DC Nacho Adventures: Part I, The Wonderland Ballroom

The Wonderland Ballroom
1101 Kenyon St. NW
Washington DC 20010

Update: Did Wonderland get a new cook? Cutting corners in tough economic times? Not sure, but something has changed, and WB is pretty much out of the running.

My partner and I went to see a friend’s show tonight, and of course I got some veggie nachos as a Sunday treat.  When they arrived, I actually thought they had brought the wrong ones – since there appeared to be meat chili all over the chips.  It was, instead, tvp (texturized vegetable protein, a.k.a vegetarian ground beef – same texture, takes on whatever flavor you give it for the most part).  This pleased me, though the flavor of the chili was not as good.

Then I started to notice that I wasn’t noticing much cheese….poking around, I found a nice melted glob.  I was horrified to realize, however, that WB had used fake cheese to make my nachos!  Joining the ranks of ballparks and state fairs everywhere, WB had put gooey-orange-american-type cheese sauce all over the nachos.

Now, as I mentioned before, I do have a place in my heart for the fake neon cheese sauce – but it will never rank on any nacho rating system I ever have.  So….sorry Wonderland, you’re out!

I probably need not mention, but the price was still the same (too high for too small of a portion)

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Original post:

This nacho experience made me think that perhaps I should add another category to my scoring rubric – proximity to my home – Wonderland is within stumbling distance, meaning I can have their nachos almost anytime I want (or need). I decided not to dilute my scoring, however, with geographical statistics.

Since I am writing this post after having 3 nacho experiences in DC, I will tell you upfront that these are the best tasting nachos I’ve had so far. I have had them 3 times now, which says a lot considering their price. Which brings me to their weakness, size related to the cost. Their website claims that nachos are $7, but in reality you are forced to choose “large or small” (as if anyone ever wants a “small” order of nachos), and from the size of their large order, I am afraid to find out what their small looks like. The large order is $8 something, and I could easily eat two orders myself. Now I know that might not seem like it’s saying a lot, considering my love of nachos (I can eat a lot of nachos) – which is why I say that I could “easily” eat two orders – no problem. Their serving size is laughable, and for the cost, it’s almost insulting really.

As for the taste – love the chips and the vegetarian chili. These are a very wet nacho, messy as hell. With the addition of sour cream and pico, I think I have gotten some of the nachos on some part of my clothing every time. This, to me, is a good point – though if they would serve the nachos on a plate, vs. a tiny little basket, I think I’d have the room to maneuver, and spills would be less inevitable.

I don’t think their veggie chili would be something I’d want to eat as a soup all by itself, but on the nachos, it works. I appreciate that the lack of greasy meat, and the cheese is usually fully melted. They don’t have a lot of bells and whistles; they could easily add more toppings (though who knows how much they’d charge then!), but for some reason, the flavor combo pleases me.

In sum, taste-wise, I would prefer to be eating these nachos, but for the quantity and cost, I probably won’t choose to do so very often.

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