I’ve been read-skimming The Tex-Mex Cookbook by Robb Walsh, an excellent compendium of recipes, history, anecdotes about one of my favorite things: food. And Tex-Mex food in particular, something I grew up with in Houston, TX and wish southwest Ohio had more of.
I was reading the section on the Armadillo World Headquarters. The Armadillo, as it was called, was a music hall that closed New Year’s Day 1980, which was just after the first semester of my sophomore year at the University of Texas. I went to the Armadillo only three or four times. Concerts I remember were Shake Russell/Dana Cooper, Saint Elmo’s Fire, and Head East. The Wikipedia entry has a list of some of the acts that played there,
Apparently it was also known for the food. Walsh relates an anecdote about how Van Morrison played three nights there and then went on, but after Jerry Garcia told him he shouldn’t have missed the shrimp enchiladas, his agent called to schedule another performance on a night that they were served. But what matters to me is this bit: “Big Rikki was known for her nachos, which were actually whole tostadas spread with refried beans, piled high with jalapenos, and loaded with melted cheese; they were three for a dollar.”
When I read that, I remembered them. Remembered discovering them one of the times I was there, and ordering them each time I returned, sharing the pile with whoever I was with. I want them now, but I think my kitchen is too clean to reproduce the correct flavor.
The club closed after the landlord sold it so it could be torn down and replaced with an office building. A situation that formed another part of my education aside from college.