Did you know that nachos are Barack Obama’s favorite snack? Of course you did, fellow patriot. Although “favorite” might not fully describe his feelings; Obama’s actual words were: “That’s one of those [things] where I have to have it taken away. I’ll have guacamole coming out of my eyeballs.”
I feel you, Mr. President. To honor both his last few months as Commander-in-Chief and NATIONAL NACHOS DAY (yep, it’s today), I’ve curated a list of standout New York City nacho bites that I’ve enjoyed along my long personal journey to nacho domination. I promise you, my sampling has been extensive. (In fact, like Obama, I might have a problem.)
I’ve done you the favor of categorizing each bite by a Drake lyric, as I assume that’s how you best absorb information. These two gentlemen have had their differences, but there’s no better time and no better snack to nurture forgiveness, respect and understanding.
1. The “share it like the last slice” bite.
The nachos at Tortilla Flats in the West Village are designed pizza-style. What does that mean? Every ingredient –beans, cheese, jalapeños — is perfectly portioned out, then baked on top of giant tortilla chips. Add beef or chicken if you’re nasty, or just, like, really hungry.
2. The “like a potluck, you need to come with it” bite.
Nachos in a pot! Neighborhood favorite Swine (also in the West Village) serves its house-made potato chip nachos, covered with jalapeños, cheese and crispy pork belly, in a sweet little cast-iron skillet.
3. The “that’s why I walk around with all this gold on” bite.
The nachos at El Camion Cantina in the East Village boast a three-cheese blend plus sprinkles of cotija AND drizzles of crema on top of that. Yes, I’m talking minimum FOUR kinds of cheese on this very special bite.
4. The “we took it to go, told them don’t even plate it” bite.
Take-out nachos. Have I done it? At least once a month. Am I happy about it? Every time. 24-hour Cuban diner Coppelia in Chelsea is there for you whenever you need them, offering short-rib nachos literally around the clock. The ever-thoughtful Swine (see #2, minus the pot) delivers with the cheese on the side to avoid soggy chips.
5. The “look at how I’m placing all my napkins and my cutlery” bite.
There’s no shame in fork and knifing nachos if the situation calls. You’ll want to grab a cutlery set for the Cadillac Nachos at The Commodore in Williamsburg. Navigate four layers of salsa plus cilantro, sour cream, radishes, spring onions, pickled jalapeños, American cheese and cranberry beans.
6. The “started from the bottom” bite.
There are no nachos without chips, and the ones at El Cortez in Bushwick hold up under the weight of their delicious toppings, which consist of salsa (three types), pinto beans, cilantro and of course, queso. Pile it on without fear.
Happy Nachos Day.
Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images.