This Wednesday, October 21, is the best day possible for you to go over the recommended serving size on one of the most beloved Tex-Mex dishes in recent history: the nacho. International Nacho Day is fast approaching, and with it comes an interesting history of the popular tortilla-and-cheese snack. Invented in the 1940s by one Ignacio Anaya, the nacho as we know it today was actually a product of both pity and ingenuity on the part of Anaya. While all the ingredients and components were available and even close together in the kitchen he worked in, he is the first known man to put them together into the famous food we know today.
According to an excellent article written by Time magazine, which itself found information from research found within an Oxford English Dictionary newsletter, Anaya's invention of the Tex-Mex treat was by and large one of happenstance. As the story goes, Anaya, a chef at the Victory Club in the border city of Piedras Negras, was working his shift when a group of multiple wives of United States soldiers drifted in. They were hungry for any sort of meal, since the surrounding restaurants were closed, and even the Victory Club itself was largely out of food for the day. Feeling sorry for the women, he decided to take what remained of the day's cooking and throw it together to make at least some victuals for the hungry group. These ingredients were, of course, fried tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, and jalapeños. An immediate hit with the group and frequently talked about and served afterwards, the nacho became Anaya's signature dish and a constant in food culture going forward.
In the years to come, Ignacio Anaya and his son Ignacia Anaya Junior attempted to acquire legal ownership of the recipe for the nacho, but the concept had already become too widespread and well-used for them to attempt to rein it in. This immediate popularity is the reason that we have an International Day of the Nacho to begin with. So, armed with this brief history, enjoy the Tex-Mex classic heartily come this October 21.
Here are four places around town to help you do just that.
The Rum House
Considering the highlighted quote on Google's reviews for The Rum House is "The nachos are the best I have ever eaten," you probably will struggle to go wrong with their selection of the Tex-Mex delicacy. Located on the ever-popular Magazine Street, The Rum House has a variety of Caribbean-inspired menu items for you to enjoy. While their self-admitted most famous item is their beloved taco, do not let that stop you from ordering a plate of their equally delicious nachos, come this Wednesday. 3128 Magazine St, (504) 934-3333, therumhouse.com
Felipe's Mexican Taqueria
Felipe's Mexican Taqueria has a very simple mission, listed plainly on their website: "To throw our neighborhood a party every day." Their vision is not far off from this sentiment: "To be loved by our guests and team." As reviews and the like show, they are clearly hitting both benchmarks. As a local chain, Felipe's Mexican Taqueria has a few locations scattered around, and all of them serve burritos, tacos, salads, quesedillas, and, of course, nachos. Multiple Locations, felipestaqueira.com
Juan's Flying Burrito
It's a bit of an eccentric name, but do not let that distract you from Juan's Flying Burrito's premium menu, including nachos. Open on Magazine Street since 1997 (among other locations), this Tex-Mex-focused eatery is unique in its blending of Southern food traditions with the typical recipes you would expect. Their menu is filled with unique dishes that are a surprising and inventive mix of both cultures, and you should absolutely take the opportunity to grab a bite here. Be sure to get their nacho appetizer and something from their extensive list of margaritas and other drinks. Multiple Locations, juansflyingburrito.com
Finally, we have Cuñada on Conti Street. Open for both socially distanced dining and late-night enjoyment, Cuñada is open every day of the week from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m., so you have quite the sizable window to pay them a visit. They offer a rotating menu of authentic and high-quality Mexican foods and serve their cuisine until the wee hours of the morning. Their nachos come with a variety of topping options, ranging from cilantro to red onions. 833 Conti St., (504) 525-9200, cunadanola.com