Nachos have an interesting existence--enjoyed mostly by gabachos yet of Mexican origins, but created to serve hungry gabachos. Edwin has written about the carne asada nachos Alerto's (or is it Alberto's?), and the county has enough renditions of Chili Billies to placate a Little League squad. But perhaps the best take built specifically for the white man is at Rutabegorz, which is wrapping up its 30th anniversary in Tustin.
I went a couple of days ago at the insistence of milady, who wanted something healthy. I do enjoy Rutabegorz, but find their prices a bit much and servings not too distinctive. All that changed with the nachos--a plate the size of a basketball hoop covered with melted jack-and-cheddar. The chips were warm, not stale, and held some of the best pinto beans in my life: small, hearty, smooth. Guacamole sat in the center, but I can't tell you how good it is because I don't like avocado (quick aside: yeah, bring on the spiteful comments about how this Mexican hates the fruit. Water off my back: the biggest boos I've ever received in my life was at San Clemente High School, when I told a group of students--half-Mexican, half-gabachos--I didn't like avocados. I thought they were going to do a Francisco Torres on me). The cheese wasn't gooey but rather thick like a quesadilla; the salsa, given that it was Rutabegorz, was as strong as water but helped immensely once I spiked it with Tabasco (again--this is Rutabegorz). I ate half of the plate--I can eat mucho, yet the nachos filled me so much I only ate a couple of forkfuls of my garlic chicken pasta (which, btw, is excellent--any time you mix feta with pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes, you have a winner).
We ended with Rutabegorz's famous holiday treat: pumpkin cookies smeared with frosting that won't leave your tongue dry due to its super-sweetness. Take a dozen to your company Christmas party, and you're guaranteed to get lucky.
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Rutabeborz in Tustin, 158 W. Main, Tustin, (714) 731-9807; www.rutabegorz.com