Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tackling a Preseason Gridiron Gobbler

El Burrito
Carrollton, VA

Summer loves to go out with a bang. That's why August is the hottest month of the year, and most sane Americans avoid physical exertion as much as possible.

But not every American is sane.

President Obama is an American, for instance.  Ok, maybe he isn't.

But further proof is that football players at virtually every level are practicing all day in full pads to get in shape for the regular season in 100+ degree weather.

Of course, fans like me have to get in shape too.

And what better way to prepare for four months of sitting on your butt in front of the TV, eating and drinking way too much than with the perfect football food -- NACHOS.

What could be better in the heart of Hokie country?

While hours away from Blacksburg, Carrolton is in the "757," notorious for producing Hokie greats like Bruce Smith, Michael Vick and DeAngelo Hall.

And I guess I shouldn't fail to mention non-Hokie "greats" like Lawrence Taylor, Plaxico Burress and Allen Iverson.

Still, a knock-down drag-out fight with a full plate of grease, cheese, chips and meat wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I first entered El Burrito Mexican Restaurant in Carrollton, Virginia.

In fact,  I wasn't sure what to expect.

I knew the locals loved it from all the local awards plastered all over the walls.

And I also knew they actually cared about their clientele, actually going the extra step to "comply" with Virginia's new not-as-horrible-as-North Carolina's smoking ban.

They actually had a full area completely separate from the main restaurant where patrons could still light up like they lived in a free country or something.

But what to order?

I started off with a Dos Equis on drought while I perused the menu.

It was substantial with many nice choices. They even had a "build your own" burrito that they "dared you to eat."

I thought about it while munching on chips dipped in their red and white salsas (both were excellent).

But another item on the menu was taunting me, challenging me and daring me to just "try it" if I thought I had what it took.

The "Hokies on Fire" Nachos.

No, this is not what happens when Virginia Tech players catch gonorrhea.

This is a full plate of chips, onions, green peppers, jalapenos, avocado, chorizo, shrimp and nacho cheese sauce with EXTRA heat.

 As a graduate of a Division III school, I knew I had to accept the challenge, so the match up was set.

My Division III stomach versus a bona-fide, top-ten ranked Division I plate of food.

Before I even placed the order, I was already getting nervous and began draining Dos Equis.

The plate came out hot -- and full.

I began with a chip with chorizo, avocado and cheese sauce . . . and that one bite changed my whole strategy.

It was creamy, spicy, greasy and GOOD.  Exactly what you want in a plate of nachos.

I had prepared rush through the "competition" just to prove I could down the whole thing. But it tasted too good!

I thought to myself, if I just enjoyed this plate of nachos for all it was worth, but couldn't finish it, was I really losing?

I decided the answer was no.
 But it turns out, I did finish the whole thing, and I loved every bite.

The Hokies on Fire Nachos would make any top ten list of best Nachos whether there ever actually is a BCS playoff or not.

On my way out, I halfway expected to hear some jeering from Hokie fans claiming the plate of nachos "wasn't at full strength."

You see, I asked for my order without carrots which was supposed to included with the order.  My guess is, that was added to match Virginia Tech orange.

But all I heard was silence.  Maybe Hokie fans recognize that if one of your team colors translates as a carrot in the food world, you should just shut the hell up.

Whether they do or not, I'm ready for some football.

Rating: Seriously Thought About Buying the Shirt

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