Challenge: Mount Nacheesmo
This week for my Editor vs. Food challenge, I decided to take things in a different direction. My fellow editors have impressed the masses with their cooking skills and adherence to diets or trends. To switch it up a bit, I decided to honor the namesake of the Editor vs. Food challenge itself, Man vs. Food, and do something eating-related.
Inspired by Danielle Karp’s review of Tio’s, I decided to attempt the ridiculous and conquer Mount Nacheesmo. For anyone that doesn’t know, Mount Nacheesmo is a 5-pound pizza platter heaping with nachos and toppings. I’ve only heard excellent things about Tio’s nachos, so I donned my stretchiest yoga pants and least form-fitting sweatshirt and trekked over to Tio’s.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to tackle Mount Nacheesmo alone: my trusty roommate sidekick, Elaine Kussurelis, is equally enthusiastic about absurd amounts of nachos, so she agreed to help me out.
We show up around 1 p.m. and put our order in right away, shocking our waitress, who immediately responds with “It’s too much.” She asks us if we wanted to make any substitutions (imagine that — customizable heaps of nachos), so we elect to have tomatoes and black olives on the side. Twenty minutes later, after repeating our mantra of “We can totally pull this off… right?” and attempting to establish a game plan, we’re presented with a nacho mountain topped with a lake of bubbling queso and loaded with meat, cheese, refried beans, veggies, guacamole and sour cream.
We dig in right away, ravenous from having skipped breakfast in preparation. The tortilla chips are crunchy and still warm, which pairs perfectly with the smooth, slightly spicy queso. The ice-cream-sized scoops of guacamole and sour cream are a cool complement to the flavorful chip plates, and we begin to think we have a chance at finishing the Mount just because it tastes so good.
10 MINUTES IN: We’re still going strong. Getting used to the flavors has made each bite a little bit less exciting, but the enthusiasm hasn’t died down yet. Queso Lake is long gone, and the guacamole/sour cream scoops have flattened to cover the sides of the mesa-looking heap. It isn’t pretty anymore, but it still tastes damn good.
20 MINUTES IN: We’ve slowed down, to say the least. All of the crunchy tortilla chips on the outside layer have been demolished, leaving soggy, topping-laden chips that have been soaking in the inner core. Everything’s tasting the same, and I start to realize that a soggy chip is about as appealing as the smell of a wet dog (regardless of whether or not it’s soaked up the flavor of the surrounding deliciousness).
35 MINUTES IN: At this point, I would rather eat anything than another nacho. The combination of the massive layer of now-cold refried beans and limp chips has turned picking at the platter into a game of “Who can find the crunchiest chip that doesn’t have beans on it?” We’re reaching toward the platter less and less frequently, and I have to keep covering my mouth so that I don’t instinctively spit the soggy chips back onto my plate.
45 MINUTE MARK: We finally wave the white napkin of surrender and admit defeat. Though there’s still about a pound of nachos on the plate, we definitely cut Mount Nacheesmo down to size. The fact that a large handful of people have finished the monster 5-pound plate of nachos solo is beyond me — an exhausting 2 pounds later, I’m seriously fighting the urge to lie down in the middle of the restaurant.
Between Elaine and I, we put away about 4 pounds of nachos, much to our own surprise, disgust and slight disappointment. Fortunately, a hungry dude we encountered as we were waddling home took care of the leftovers for us, so I guess you could say we TECHNICALLY finished it (with a little help from our stranger-friend). In a more general sense though, in this battle of Editor vs. Food, food won.
So if you ever feel like eating yourself sick, bring at least two friends over to Tio’s and take a shot at kicking Mount Nacheesmo’s ass.