On the quest for the champion-chip

Maggie Wright

One of the most important factors that goes into making a good batch of nachos is freshness; nothing is worse than a soggy tortilla chip. The folks at Ixtapa Grill in Hamden certainly know how to get their chips to the tables before the cheese and guacamole sink in. They are piping hot, crispy, fresh and extremely delicious.

In fact, they were so good that if my nacho tasting journey was a competition, Ixtapa would be awarded the blue ribbon. Huge pieces of tomato and chicken were hidden underneath the mounds of melted cheese, sour cream and guacamole. The helping was overloaded with toppings, so I would recommend sharing or being prepared to leave with a doggie bag.

The atmosphere is festive, and the service is friendly; if you catch the wait staff on a good night they might be giving away free Corona key chains and other goodies.

I especially enjoy visits to El Amigo Felix because the crowd is fun, it’s easy to get to and they can make a decent margarita. The vibe inside resembles more of a bar than a restaurant with wooden booths and Tecate (popular Mexican beer) flags strung across the ceiling. The place was empty when I visited on Wednesday afternoon, but the bar usually has a decent crowd of mostly Quinnipiac and Yale students.

Their nachos were altogether a good recipe, including small bits of breaded chicken, lots of cheese, tomato slices and jalape