Nadir - Noun: (1) The lowest point in the fortunes of a person or organization. (2) The point on the celestial sphere directly below an observer.
I thought I knew what absolute bottom was, especially after reading and typing out the definition of Nadir above, but I was wrong. There are depths below that, places where even dwarves dare not dig and Lovecraftian horrors would never burrow. If Satan in the seventh circle of Hell had a basement, and there was a sub-basement below that, the bottom I’m talking about is deeper than even that, much deeper. It is this crushing darkness where you will find Concession Nachos, the lowest form of nacho life. But I am here today to tell you that there are infinite gulfs below even this, and after an eternity of falling, when you do finally reach the bottom, you will find but one occupant waiting for you. That lonely creature is the Concession Nachos at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Named after the prominent local and national politician Paul E. Tsongas, the arena is home to the University of Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks Ice Hockey team. In addition to sports, the arena also hosts concerts and was the recording place of such live albums as The Pixies “The Pixies: Come Home Live 2004 World Tour” and “Songs from Tsongas” by Yes. The boxing scenes from the Oscar nominated 2010 film The Fighter were also filmed here. With all these great events occurring there it is a travesty that their nachos are so awful.
The phrase “phoning it in” doesn’t even apply here. The epic level of laziness on display here is mind blowing. At most this is the bare minimum that you can do to differentiate a prepared meal from the ingredients of a meal. Even the worst fast food places I’ve been to don’t serve your food unprepared in a bag. The closest thing I can compare it to is the “prepared” food you might pick up at a gas station, but I feel even they would take the chips out of the bag before sticking them in a warming tray. I expected Concession Nachos to be bad, but I never expected them to be this bad.
So what exactly do we have here? A bag of chips, a plastic container, and some squeeze cheese. Tostitos chips are fine, nothing special, but you at least know that they’re going to be fresh since you’re taking them right out of the bag yourself. When it comes to the container, it’s possible they serve you the chips in the bag so it looks like you’re actually getting a good deal of chips, as the 15 or so in the bag wouldn’t nearly cover the designated chip area. The cheese has the look and texture you’d expect from a product that was extruded from something that’s a close relative to the soft serve machine. It was a little spicier than what I would expect, but that’s a surprise like getting into an accident with a Delorean is. Sure, it’s out of the ordinary, but it’s still a car wreck. Also the cheese to chip ratio was about 5:1, and that’s with generous scoops. What the hell?
I’ve commented before that you don’t often see circular chips at restaurants, but I also can’t think of a time I’ve seen non-circular chips used in Concession Nachos. Are circular chips cheaper and that’s why they’re readily available at concession stands? Worth an investigation? Perhaps, but to do so would be like that doctor who studied the effects of typhoid by testing it on himself. I may be thinking of a different disease, or making up this example entirely, but the point is I’ll martyr myself so you can learn from my nacho mistakes.
If you go and watch some sort of sports game or musical concert at the Tsongas arena, bring your own nachos because what you’re getting here amounts to not even glorified chips and dip, and you know my opinions on chips and dip, i.e. this isn’t Chip-and-dip-onomics. I thought regular Concession Nachos were terrible, but it can always get worse. Much, much worse.