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  • Writer's pictureEric Elkins

Ode: The Doritos Nachos at Cochino Taco




Two important disclaimers:

1.        I’m a total Doritos guy. They’re my guilty pleasure salty snack of choice. If I have them in the house, they don’t last long. I’ll do my best with self-control by pouring a portion into a bowl and closing up the bag before chowing down, but when I’m finished, I’ll do that “just a couple more” thing and keep on going. And don’t get me started on Doritos Locos Tacos from the Bell or my love of Doritos huevos at home, where I crush chips up in my hands and sprinkle the crumbs into the goopy whites of my over-easy eggs before flipping them and cooking them in, then placing unbroken triangles of crunch around the final product like red-speckled rays of sunlight.


2.        I’m generally meh on nachos because they’re just so inconsistent and annoying — all the good stuff piled on the top, overloaded chips that get soggy and fall apart under the weight of the meat and beans, congealing cheese if you don’t eat them fast enough, and empty chips at the end. For fuck’s sake, just give me some tacos.


That said, you will never hear me complain about the inspired nachos from Cochino Taco — Johnny “The Squeaky Bean” Ballen’s whimsical restaurants around Denver (I’m particularly enamored with the vibe and staff at the Edgewater location) — because a) Doritos! b) the queso dip and c) the portion size.


For sure, I’m always sad when I’m chomping that last bite, but part of what makes this playful dish work so well is that you’re not getting a monster mountain of tortilla chips and toppings that slowly grows cold and squelchy if you don’t eat it quickly enough. This is basically a personal plate of nachos (okay, you can share if you want to) piled high with tasty ground beef, pico de gallo, and pickled jalapeños, drizzled with just the right amount of gooey cheesy goodness.


Each chip delivers the nostalgic lunchbox punch of that beloved nacho cheese Doritos powder, along with some meaty umami beefiness, salty melty queso drippiness, and a quick li'l pico and pickle pop. That last bit of acid keeps every bite from being weighed down in all of its savory fatty flavor. And the perfect proportion of the dish means no chip need go naked. (But let’s be honest, even if you did end up with a couple plain old Doritos at the end, who’s to complain?)


The whole dish is basically a guilty pleasure piled with more guilty pleasures. And you know what? When “these times” just feels like too much, when you start to sense those seasonal doldrums slinking their way up from the depths of your soul, or when your daily drudgery has no horizon, the indulgence of something that just tastes so childishly delicious, overpowering your lizard brain and filling your tummy with warmth and joy, consumed with friends who equally just need a fucking break… well.


Yeah.


It's just what you need.  

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