This week we're knee-deep in the chips, just for you. Presenting half a dozen of Chow Bella's favorite nacho spots in metro Phoenix.
No way we could skip spanikin'-new Nachobot, which is bringing nachos to the Roosevelt Row crowd, just its cousin Jobot did with coffee. This place packs a whole menu with nacho options, and our favorite is the veggie nachos. Who needs meat when you've got crazy-good caramelized mushrooms, whole garlic cloves, fresh spinach, and cheddar and cotija cheese sauce topped with pico de gallo? And don't leave out sides of roasted tomatillo and spicy red salsas. Equally tasty, they elevate the flavors of each nacho creation or stand on their own with a pile of crispy chips. Another new fave: devil chips studded with blue cheese. Yum.
Dip us in cheese and we'll die happy, after the jump.
5. Murphy's Law
An Irish pub probably isn't the first place you think of when you think nachos, but Murphy's Law in Chandler -- officially launching their rebrand as Irish Republic Public House on 11/11/11 -- serves up not one but two hefty selections. For a more traditional nacho experience, go with the Arizona Nachos: fresh, house-fried corn chips, melted cheese, scallions, tomatoes, green chiles, jalapenos, and fresh salsa, all topped with chicken or seasoned ground beef. But for a non-traditional option (because every day is St. Patrick's Day, right?) try the decadently savory Irish Nachos: house-fried potatoes with Irish sausage, smoked bacon, green onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, and green chiles smothered in melted cheddar cheese with fresh salsa. The best part about these nachos (unlike those tragic afterthoughts served straight from the microwave to your table at comedy clubs around the nation) is that every ingredient tastes fresh, which somehow makes you feel less guilty in devouring them. That said, they're not cheap ($8.99 each), so consider stopping by for Happy Hour - 2 to 6 p.m. seven days a week - when all appetizers are just $5.
The chefs at Bliss have an amazing ability to elevate restaurant staples to five-star, Zagat-rated greatness. One Chow Bella writer reports that the first time he ate there he had a burger, and it was so good he uses the memory of eating it to get over a bad day. The nachos get the same treatment: Bliss makes its own chips as well as rich, gooey cheese sauce, which combine with beef so tender it falls apart if you look at it funny. With diced jalapenos and tomatoes along with strips of red cabbage to round out the experience, it's, well, blissful.
AZ88 is known for martinis so big you can take a dip in them, and with such a reputation, there had better be some good drunk munchies on the menu. Seeing how nachos are the ultimate drunk food, AZ88's Hell's Fire Chips are the perfect option to satisfy your mid-martini cravings. Think of them as a classed up version of the old Velveeta fare. Crispy homemade potato chips are sprinkled with a bit of salt and topped with pungent blue cheese crumbles. Then those nachos (chips plus cheese equals nachos, any way you cut it) are liberally doused in scorching AZ Gunslinger hot sauce. Speaking from experience, you might want to ask for a bottle of the Gunslinger on the side to further dress your chips 'n' cheese. The vinegar and jalapeno kick of the sauce cuts through the distinctive blue cheese flavor. Order us up a double batch!
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2. The Lodge
What separates The Lodges nachos from the rest? It's all in the cheese. You won't find any half-melted, shredded, cheap mild cheddar on these babies just lots and lots of cheese sauce. That's right cheese SAUCE -- the real stuff. They also pile these suckers high with black beans and tomatoes, generous portions of sour cream and fresh guac, and plenty of thinly sliced FRESH jalapeno instead of those gnarly pickled grey-ish green ones. Now if we could only get them to substitute their crazy good tater tots for the chips - we'd be in tot-cho heaven.
1. Four Peaks
You're going to need at least four people for this mountain of cheesy chips. The Peaks' gargantuan pile of red, blue and white chips is meant for sharing and topped with no less than what seems like a at least a pound of cheddar. These guys come out with all the fixins on the side, including Four Peaks spicy black beans, homemade salsa, and sour cream. Plus, you get to enjoy them with a fresh Hop Knot or Kitlifter because everyone knows nothing compares to a Four Peaks beer straight from the brewery.