Nobody loves Taco Bell more than I do. Taco Bell is my favorite fast food restaurant, and if Taco Bell were a person, we'd be married right now, with 2.5 horrific taco-human hybrid babies. So when I heard that the Bell was coming out with breakfast, angels sang a chorus in my direction. I was both excited and scared. What if...what if it wasn't any good? What if...it was amazing?
'Taco Bell' on Serious Eats
Taco Bell is back with two add-ons to their after dinner menu. And while one of them is an utter waste of time, money, and calories, the other has me secretly plotting my next run for the border.
Today's post was supposed to be an easy one. Try Taco Bell's new Triple Steak Stack, write a few words for and against, spend an inordinate amount of time taking photos, and call it a wrap. But somewhere along the way, it got more complicated than that. Complications involving a Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla and a duel to the death (of a sandwich).
Taco Bell is testing a new breakfast item at select locations in Orange County: a lightly-fried waffle in the shape of a hard taco shell stuffed with sausage and egg and served with a packet of maple syrup.
The folks at Taco Bell and Frito-Lay have joined forces to bring us the next generation of taco-chip hybrids: the Doritos Locos Tacos Doritos in both Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch flavors. That's right, a chip version of the taco version of a chip. So meta. We kind of wanted to hate them, but really couldn't.
Oh lookie here, a trio of Taco Bell Loaded Grillers, the new 99-cent wraps. Loaded Grillers come in Spicy Chicken, Beefy Nacho, and Loaded Potato format, and they're mostly all right. Let's break 'em down.
Churros and a Caramel Apple Empanada are a natural fit at the Bell, but a Chocolate Chip Cookie-Frosting Sandwich? Just like in the old "Sesame Street" song, one of these things just doesn't belong.
Let's look past the bean & cheese. Obama may not have mentioned this in his DNC speech, but as a nation it is imperative that we move past the bean & cheese as the only available option for vegetarians at our taco chains. The B&C has its place, of course, but we were looking for more than just sloppy pinto beans and greasy cheese in this tasting. Taco Bell, Del Taco, Chipotle, Baja Fresh, Rubios and Wahoos battle it out for the title of best vegetarian burrito.
Over the past month, we've covered many different chain tacos (see: carnitas, steak, ground beef, and fish). After weeks of staring at the same menus in the same national chains, one thing became abundantly clear: all of them serve chicken. So this round of the chain taco tasting was epic. Winners and losers revealed!
Who cooks the best carne tacos? Or, really, who even bothers to try making their tacos taste like carne asada? We tried 16 different steak taco options from some of the most well-known taco chains. Taco Bell, Del Taco, Baja Fresh, Rubio's, Chipotle, Qdoba, and Wahoo's. Some, of course, were better than others.
Save your steak burritos for another day. Leave your carnitas at home. We're talking ground beef tacos, the absolute baseline for Mexican fast food eats. Heck, a few chains that don't otherwise mess with the Mex at all (ahem, Jack in the Box) even have ground beef tacos on their board. So who has the tastiest, beefiest tacos? We found out.
The fast food commentariat lost its collective mind when Taco Bell introduced the Doritos Loco Taco in March—simply a Taco Bell beef taco transplanted out of its plain corn case and into a Dorito-sanctioned hard shell—but I rolled my eyes and dismissed it as a clumsy blunt force gimmick. My mistake: the Doritos Loco has since become the best-selling Taco Bell product of all time. And turns out, it's worth a lot of the hype and all of the $1.29.
But if my defense of Taco Bell is based on the notion that a sub-buck burrito is going to come with a certain degree of mystery and modified corn starch, what's to be made of the new Triple Steak Stack? This baby costs $4.99, making it one of the more expensive standalone items on the fast food market.
The last time I ate a burrito from Taco Bell was not a pleasant experience. But I steeled my stomach and headed in to try their new Beefy Crunch Burrito. Fritos in a burrito—I feel like Taco Bell stole my third-grade sandwich technique.
It seems as though flatbread is the fast-food ingredient of the hour. Dunkin' Donuts has long been promoting its egg white flatbread sandwich, and Subway began offering their sandwiches (breakfast and otherwise) on flatbreads as well. Now joining the list, Taco Bell recently introduced its Grilled Chicken Flatbread Sandwich. As I'd thought their Cantina Tacos a successful release, I was intrigued by the new offering—even a bit excited.
When I heard about Taco Bell's limited-time offer of Cantina Tacos, in classic taqueria style, I was intrigued. The promotional photos looked nearly identical to tacos I devoured from a truck in California—still, to this day, my taco ideal. Whatever meat you choose is cradled in a double-wrap of corn tortillas, with diced onions, cilantro, and lime. How did they stack up?
Glen Bell, 1923–2010. [Photograph: Earth Times] Taco Bell founder Glen Bell died yesterday. He was 86. From at YUM Brands press release: Bell's Drive-In first served a menu with hamburgers and hot dogs to its customers. However, Bell soon decided to differentiate his menu by adding Mexican fare.... Once he perfected his taco shell recipe, taco sauces and the convenient drive-thru concept, he was ready to introduce the tastes and textures of Mexican food to mainstream America. Interesting to note, Bell founded a model produce farm and park called Bell Gardens that "provided educational programs that stressed the importance of agriculture and how to preserve our natural resources." [via @SamSifton]...
Photograph from Tavallai on Flickr The magicians at fast-food chains come up with all sorts of edible creations--each one a little less likely than the last. The San Francisco Weekly lists ten of the world's weirdest, including the White Castle "chicken ring," a Tuna Pie (erk) at Jollibee in the Philippines, and Pita Snacks from Jack in the Box. But are these really the strangest ones out there? I think Domino's Bread Bowl Pasta definitely qualifies. The Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme, too. And there's always McD's--looking beyond our own borders, McDonald's in Hong Kong has served seaweed-flavored French fries; New Zealand, a Quarter Pounder topped with egg and beetroot; and in the Philippines, sweet tomato pasta with hot dogs...
On The Onion’s morning news show video spoof “Today Now,” there’s a feature on Taco Bell’s new “100% Green Menu.” What makes it all green, you ask? None of the ingredients are taken from nature—so there’s zero environmental impact! “After all,” the fast food rep reminds us, “at Taco Bell, we have a long tradition of taking as little as possible from the natural world!” The video, after the jump....
Note: I got to visit the Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine, California, this week, hence all of this impressive knowledge. "It is true. I am back." First introduced last September, the Volcano Taco appeared on Taco Bell's menu for only three months. Whether it was the red crunchy taco shell (just the normal one with artificial dyes) or the spicy orange goop (which goes by "Lava Sauce") or the limited-time-only appeal, people were into it. Really into it. When it disappeared from menus, Facebook groups formed with folks acting like it was the fast-food apocalypse--even worse than when the Crazy Gordita Crunch left us. Thankfully, all the members of "I Refuse to Go to Taco Bell Until They Bring Back...