DC Nacho Adventures: Part III: El Tamarindo (a.k.a the nacho from hell)

Where to begin? I am not even going to bother with scoring this one, but I will try to provide some context.

It was late at night, I’ll admit, around midnight, so my expectations were lower than normal. I was delighted to find a place serving late night american/mexican food, so I was willing to relax my standards. Good thing.

The nachos looked good when they arrived, piled high with cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, but it was all down hill from there.

A distinctly funky taste was noticable – which I came to pinpoint as slightly “off” (as in moldy) cheese, so there was a little “sweat socks” vibe going on. Given the context, that did not deter me – too much. I still picked around, taking chips from the bottom with less cheese.

That’s when I noticed their “secret ingredient,” a small brown bit, about the size of a peanut, but flatter.

I’m used to finding random burnt cheese bits or whatever fell into the fryer with the chips. I don’t like it, but I wasn’t going to raise a fit over that. The size and shape concerned me though, so I examined the “bit” a little closer (this is gross, but I even smelled it).

I can’t tell you exactly what it was, but I can tell you that it had legs and some kind of scaley body. Clearly (and I say this with total confidence) it was a bug. Still not wanting to make a fuss unless I was sure – I examined the specimin closer, my appetite vanished and I waited for our waiter to check on us so we could discuss this interesting nacho topping.

The conversation was in spanish, so I may not have expressed myself as clearly as I would have liked, but I got across that I had found a bug in the nachos and that I would not be finishing them. The waiter was very appologetic after looking at the bug, and took the plate away.

I figured that he would take the nachos off the bill and we could be on our way. Then the manager comes out and explains to me that it was not a bug, but a dried cranberry. He even went back into the kitchen to bring out a dried cranberry on a plate for me to inspect. They of course looking nothing alike, after all, cranberries don’t have legs, but the manager would not be swayed. They offered to bring me a free drink, or a flan perhaps.

I couldn’t even imagine eating anything else at that point, so I declined, still certain that they would not request that we pay for the nachos.

Our bill comes, and they leave the nachos on there! Of course I am then livid – wishing I had brought up the fact of the moldy cheese, but also knowing that it probably wouldn’t have made a difference to them. I am realizing more and more eating out in DC, I have to be very clear about what I want when I speak to waiters/managers at restaurants.

It’s not enough to point out that there is a roach in your food. Instead I should say, “Excuse me, there is a bug in my nachos. Please take these away, as I feel as though I might vomit. Also, could you please take these off of my bill, as that might encourage me not to call the health department about this incident? Comp-ing our entire bill actually might be the best thing. Thanks so much.”

I’ll try that next time, but not at El Tamarindo, as I will NEVER be eating there again.


2 thoughts on “DC Nacho Adventures: Part III: El Tamarindo (a.k.a the nacho from hell)

  1. go get’em girl…call the health dept. we need to protect one another…
    at least get the inspector some more money in bribes.

  2. You should try Mixtec on Columbia for your mexican/central american food fix – DC’s full of Salvadorenos, so the good places have a good Salvador-Mexico mix. I used to live just down the street and it was my favorite. Don’t know if they have nachos though.

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