Taco Bell (yes, you read that right)

You gotta have a gimmick.”  Ethel Merman

Eatery:   Taco Bell, found everywhere throughout these United States.

Nothing is too lowbrow for these pages.  That is why you are about to read a piece about Taco Bell.

I have a soft spot in my heart for The Bell.  As a youngster in Dayton, Ohio, my first encounter with “Mexican” food came during a stop at our local Taco Bell (at the time the only one in a town that was somewhat lacking in international influences) while my family was out having a Sunday drive.  I don’t remember how old I was but the fact that I was still willing to drive around with my parents and brother on a Sunday tells me that I could not have been much older than 8 years.  Anyway, I remember falling in love with that first taco bite – the crunchy outside paired up with the meaty goodness inside sucked me right in.  Before long, because our Taco Bell wasn’t all that close to where we lived, we were regular purchasers of the Ortega taco kit.  Probably about once a week or so, if memory serves (“I like making them! I like eating them!” This will only make sense to you if you’re of a certain age….go ask your parents).

Through living all over the U.S. and in the U.K., through travel across the globe, through two husbands – all the experiences that expose you to a gauntlet of cuisines – for decades I clung to the notion that Taco Ball is awesome.  I do confess that this is partly because I really, really like using a spork.  It’s only been in the last 6 months that I was finally able to admit to myself that….well….Taco Bell is not all that great in reality, though I continue to secretly (well, not so secretly once this is published) love it anyway.  Kind of like that boy you know is no good, but you just can’t help yourself.

Doritos Locos Taco as show in advertising (www.tacobell.com)

But hope springs eternal, and that’s why I was psyched to try the recently introduced Doritos Locos Taco – a Taco Bell taco served in a shell made from Nacho Cheese Doritos Chips.   This is a fantasy come true for me – it combines something I adored from my childhood with the kind of cross-promotion that speaks to the marketing junkie within.  I only wish it actually came served in the little Doritos bag they show in the marketing materials.  Instead, it comes in a still-snappy looking yet emotionally unsatisfying cardboard sleeve. Sigh.

Doritos Locos Taco, as experienced in real life (photo by MJ Byers)

The big question:  marketing gimmick or tasty meal?  I was soooo hoping for the latter but, sadly, it’s more the former.  Now, to be fair, I didn’t try the Doritos Locos Taco head to head against the regular Taco Bell Taco – it didn’t seem appropriate as a basis for judgment as I prefer to evaluate food in the absolute.  Had I done that, I’m sure I would say that the new item is a marked improvement on its older sibling.  But, without benefit of comparison, the boost on the de rigueur Taco Bell blandness is slight (maybe they should have used Cool Ranch instead?), and the biggest impact this item makes is the mess of the nacho cheese powder on your hands.

Sorry, Taco Bell.  It’s not you……it’s me.  I’ve changed, grown, moved on.  But if you do something really nice for me, I might come back.  Call me……

Price:  $1.69.  Say what you will about running for the border, but it’s still a spectacular value.

Destination Meal:  Absolutely not.

Fat/Calorie Worthy:  At only 200 calories (170 for the non-Supreme version) the answer is, surprisingly, probably.  Who knew?

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1 Comment

  1. Rafique says:

    PREP TIME 10 MinCOOK TIME 30 MinREADY IN 40 Min ΙΝGREDIENTS1 pound lean ground beef1 (1.25 ounce) paakcge taco seasoning mix1 (16 ounce) can chili beans1 (16 ounce) bottle French dressing1 head iceberg lettuce1 (14.5 ounce) paakcge tortilla chips2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese1 cup chopped tomatoes4 tablespoons sour cream1/2 cup prepared salsa DIRECTIONSIn a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef and drain excess fat. Stir in the taco seasoning, chili beans and French-style dressing. Fill the dressing bottle 2/3 full of water and add to the skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.Crush the bag of chips, open the bag, and toss the broken chips into a large bowl with the lettuce, cheese and tomatoes. When the meat mixture is done, combine it with the lettuce, tomatoes, chips and mix well. Then, add salsa and sour cream.

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