This country is always trying to pit us against each other. In politics, it’s a two party system that radicalizes the masses, the haves versus the have-nots. In sports, the blowout celebration is one final matchup that stretches narratives into ideologies and forces us to choose sides, the dabs versus the dab-nots.
Taco Bell tries the opposite, joining things together with varying success. They integrate other products such as Cinnabon and Doritos into their own items and display countless permutations of existing creations, rearranging-Titanic-deck-chairs style.
Taco Bell’s latest attempt is the much-ballyhooed Quesalupa, a combination of the quesadilla and a Chalupa. A quesadilla is kind of like a grilled soft taco with lots of cheese on it and a Chalupa is kind of like a deep fried soft taco. If menu items were human beings, I would examine the family tree pretty meticulously before letting these two get married.
Ostensibly, the Quesalupa is a Chalupa shell with pepper jack cheese inside then filled with sour cream, lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese and a protein. This, however, is no Chalupa shell. I’m sure they had to make adjustments to accommodate the pocket of melty cheese that spills out of the center, but the near-perfect crispy-chewy Chalupa armor has been depleted to a weak facsimile.
The entire Quesalupa sags in the middle, buckling to the sogginess of the cheese, without a textural counterbalance to save it. There is plenty of cheese to go around, to the point where the warm stew-like blend of ingredients exhibits the comforting consistency of a shepherd’s pie. But without the fluffy-crispy promise that a Chalupa provides, the Quesalupa falls short of expectations.
I tried the beef and chicken options and the beef comes up on top, with the salty, ground meat lending better flavor to the entire item. The chicken is bland and definitely needs outside help of a hot sauce to feel complete. The produce is typical of Taco Bell and serves to fill out the item—space-wise and color-wise—and maybe to place a pebble on top of a food pyramid quota.
Perhaps it’s a testament to the Quesalupa that the cheese blends well together. It’s a gooey affair that absorbs all the qualities of both types of cheeses offered (and the sour cream as well) to make a dairy bomb that flattens out any nuance. The center of a Quesalupa is at the same time satisfying and a bit icky, melding together like a cream of Taco Bell soup. Whether that sounds good to you or not will be the deal breaker here.
For my buck, the best Taco Bell items play with texture in a unique way and dance on the crunchy-soft line: the Crunchwrap Supreme, the Double Decker Taco, and the Chalupa.
Unfortunately for the Quesalupa, while it features the warm qualities of a steaming quesadilla, it does not take the best parts of a Chalupa, which makes it a pretty average Taco Bell item. And maybe that’s the point? People hate Trump. People love Trump. People hate Cam. People love Cam. Quesalupa? “Ehh.” On this, I think, we can all agree.
(Nutrition Facts – Beef – 460 calories, 26 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 890 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of sugar, 4 grams of fiber, 19 grams of protein. Chicken – 440 calories, 23 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 840 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, 22 grams of protein.)
Item: Taco Bell Quesalupa
Purchased Price: $2.99 (beef) $3.79 (chicken)
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 5 out of 10 (beef)
Rating: 4 out of 10 (chicken)
Pros: Comforting consistency, gooey cheese center.
Cons: Soggy in the middle. Maybe too much cheese. Texturally boring.