Monday, October 18, 2010
Fast Food Review: Taco Bell XXL Chalupa
But sometimes Taco Bell comes out with an item - like, say, the Volcano Taco - that I actually want to try. They're never particularly good, the best I hope for is "not bad," but all things considered, I do not hate Taco Bell like I used to. (I went more than a decade refusing to eat there.)
Other times chance and circumstance just make me wind up at Taco Bell. The other day I was running an errand that took longer than I anticipated and I developed a crushing headache from not having eaten all day. There was a Taco Bell less than one hundred feet from where I was so I figured why not?
I waited in a line of eight people that moved at an unnecessarily slow pace. Did you ever see the Family Guy where Stewie takes the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation through the McDonald's drive-through and one of them wants a Shamrock Shake (in September), Patrick Stewart wants breakfast (at 3 PM), and another guy wants a McDLT (which was discontinued in 1990)? That's what it felt like.
I ordered the XXL Chalupa without their "fiesta salsa," something I tried once and found disgusting. After a ten-minute wait or so, I received my box. I took it to the car and unwrapped it. Curiously, all the sour cream was on one end of the Chalupa. (The next day I read a review of this same product on The Impulsive Buy, and the writer had received the exact same thing. Maybe that's how they're supposed to be?)
I took a bite. I'm not sure how to judge this thing. Was it terrible? No. Was it good? No, not at all. The shell was crispy and large, but the beef was the same oily, low-quality beef that Taco Bell uses in all their tacos. There was supposed to be a blend of three cheeses and a nacho cheese sauce but none of that had any taste.
The sour cream was "low fat sour cream." This made me smile. The chalupa has 650 calories - more than half of which are from fat - and 39 grams of fat. I'm trying to imagine the person who said "You know, we should make the sour cream 'low fat' or this thing could get a little unhealthy."
The chalupa could have been a lot worse. That's about the best thing I can say for it. I didn't hate it but considering how unhealthy it is, not to mention I can think of several dozen better places to stop for tacos in Pasadena, it's not something I'll ever get again.
Happily, I tried both of Taco Bell's new sauces: salsa verde and fire roasted. And they were both delicious. The salsa verde tasted like mild green peppers and tomatillos and the fire roasted salsa actually tasted like roasted tomatoes, with a sneaky spice. They are among the best fast food hot sauces I have ever tried, and they are unquestionably the best thing I have ever eaten from Taco Bell.
Posted by JustinM at 10:58 AM