The first time we took a trip to Kip’s Grill & Cantina, it didn’t go smoothly. We pulled into the quite full parking lot (that should have been our warning) and made our way into the Pagosa Springs restaurant we had heard so much about. And, evidentially so had everyone else in Colorado.
The place was completely packed with guests filling every chair at every table and all the seats at the bar. We stood at the doorway, unsure of whether to turn back or hope a spot would open up soon. A frazzled waitress approached, letting us know that seats at the bar would open up in the next 20 minutes; however, we soon grew tired of dancing around the other patrons moving in and out and about the restaurant, and decided to try Kip’s another day.
And so we did.
The second try was much less hectic, probably because we visited late in the day on a weekend. We made ourselves at home in a small corner, admiring the license plates and skiing/snowboarding decor that littered the walls. Truly a food haven that asked for nothing fussy, just that you come as you are.
It didn’t take us long to choose our drinks – a Pomegranate Margarita and a Mudslide Milkshake, aka a chocolate martini, that came with graceful swirls of chocolate syrup at the bottom of the glass, to preemptively take the edge off the upcoming Monday.
After my companion ordered the chips and salsa fresca and some Dos Dynamite Diablos tacos, I decided that, though their tacos seemed to be what they’re known for, I would try the nachos to spice things up. Quite literally, actually.
The nachos arrived as a gargantuan stack of chips, black beans cooked with green chilis, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. I added chicken for good measure.
The Dos Dynamite Diablos tacos, on the other hand, were two tacos with two roasted hatch green chilis stuffed with mozzarella cheese and top sirloin in a corn and flour tortilla.
The nachos were a beautiful amalgam of textures and colors. I barely knew where to begin, but I found my way, of course. They were immediately satisfying in the way that only nachos can be. While I prefer my nachos drenched in queso rather than shredded cheese, I could hardly complain as my visit to what Anthony Bourdain refers to as Flavortown had just begun. The jalapeños and green chilis provided just enough spice to keep me reaching for my water glass, while the sour cream and guac served as a nice balance.
Across from me and my Mt. Nacho plate, my companion quietly shoveled back the tacos as one does when they are in food heaven. I wanted to give them a try as well, but I could tell these tortillas were probably not for sharing.
For my next visit, I hope to try the infamous tacos, because, despite my delicious nachos, I am clearly missing out.