Anyone can open a bag of Dorritos and a jar of El Paso salsa, but a quick trip to Kensington Market can transform nachos into party art.[rssbreak]
Start at La Tortilleria (68 Wales, at Leonard, 416-546-5516) for bags of house-made corn chips ($2.39/$9.37), or make your own from scratch with fresh tortillas ($3 kilo/$1.75 half) or weekend-only blue organic corn tortillas. Don't forget to pick up a couple of tubs of relatively mild green tomatillo and super-hot red chipotle salsas ($3.67) for dipping, and a ball of mozzarella-like Oaxaca cheese ($5.80/180 g) to melt over the chips.
Head to Emporium Latino (243 Augusta, at Baldwin, 416-351-9646) for bags of red, blue and yellow corn chips ($5.49). Better still, buy a kilo of red and green tortillas and make your own festive chips. If you're too lazy to make refried beans from scratch with pinto beans ($1/lb), go with cans of refried beans ($2.35/580 g) if you don't mind the overload of lard and salt. Four or five jalapeño peppers ($1.99/lb) and a bunch of green onions (50 cents) make a great garnish.
And if you really want to annoy your vegan friends, pop into Segovia Meats (218 Augusta, at Baldwin, 416-593-9904) across the street for some hot Mexican sausage ($5.45/lb) to cook and crumble overtop.
To assemble the nachos, place the refried beans in an ovenproof bowl on a large ovenproof platter. Surround the bowl with corn chips and dress the chips with shredded cheese and optional sausage. Bake platter in a 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cheese melts and the beans are heated. Garnish with slivered onions and diced peppers.