While in Edinburgh around about Fringe time, I decided that I needed to retreat from my old standby of Viva Mexico (aka: Winner of Best Nachos in the UK So Far) and branch out to see what else was out there. After all, Columbus didn't stop just after he had found India, did he? Hell no, he kept going. There were more spice to find and more Indians/Wrongly Named People to enslave.
It was in that spirit that I entered Pancho Villas in Edinburgh, UK.
The first thing that made me nervous about my choice was the fact that the restaurant was fairly deserted but, glancing at my watch/phone, I decided that was because most people don't opt for a full Mexican dinner at 4:30PM, except for the Snow Birds hitting the buffet tables down in Tampa. Except I wasn't in Tampa, I was in the cultural capital of Scotland and, dammit, it was time to EAT.
Panchos made the selection easier for me by providing what they called a sampler platter that included, among other delights, NACHOS, salad, chips and guacamole and, as they're known back in Texas, Jalepeno Poppers!
The first thing that impressed me was the salad. Why's that, you ask? For the simple fact that this salad had DRESSING. Because, you see, if you're not familiar with how things work here in the UK, when you order salad, IT USUALLY DOESN'T COME WITH ANYTHING ON IT. In fact, when people in the UK say salad, they usually mean "lettuce." But this salad was an actual salad, with a tasty dressing, so old Pancho was off to a good start.
The nachos were a bit on the small side, but quite tasty. The highlight of this particular set of UK-ified nachos was the fact that they included red jalepeno peppers along with the ubiquitous green ones. Ole!
But, as good as the nachos were, they weren't the best part of the sampler platter. No, no, no, that honor has to go to the golden, succulent orbs of fried goodness that were the stuffed jalepenos.
Unlike most restaurants, these jalepenos weren't tossed carelessly into a vat of boiling grease from a frozen cardboard box. No, sirrreeee, these poppers were fresh. Just look at them in the picture up there to the left.
At first, I thought I was going crazy. How did such a delicious golden delicacy make it's way to my plate here in Edinburgh. Then it all became clear - we were in SCOTLAND - home of ALL THINGS FRIED.
Here's just a small sampling of some of the fried things you can get here:
Why WOULDN'T they make a delicious fried jalapeno stuffed with cream cheese?
Pancho Villas - come for the nachos, but stay for the jalepenos.