and (when I was a lot younger and thought I was indestructible and would live forever) I liked 'em at Pancho's Tacos in Santa Monica.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Servorg

        One other thought (if you would like a place that has what seems like a "healthier" version) Loteria Grill http://loteriagrill.com/

        1. re: Servorg

          Good to know, those are close by, thanks.

          1. re: Servorg

            damn. We were at Don Antonios a couple of weeks ago. Didn't have nachos, but maybe we should've. Our main courses were so salty

            1. re: fgrade

              I've taken to getting an all meat burrito with their "stewed pork" that they normally pair with their salsa verde and I have avocado added. Sometimes I get it topped with sauce and cheese and sometimes I don't. I'm not very salt sensitive, so I don't find their food overly salty. That salt thing is really so incredibly variable.

              1. re: Servorg

                I've not found their food to be overly salty either, and I am sensitive to overly salted food......

                1. re: Servorg

                  We didn't have that burrito. It was a chimichanga and a burrito, both carne asada, and both way too salty. We also over heard another table mention the high blood pressure coming on due to the salty food. Must've been having an off night. And i agree with you on the salt variable. I have friends who add salt to their food as if were going out of style.

            2. mexicali taco co. no contest (for me)

               
              44 Replies
              1. re: ns1

                those look awesome -- is that chorizo with the nacho cheese and jalapeno?

                1. re: jessejames

                  it's whatever meat you want.

                  IIRC fresh chips, meat of choice, 2 kinds of cheese (melted nacho cheese + shredded cheddar IIRC), jalapenos, pico de gallo

                  you get pickled onions + salsa from their salsa bar to make it even more godly. When you get a good cook, they will stack the chips vertically (like my picture) so that the cheese runs through everything more evenly, and the chips don't get as soggy either.

                  1. re: ns1

                    Sounds great. I like a carnitas quesadillo this looks even better and I can do up carnitas and nacho sauce. Just cuz conversation w a hound is better than google where is Mexicali?

                    1. re: jessejames

                      It's downtown. Not convenient for me, anyway.

                    2. re: ns1

                      I agree with your vertical theory. Works good w round nachos at games too.

                      1. re: jessejames

                        man, i don't get the vertical thing at all. or the liquid cheese thing, either.
                        maybe i'm an old fart -- well, i am an old fart -- but i like the chips horizontal with cheese melted on them. i like the variations in texture of the cheese and the chips when they've been shoved under a salamander or broiler.

                        however, those do look tasty, so what do i really know?

                        1. re: linus

                          I don't like it when a few chips on top serve as a roof and get all the cheese while rest get none. Vertical allows the golden goodness to reach more surface area....anyway I gotta hit up that Mexicali spot. Photo such a tease!

                          1. re: jessejames

                            I love going into this thread just to see the picture up top.

                              1. re: ns1

                                Yes, you're killing me that I can't go there soon to try them....

                              2. re: jessejames

                                i don't understand how that works unless you're using the liquid cheese.

                                1. re: linus

                                  re: mexicali
                                  they use both hot melted nacho cheese and shredded cheese

                                    1. re: ns1

                                      I know... that is why I love it. The Nacho cheese is essential for the comfort factor...

                                      1. re: Dommy

                                        do you get the whiz on your boos' steaks dommy? i feel same way with that!

                                        1. re: jessejames

                                          Provolone! I had one on Tuesday.

                                          1. re: jessejames

                                            Absolutely! No other way!!

                                            --Dommy!

                                            1. re: Dommy

                                              i like the whiz, but maybe mexicali style with whiz and provolone??

                                                1. re: JAB

                                                  ok, one of each? fletch style, i'll have a steak sandwich and...a steach sandwich

                                        2. re: ns1

                                          doesn't the shredded cheese just fall down onto the plate or into the carboard basket?
                                          how can you put shredded cheese on a vertical chip?

                                          1. re: linus

                                            They use the hot melted cheese as a sort of glue that catches and holds onto the other ingredients, along with partially melting the shredded cheese onto the surface of the hot, melted cheese.

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              thank you for the explanation. i think i can picture it.

                                              1. re: linus

                                                We don't know why a thread about something as innocuous yet awesome as nachos got so testy so fast, but we've removed a bunch of replies here. We'd like to remind everyone that if you don't like the sound of someone's post, you aren't obligated to reply to it, but if you are going to reply to please be friendly. Thanks.

                                2. re: ns1

                                  Carne Asada nachos....something has been unlocked!

                                  1. re: jessejames

                                    Carne Asada nachos....something has been unlocked!
                                    ---------------

                                    Deliciousness. level 50. Mexicali is just north of DTLA, south east of Dodger stadium I think on Figueroa.

                              3. re: ns1

                                YESH!!!!!!!!!!!! I like them with the Al Pastor the best!

                                --Dommy!

                                1. re: Dommy

                                  I STILL have not had their al pastor. how is it compared to the heavy hitters?

                                  1. re: ns1

                                    Honestly... only Tacos Leo is better... but I find myself more likely to go Mexicali because I love their tortillas and they can do me up one Ranchero Style...

                                    --Dommy!

                                    1. re: Dommy

                                      Nachos at Carnitas Michaocan (No. Broadway at 19th above Chinatown) -- chips, tons of cheese, jalapenos, and choice of meat on top -- their al pastor comes sliced from a rotisserie spit, and if you manage to be there when freshly carved, heaven. But what sets these apart is the hot sauce -- best I've found in SoCal. Huge order, quite inexpensive. Better still -- same thing with fries instead of tortilla chips.

                                      1. re: nosh

                                        Have heard those fries are legendary... really need to get there to try them when I feel like having a heart attack!

                                        They use a white cheese right?

                                        1. re: Stravinsky

                                          On Carnitas Michaocan's fries, they use a yellow melted cheese sauce over the fries. If I ordered the dish again I would ask for the fries welldone to better standup to the cheese sauce. I might also try the carne asada in place of the al pastor, which is my regular choice there. The order is HUGE, easily shared. I'm a big eater and after lunch there, I took more than half home and still didn't finish all of the fries or cheese. Be sure to ask for as many of the thimbles of hot sauce as they will give you.

                                            1. re: nosh

                                              Is this not them?

                                              http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=h...

                                              Maybe the lighting is just playing tricks on me; why does the cheese sauce look white to me?

                                    1. re: ns1

                                      Wow, I just may have to stop for that!

                                      OTOH, the other food review site has high marks for Tacos Villa Corona's "Papas Nachos" … Potato Nachos. since the place opened I have bought the Papas Breakfast Burrito w Bacon but just heard about a nacho version.

                                      I'll let you know.

                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                            Thank you, Servorg.

                                            I am actually now Atwater Village Girl after buying my new home over a year ago. The restaurant is around the corner from my home:

                                            3185 Glendale Blvd
                                            Los Angeles, CA 90039

                                            It was always popular but, after appearing on Bourdain's No Reservations, it is VERY popular, especially since only one person can go inside at one time. So, a lot of people hang out on the street.

                                            1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                                              Great, thanks for that, Atwater village girl..... What do you mean, only one person can go in at a time, is it extremely tiny? A stand? Or they have a bouncer at the door?

                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                Just tiny inside.

                                                Here's a short snip of Bourdain's trip to Tacos Villa Corona

                                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KAtLw...

                                                And it comes in #1 on LA Weekly's Best Breakfast Burrito

                                                http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/20...

                                                I still wanna check out Lucky Boy … never been.

                                                1. re: SilverlakeGirl

                                                  Ah, yes I see! Well, will have to keep them in mind when I'm passing through the area.....love breakfast burritos.....

                                      1. National Nachos Day - good to know! Was gonna make tacos tonight, but will see if the SO is agreeable to transitioning to nachos instead. Thanks for the info.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. Love the nachos at Mission Cantina in Hollywood. Order one with a $20 pitcher of margarita and it's a good night.

                                          http://s3-media4.ak.yelpcdn.com/bphot...

                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              Hands down... Tinga has the best restaurant chips in town... I love them...

                                              But their nachos seemed wildly off balance... not enough cheese, not enough meat, not enough guac... it just didn't come together... I was SOOOO upset....

                                              Instead I order their chips and plop big pieces of their BRC on top... It's super carby (which pretty much makes up most of my meals)... but when it's all mixed up together SO GOOD.

                                              --Dommy!

                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    Or how I was able to afford a car and college on a comic book shop manager budget... I ate so many El Pollo Loco BRCs at the shop that the guys were SHOCKED when the idiot who worked for me (I only hired him because he knew Magic cards... & he resented my Comic book game) brought me a burger as a joke and I ate the whole damn thing... and his.

                                                    --Dommy!

                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                  For reals?? Like the one right under my nose?? GTFO!!

                                                2. I have soft spot for 7-Eleven.

                                                  Nothing like chili and cheese pumped, and pumped, and pumped.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. I think processed nacho cheese is absolutely vile, but I do like the nachos at Pepe's. They use a ton of shredded cheese which I prefer and add guacamole, refried beans and bit of their pork chile verde. A huge order is about $5

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: Ernie

                                                      Do you mean Pepe's Galley at the Mar Vista bowl?

                                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                        No, the Pepe's drive-through in Alhambra (plus a few other locations)

                                                        Here's a pic of Pepe's nachos doused in their red hot sauce

                                                         
                                                          1. re: Ernie

                                                            I wok down the street from there. Do they actually melt the cheese?

                                                            1. re: granadafan

                                                              It is a mix of melted and unmelted cheese. Normally that would not appeal to me, but it works in their nachos since they also add warm beans, a bit of warm chile verde and guacamole

                                                      2. Totally forgot about this..... But just went to Pink Taco and had theirs....say what you want about the place, but their nachos are really good. Got the carnitas nachos and it really hit the spot. They use queso, which is very similar to the liquid nacho cheese sauce, plus shredded cheeses. Works for me.

                                                         
                                                        6 Replies
                                                          1. re: jessejames

                                                            But, what wouldn't you eat? ;>)

                                                            (attempting to distract jj from the linus conversation)

                                                            1. re: JAB

                                                              too late im afraid!

                                                              im pretty picky actually - no mayo, mustard, certain gloopy stuff....i liked the nice scoops of guac and sour cream in that pic.

                                                              1. re: jessejames

                                                                Yea, you went there as I was typing.

                                                                1. re: JAB

                                                                  now i edited it...kinda hard not to let that one go first time.

                                                              2. re: JAB

                                                                thank god someone's distracting it.

                                                          2. Salsa and Beer in Van Nuys on White Oak makes great nachos. I always get them to go and that clamshell is heavy. It is under $5 and they don't skimp on the ingredients. I am a big fan of their grilled chicken dishes, and the chicken nachos are a flavor bomb.

                                                            7 Replies
                                                              1. re: Jelly71

                                                                They're decent enough, but srsly Mexicali blows them away.

                                                                1. re: ns1

                                                                  As I've researched, there is a salsa & beer in n. hyd. there is another way west of van nuys on white oak, which is west of hayvenhurst.

                                                                  1. re: nosh

                                                                    I've been to the one that's in Reseda, I think....maybe that's the white oak one? I think that's about too far west to be van nuys, no?

                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                      The one on White Oak they call Van Nuys.

                                                                      I've been to both, though I go to the one in NoHo, seriously usually twice per week!!! It is about 4 times the capacity of the White Oak location and also has two full bars (White Oak just serves beer). Inexpensive and really great margaritas.

                                                                      Pretty great service there too!

                                                                      1. re: gr8pimpin

                                                                        Okay, cool, I thought that was considered Reseda.... I'm obviously not a valley girl....

                                                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                          I originally thought that was considered Reseda too :-)

                                                              2. It must be a fable that the Holy Grail of food for those who imbibe and/or ingest certain weed substances are destroying their brain cells.

                                                                Just look at all the detailed and passionate, descriptive responses - some so passionate that the mods got cranky.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Gypsy Jan

                                                                  Heightens sensual emotions.

                                                                  But I've thought about it: On the high end you have ambitious chefs who can source the best, rarest ingredients and attempt to be creative and unique. So we 'hounds can describe a dish and opine about whether it worked. But on the low end we've all experienced a dish innumerable times. So we take a common dish -- burger, fried chicken, or here nachos -- and we assess minor differences in styles, toppings, preparation, quantity, value. And with so many similar choices, when one finds a favorite and loves it repeatedly, it cultivates a loyalty and a passion.

                                                                2. For me, the best nachos come from the original Freebird in Santa Barbara (the chain using the same name is total shit sadly).

                                                                  A glorious pile of nachos with cheese freshly melted on them, and then piled with an ungodly amount of essentially every ingredient you can imagine. Two kinds of beans, rice, mountains of sour cream and guacamole, veggies...freshly grilled steak, and chicken...crispy onions, cilantro...doused in equal parts salsa, and tangy BBQ sauce...

                                                                  Truly unbelievable. Cost about $16, weigh about 4lbs...

                                                                  Sometimes it's worth the drive in the middle of the night just go get them.

                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Stravinsky

                                                                    Never been there.... Will have to search them out next time I'm up there, but LSR always seems to be calling me when I go..... But the rice has got to go..... I don't even want rice in my burritos.... Thanks for the 411.

                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                      You choose what goes onto the nachos, so if you don't want rice, no rice. Hell, I think you can actually get three different types of beans if you really want instead =P

                                                                      You have total control though...you watch them get built in front of you at your command. It is an exhilarating experience!

                                                                      1. re: Stravinsky

                                                                        I like the excitement, fried onions sound good too.

                                                                    2. re: Stravinsky

                                                                      Why the original? Do the franchises not do as good as job. I had NO idea they had build you own nachos with things like crispy onions (OOooo!) but are the franchises not as well equipted as the original?

                                                                      --Dommy!

                                                                      1. re: Dommy

                                                                        The franchises are so different from the original that I would say that, other than the name, they are basically different restaurants.

                                                                        I was so excited when they first opened the franchises, hoping against hope that they might actually deliver that incredible experience of Santa Barbara to the south... but of course, they do not.

                                                                        The nachos at the franchises are small batches of horrible industrially produced, colored chips with 7-11 quality nacho cheese gooped onto them. I think you can choose what you want on them, but you can't just get whatever you want. There's no fresh steak off the grill, but pre-made stuff that's been sitting there for a while. Nothing is even remotely approaching the quality of the original. The salsas aren't the same, there's no tangy BBQ sauce. And there sure as hell aren't any crispy onions.

                                                                        I haven no idea how they missed it. They could have based the chain entirely on reproducing those legendary nachos in more locations... instead, they scrapped them off the menu entirely.

                                                                        Freebird's franchises produce some of the worst nachos in the world...

                                                                        It's truly horrific.

                                                                        For a moment, I almost had a heart attack, as I thought maybe the franchises implied the closing of the original. I drove there the next day just to be sure it was still there, not trusting any reports (and to wash the disappointment out of my mouth with the real deal).

                                                                        1. re: Stravinsky

                                                                          Thank you for your thoughtful reply! I'll still skip it and maybe hit the real Freebirds next time in SB. :D

                                                                          --Dommy!

                                                                          1. re: Dommy

                                                                            Freebirds in SB is owned by Paul Orfalea, the founder of Fedex Office/Kinkos). The original kinkos building (now something else) is just steps away from Freebirds.

                                                                            Paul Orfalea and his business partner expanded Freebirds into Texas in 90s but his business partner bought out all the locations except the original which is in Isla Vista (next to UCSB) and expanded the chain. They are the same name but not related anymore and the food quality is vastly different. My husband and I tried the Freebirds in San Jose and were greatly disappointed. It's similar to Chipotle but worse.

                                                                            The one in Isla Vista is packed with college students, I went to UCSB, but the food is great and it's a must visit place open 24 hours a day. The nachos are delicious and you can order a quesaritto (a burrito where they melt the cheese like a quesadilla). My husband and I had our first "date" there hahaha.

                                                                            If this kinda stuff is your thing, the carne asada California Burrito from Super Cucas in Santa Barbara is also really good or tacos from La Super-Rica Taqueria are great. If you opt for La Super-Rica be ready for a long line, food that's a bit pricey and they only accept cash. It's worth it though!

                                                                            1. re: mpizano

                                                                              I just drove up to Freebird's SB again a few days ago in the middle of the night for those nachos.

                                                                              They are still amazing. Truly unfortunate that they couldn't expand that experience out into the world.

                                                                    3. Haven't been in a while, but Duke's in Malibu always had excellent nachos. Lots of cheese, fresh guac, good beans, plenty of chicken and a wonderful pico de gallo.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: yogachik

                                                                        We haven't been in a while, either, but thanks that's good to know.....

                                                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                          I should mention that I think they're only available at the Barefoot Bar. super yummy

                                                                      2. My favorite is Eduardo's in Westwood. Real melted cheese which they melt in layers (or else the bottom layer of chips doesn't get any) plus fresh grilled steak or chicken, homemade guac, lots of fresh salsas, sour cream, beans, ummm.

                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                        1. re: bringiton

                                                                          Thanks for this, I forgot about them. I like their tostadas & salads......

                                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                            Did you actually hit anyplace up for nachos based on this thread? I have to admit that this is one of those dishes that, while it seems like a good idea to order at the time, after I eat it I regret my decision. It is just so "anti-healthy" in an "in your face (or gastrointestinal system) sort of way. I feel like I gained 25 pounds after eating nachos...(and yeah - I know I didn't have to finish the whole damn plate - but there are starving children in some "Stan" country and I have to finish or they will be giving me the evil eye).

                                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                                              If you think Choucroute Garnie is going to keep you fit as fiddle, while nachos will bump you off, it must be that 'kraut! Choucroute garni - chock full of veggies.

                                                                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                It's just that Charucroute Garnie is not easily available, and that will protect me from myself. ;-D>

                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                  And I doubt it compliments tequila

                                                                              2. re: Servorg

                                                                                I went to Pink Taco with my husband for lunch last Thursday, as it is very convenient to his office. Have not been able to checkout the rest of the places recommended so far, but will use the list as a guide in the future when I'm craving nachos again.

                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                  I don't feel heavy after Mexicali nachos - quite the contrary, I feel victorious.

                                                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                                                    I feel like Roberto Durán - "No mas!"

                                                                            2. I always get the chicken nachos from Teres Mexican Grill.

                                                                              1. By far...the esstside makes the best hands down. Santana's closest one is Azusa though :( Whenever I make my way over there I make sure I grab a fresh fruit donut from The donut man as well....mmmmmmmm yummmmmmm

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Frexitarian

                                                                                  Whaaaat? Esstside? Santana's? What are you trying to say?

                                                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                    Whoops...East side. Like the last barrio in the region of East LA. That's pretty far east. Azusa. I live right around the corner from Mexicali (which many seem to like on this thread) and they are decent, no doubt. Liquified nacho cheese like Michoacan (also mentioned here) and the like. Seriously, Santana's is pretty nuts. Crazy salsa bar with tons more than just their 6-8 salsas which are ALL frickin' great and have such distinct flavors. They even have sweet ones! Besides that, the rest of the options, like another 5-6 FREE condiments.

                                                                                    Just try them. Trust me.

                                                                                2. I personally love the nachos from Las Fuentes in Reseda. On the rare occasions when I get a wild hair to stray from my usual (Burrito de Bistek Encebollado) I order the nachos. As I do not like a lot of gunk on my nachos, I get them with only cheese and the sauce (like a ranchera but milder). Perfection!

                                                                                  1. Casa Garcia in Pico Rivera. Many options are available but my favorite is Super Nachos with either Chili Verde (standard) or Carnitas. Jack is standard on all nachos. The "super" adds beans, sour cream and guacamole. I ask for the sour cream and guac on the side if the order is carry-out. Be sure to get a couple red sauce cups.

                                                                                    http://www.yelp.com/biz/casa-garcia-p...

                                                                                    Prepare for the shame of eating the entire order yourself.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: ilovethissite

                                                                                      Sounds great. Looks like I need to plan a trip back to the SGV to see old friends.... Thanks!