Georgia on my mind!
That's what the road signs say when you cross the state line into Georgia (along with "Home of the 1996 Olympics" - really? nothing else since then?) but I had more on my mind than just Georgia, the state.
I also had Georgia, the nachos on my mind!
My destination, the sultry southern town of Savannah - home of trees dripping with moss, temperatures humid enough to give you the vapours and SCAD!
What's SCAD? That's the first thing you see everywhere when you get to town: SCAD on everything (it's there on the sign to the right, even if it looks like "SCAP"). I'll go ahead and hip you to what it means so you don't have to suffer like I did: Savannah College of Art and Design.
Which I figured was a good sign, right? I mean, where's there's art students, good nachos are bound to follow!
I parked the smart car that I'd been driving up from Florida along the main drag in Savannah (right across from the SCAD theater!) and made my way over to the Riverfront district just a few blocks away. I spotted quite a few quaint squares in the city full of trees overflowing with moss and was pretty satisfied. Now if only someone would hand me a Mint Julep and a plate of nachos I'd be set!
In order to get to the Riverfront district, you have to negotiate some pretty narrow, cobblestone-y and impressively old time-y looking stairs. I saw a few....horizontally challenged of my fellow countrymen making their way down the stairs with a couple of close calls, but, thankfully, I didn't see any incidents.
The Riverfront district is basically Savannah's equivalent of 6th Street in Austin, complete with cheep beer places, overpriced restaurants and lots of people in shorts that should never show any part of their flesh above the knee.
This part of the town was also where they happened to unload the slave ships and put slaves up for auction. Not too much fun, that. What I thought was interesting though was that, even thought the British made slavery illegal, the Savannah forefathers keep on bringin' 'em in anyway.
I stopped into a local dive and helped myself to a brew (no Mint Juleps in the cheap beer places, sorry) while reading the local indie paper. Everyone was watching The Masters on TV, which was a little strange because it was going on right that moment in Augusta, which just just a little over a hundred miles away, so the weather was exactly the same in both places, which is to say, pretty crappy.
Which would have sucked if I came to Savannah for golf, which I didn't. I think we all know what I stopped in Savannah for - and it wasn't a mint julep !!
I wandered away from the tourist district, figuring that wasn't going to be the nacho nirvana that I was looking for. I did eyeball nachos on the menu at one of the waterfront drinking holes, but I figured I'd better try my luck elsewhere.
So I made way way back up the old time-y cobblestone-y stairs, saw some more cool trees dripping with moss (click for bigger image) and went over to Bay Street, which is like the district for aging hipsters which, I figured, I've sadly become.
Not more than a few blocks down the street I spotted a local craft brewery called Moon River Brewing Company. Being a fan of craft beer, Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Tiffany's, I thought I might be onto something. I look at their menu confirmed it - they were nacho positive!
I ordered a pale ale (they had no IPAs on tap that day) and my plate of nachos and prepared myself for the feast of Nachos Ria Luna. The description looked simple enough:
Nacho chips topped with nacho cheese, black olives, jalepenos, tomatoes, red onion, lettuce and black bean corn relish.
Sounds great, right? How hard is it to f**k up nachos right?
Actually, not too hard, it turns out. I glossed over something in the description that should have set alarm bells ringing in my head - take a look at those first words again, "nacho cheese." Not cheddar (which is still wrong), not monterey jack, not queso blanco....but "nacho cheese."
But then - isn't any cheese that you put on top of nachos, by definition, nacho cheese?
Unless.....by "nacho cheese" they mean...oh my god no....not my arch nemesis RICO again!!!!
However, my fears were quickly assuaged when my Rio Luna nachos were presented to me. I'll put the picture down here again so you can take a gander.
Black bean relish...check!
And what's that there on the top?
Looks like just plain old regular cheese! Thank god!
I quickly dug into the nachos...
....and just like Georgia's earlier swashbuckling residents, the pirates, I soon found the hidden buried treasure...a treasure golden in color, but, so far as I was concerned, not deserving of the name.
For, hidden underneath the delicious outer shell of normal nachos, there lurked a creature so hideous that even Blackbeard himself would be afraid to venture close ....it was...yes....my arch enemy RICO CHEESE!!!!
What Moon River Brewery had done was conceal a layer of fake "nacho cheese" beneath an otherwise tasty layer of nachos. Oh the humanity!!!
I scraped off and downed as much as I could of the first layer but, I must tell you, in all honesty ladies and gentlemen, this is the first plate of nachos that I couldn't finish. I think it would have been better if they just had the crappy cheese on top to begin with. Beyond that, I've NEVER seen real, normal cheese mixed with "nacho cheese"
That's world's colliding!!
All I can do is ask WHY, Moon River Brewery!
For the love of god WHYYYYYY??!!!!