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.
'qdoba' on Serious Eats
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!
Carnitas is never easy to master, especially in a fast food setting. Yet, several chains offer the porky delight. Which makes the best version of carnitas tacos? We tried Chipotle, Qdoba, Wahoo's, Baja Fresh and Del Taco, and managed to emerge with a few tasty choices.
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.
Even though Bostonians are deprived of real Californian Mexican food, we still have enough Mex-run taquerias and burriterias around that I've never felt the urge to go to Qdoba. I haven't avoided Qdoba on purpose, I've just never trained the fast-food-chain-shopping part of my brain to sync up with the burrito-eating part: I've never been to Chipotle, either. But I found a reason to try Qdoba last week when I saw a poster for their Mexican gumbo.
It was less than a year ago that Taco Bell released their Cantina Tacos—soft corn tortilla-wrapped numbers I deemed a real success (for the fast food world). Now, Qdoba has just introduced a limited-time-only street taco meal. How did they stack up?