This year Cinco de Mayo falls on a Saturday. Now I wont be going to Mexico to celebrate nor will I be hitting up a Mexican restaurant in Sofia now that Taqueria has closed but I will be participating in Sofia’s Third Annual Nacho Competition. That’s right the third annual competition.
Last year we had a grand-old time. I expect this year will be no different. The only thing that I hope will be different is that instead of earning an honorable mention for my nachos, I’d like to win first place.
That’s why I am stepping my nachos up to a whole new level.
First thing first, I roped in two nacho consultants. My old roommates, dear friends, food lovers and serious meat eaters N. and S.
These guys love meat and cooking so much that one year when I asked to have a birthday turkey-fry in the middle of May they jumped right on board and we invited all of our friends to the fry party. The invitations encouraged everyone to bring something t fry dishes included: french fries, onion rings, pickles, green beans, oreos and twinkies to name a few. We fried food, drank beer and had a fantastic time.
I figured that if these two couldn’t help me come up with a winning nacho no one could. Luckily even State-side these two jumped at the opportunity to help me.
Next I told them that this was my year. I was abandoning clever and creative to focus my energies on making a serious nacho. They asked me what I thought made the previous winners stand out. I told them: flavor.
A flurry of emails later I was convinced that we were on to something great. While I wouldn’t be making my own chips because I can’t get my hands on any corn tortillas here in Bulgaria, I can do a lot of other things. So I am going to make my own meat rub. I’ll slow cook meat for 4 or so hours. I plan on putting together a creamy cheese sauce. And I’ll dice up everything I need for homemade salsa.
So today when I got back to Sofia after spending the long weekend Skopje and Ohrid, I went to Billa. I had nachos on my mind.
For the record, I also had to pick up some groceries and toilet paper. I figured that I’d buy chips and avocados now. The chips because it seems that Hit is no longer carrying plain tortilla chips and I figured that I need to stock up and the avocados because I wanted to make sure that they were ripe enough for my nachos on Saturday. Much to my dismay there were no avocados.
I also figured that I could check out the meat. I need some pork ribs to slow cook. I basically never buy meat in Bulgaria because I don’t cook meat at home. This is mostly because in my life before Bulgaria, I was a vegetarian for almost four years. Now I eat meat out in restaurants or in other people’s homes.
This said, I haven’t spent a lot of time peering into the cooler cases at Billa. There’s a lot of meat there. By in large I can tell pork from chicken but I know nothing about cuts of meat. At Billa, I was surprised to find that the pork ribs didn’t jump out at me. I figured that I’d know them when I saw them.
Only I didn’t see them. Or I didn’t see what I expected to see–this happens sometimes in foreign countries. I found what I thought might be pork ribs but then I figured why buy what you think might be right if you can come back the next day and buy the right thing?!
So I came home and looked up ribs on google translate: ребра (rebra). I emailed N. to ask him to send me a picture of uncooked pork ribs (see the orange box along the side). I never imagined that I’d have to ask a friend for this. Luckily, he’s crazy about food and responded right away. To confirm, I tweeted the question and the link out to my loyal readers. The answer came back: ребра. Hum. Maybe I should have looked this up before I went to the store. Oh well. Now I know.
Today begins my five day quest for a winning nacho dish. Wish me luck!