REVIEW: Taco Bell Grande Scrambler Burrito (Bacon and Sausage)

Taco Bell Grande Scrambler 001

I’m a big fan of breakfast. Like most things bad for us, it has that magical power of wrapping together comfort food and guilty pleasure into an eternal dance. It’s like the edible yin and yang: bacon and eggs; pancakes and syrup; butter and toast; chicken and waffles; bourbon and Frosted Flakes. You get the point.

And with that great pleasure comes the other end of the spectrum, uncontrollable rage. There was this time when I had thick cut bacon that was overcooked to hell. I’ve seen relics that remained from the ghastly A-bomb drop in Hiroshima that were less scorched. This built up my inner rage to a maximum, ruining my day.

I also once threw a disproportionate fit at a hipster breakfast joint because the promised rye toast finally came when my wife’s southern fry plate was half done. A lot of beards, let alone my patient wife, were unhappy with me that day.

I just ask for one simple thing, please don’t fuck with breakfast.

When Taco Bell first introduced their breakfast line, particularly the breakfast burrito, I was disappointed and pissed off. How can one mess up salty, fatty, porky sausage and eggs with melted cheese wrapped in a tortilla? Taco Bell did.

In fairness, everyone deserves a second chance even if someone rendered so much fat from thick cut bacon, I’ve seen Ethiopians that were chubbier (Zing! The 80’s want their tasteless jokes back). Taco Bell updated and tweaked their brekkie line with new menu items, which is a sign of encouragement to their dedication to the breakfast menu.

The Taco Bell Grande Scrambler Burrito comes with bacon, sausage, or their questionable and dreadful steak. Simply put, this is an upgraded breakfast burrito from the original and comparing the two is like comparing a greasy road map (the ones you have to annoyingly fold back correctly) to a GPS.

Taco Bell Grande Scrambler 004

I ordered both the bacon and sausage to appease my piggy meat breakfast fervor. The first sign I knew the Taco Bell Grande Scrambler Burrito was traveling on a different path from its predecessor was how surprisingly weighty it was. There was a comfortable heft to them that whispered, “I’m the real deal jackass.” The warmth of holding it in my hand was comparable to pulling fresh boxers out of the dryer on a cold morning.

Sinking my teeth into the Grande Scrambler Burrito with bacon, I immediately noticed the eggs were fluffy and looked scrambled. They were rich and buttery, the way my Grandma never made because she made me eat ginseng root soup instead…stupid Grandma!

The warm nacho cheese sauce, which normally makes me gag because I hate that stuff, worked well with the cold sour cream. They melded in supreme fashion together and the slight acidity of the sour cream cut right through the heavy nacho cheese. There to add another layer of flavor was the pico de gallo. It had fresh chunks of tomato, which also coursed successfully through the heavy nacho cheese sauce.

Taco Bell Grande Scrambler 005

The bacon was in “Bacobits” style, but that in no way muted the salty and crispy bite we demand. I do wish the chunks were bigger to make the bacon flavor more prevalent, but it’s there. The melted shredded cheddar cheese was surprisingly not drowned out by the nacho cheese sauce and it competed well with the tanginess from the pico.

However, the true star of these burritos were their “seasoned breakfast potatoes.” They were perfectly seasoned and had a hybrid tater tot/home-fries like consistency. The only way these could be better is if they were actual tater tots. The potatoes add a satisfying texture to the delicious gloppyness of the burrito. To crank the achievements even more, the tortilla was fluffy and warm like a pillow birthed from a smiling cartoon cloud pooping a rainbow.

Taco Bell Grande Scrambler 006

With that said, the sausage one yielded even better results. The sausage’s peppery flavor imparted a nice compliment to the chunky pico de gallo and it swathed right through the nacho cheese sauce. Although the sausage was in that crappy “kibble” form, it still provided that salty and fatty mouthfeel we crave. Again, the melted cheese and potatoes nicely rounded out the burrito. This time, Taco Bell was less heavy-handed with the sour cream which was fine because it could easily wash away the spicy notes from the sausage.

The price is $2.49 for each, which seems reasonable to me considering the generous size of the burritos. I’m not one of those old timey types that cry out, “you get what you pay for.” Despite that, like scotch or dildos, you really get what you pay for in regards to a breakfast burrito.

The quality is not anywhere near you would get from a good breakfast house that seductively charms you with the aroma of bacon and fluffy pancakes. Yet, for fast food, it really puts some of those meager fast food breakfast burritos to shame. Taco Bell set the bar pretty high and I would bet, if it didn’t violate my probation, that some of the other chains may follow suit. If not, they’re stupid idiots like my grandma who fed me ginseng root soup for breakfast.

(Nutrition Facts – With Bacon – 680 calories, 320 calories from fat, 36 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 195 milligrams of cholesterol, 1570 milligrams of sodium, 68 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 5 grams of sugars, and 22 grams of protein. With Sausage – 670 calories, 330 calories from fat, 36 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 195 milligrams of cholesterol, 1410 milligrams of sodium, 67 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 5 grams of sugars, and 19 grams of protein)

Item: Taco Bell Grande Scrambler Burrito (Bacon and Sausage)
Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Bacon)
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Sausage)
Pros: The melted cheddar cheese, the warm nacho cheese sauce, the sour cream and pico de gallo all complement each other. The potatoes are texturally and flavorfully awesome. The $2.49 price tag is more than reasonable. Piggy Meat Breakfast Fervor (best name for a band that never existed). Getting angry and shouting.
Cons: The bacon could be bigger, thus the bacon flavor would be more prevalent. The sausage is in “kibble” form. When servers bring toast late, it’s like the fries come last after you have received your cheeseburger. The spouse dealing with you getting angry and shouting.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Quesarito

Taco Bell Quesarito

Taco Bell has a new item, and instead of rearranging the same ol’ ingredients in a new format like they usually do, they’ve taken to rearranging names of existing foods. The Quesarito is a portmanteau of “quesadilla” and “burrito,” and features meat, sauce and rice wrapped in a tortilla with a layer of cheese around the inner core.

Hmmm, I guess they are just using the same ol’ ingredients too. Like a boring mad scientist. Like if Dr. Moreau kept promising a herd of hybrid leopard-men but just kept putting the legs of rats on legless rat bodies. You know what, though? That’s still pretty impressive. And you know what else? The Quesarito is also pretty impressive.

Maybe the greatest thing about the Quesarito is that it doesn’t really taste like it comes from Taco Bell. It has Taco Bell elements, sure: a disregard for fresh vegetables, a runny sauce that coats all the ingredients, it emanates nuclear fast food warmth.

But the Quesarito has heft. It has substance. Other Taco Bell items often feel chintzy, like they are designed to run through our bodies as fast as possible. Tasty, edible garbage. The Quesarito feels like food. I feel comfortable even calling it a “gut bomb.” And from my experience, the Quesarito comes with a free sizeable nap.

This is thanks to a couple things. It’s a burrito wrapped in a quesadilla, so the tortilla is actually doubled up, which makes it chewier. The rice is also new. It’s “Latin rice,” which I guess means it was a loser studying a dead language in high school. But you can pick out individual grains and it’s cooked more al dente than the rice in other sister items. Biting into a Quesarito, you can sense full, sturdy ingredients. Seems like maybe they took a look at the modus operandi of one Chipotle restaurant and decided to go sic semper tyrannis on ‘em. Side note: anyone have a time machine and know how to say “Please go to prom with me” in Latin? Asking for an amicus.

Taco Bell Quesarito 2

The decent base of tortilla and rice gives the cheese and protein a solid springboard to showcase their flavors, and for the most part, they do a good job. The cheese in the quesadilla forms a golden ring around the bisected burrito, and every bite is equally blessed by the melty smoothness.

Taco Bell Quesarito 3

Of the three meat options, the relatively muted shredded chicken fares the best, playing along with the rest of the Quesarito to let every ingredient shine in a concert of flavor and texture. The steak is fine too, but every bite was filled with sinew and makes the burrito feel stringy. The beef is the ground beef from all the other Taco Bell stuff, and as such it lacks subtlety. It’s salty like a salt lick, to the point where it almost burns, and definitely overpowers the quieter elements in the Quesarito.

It’s also ground to the point of almost being a meat puree, and seems out of place in this new, gentler Taco Bell item. It’s time to leave your hometown, Ground Beef. See the world, get some new perspective. Yeah, Ground Beef, we’ll leave tomorrow. Let’s go out back for now, look at the rabbits. That’s it, pet the rabbits. Oops, I shot Ground Beef in the back of the head. I’m sorry, Ground Beef. You’ll never over-salt anyone’s tongue again, Ground Beef. You are reunited in heaven with the Blackjack Taco and the Volcano Menu.

Now the bad. It’s pretty much just the sour cream. Maybe it actually goes well with the Quesarito, but it’s a problem of construction, not taste. The way the sour cream is dispensed on the tortilla, it’s packed all into one end, like if the Quesarito was an airplane, the sour cream takes up first class. And that’s confusing, because first class is a good thing, but there isn’t anything called “last class.”

Okay. If the Quesarito was an airplane, the sour cream takes up all of last class. And I’m Godzilla or Optimus Prime or whatever, and I want to eat the plane, and I bite in and I get a giant mouthful of tangy sour cream. That’s insane. Because who put all this sour cream in an airplane?

But as a human, if I wanted a mouthful of sour cream I’d go to the sour cream store and grab a spoon. Oh wait, that doesn’t exist, because we are civilized people and not creeps and nobody wants mouthfuls of sour cream. And the sour cream pocket is on either end of the Quesarito so it’s like playing Russian roulette with every beginning bite. Mexican-Russian roulette. Sorry. Mexican-Russian-American roulette. We’re a melting pot, folks.

So Taco Bell smushed two words together and they scored a home-down/touch-run with the Quesarito. They made the Brangelina of fast food. Oh! Are any of those kids in that family Mexican-Russian?

The Quesarito is a success, and soon we might be calling Merriam-Webster to add a new word, like all those popular portmanteaus of the past such as bromance, Californication and Fleshlight. Welp, just made myself barf with that string of words. That’s okay, more room for Quesarito.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 ground beef Quesarito* – 650 calories, 300 calories from fat, 34 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 60 grams of cholesterol, 1450 milligrams of sodium, 65 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, 22 grams of protein.)

*Nutrition facts for chicken and steak versions not available on Taco Bell website.

Item: Taco Bell Quesarito
Purchased Price: $1.99 (Ground Beef), $2.79 (Chicken) and $2.99 (Steak)
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Ground Beef)
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Chicken)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Steak)
Pros: Substantial, filling. Tastes like actual food. Cheese in every bite. The rice is great.
Cons: Very salty, particularly the beef. Steak is sinewy. Can be runny. Sour cream is always stuck in one bite.

REVIEW: Nabisco Limited Edition Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Oreo Cookies

Nabisco Limited Edition Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oreo Cookies

I consider myself a fairly sensible person. Rarely, if ever, would I find it acceptable to physically bust a move and moonwalk in a Safeway grocery store, much less break out in operatic chorus just to praise a prepackaged cookie. A fresh-baked cookie? Maybe it deserves a short interlude mumbled under my breath, but a prepackaged cookie is a different story entirely. My friends, that is just nonsensical.

Yet that’s exactly what I felt compelled to do after discovering the new Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Oreo cookies. Do I regret it? Abso-freaking-lutly. Would I do it again? You better believe it.

I have a confession to make. I had somewhat given up on flavored Oreos. Last summer’s Strawberries ‘n Crème and Banana Split flavors pushed me to accept mediocrity on a three month limited edition release cycle, while recent shelf spotting of Watermelon and Fruit Punch have caused me to lose faith in Nabisco’s strategic vision. I don’t know about you, but when I sign up for a sandwich cookie—Oreo or otherwise—I’m signing up for some variation of chocolate or vanilla. If I wanted Watermelon, dammit I would eat a freaking Watermelon.

In any event, the news that Oreo had teamed up with Reese’s to make the long overdue peanut butter and chocolate crème (excuse me, chocolate “flavored” crème) sandwich cookie rekindled a hope in me that Nabisco remembered they were in the business of making cookies and not flavored water enhancers. That hope was momentarily dashed when on their long awaited release date I checked no less than four grocery stores to no avail, only finally coming in contact with the Reese’s Oreo cookies just as my blood sugar reached perilously low levels.

You might have assumed this excitement was sure to leave me crashing in the unavoidable realization that the Reese’s Oreo cookies couldn’t possibly be as good as they’d sound. You’d be making an ass out of you and me, though, because Reese’s Oreo are everything any tried and true Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup lover would want.

Nabisco Limited Edition Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oreo Cookies Stacked

The chocolate crème has a fudgy consistency tasting of more intense milk chocolaty flavor than standard chocolate Oreo crème, while the peanut butter has that trademarked salty and slightly gritty Reese’s flavor that balances its darker counterpart so perfectly. Twisted from their bases, the crème fillings might be a disappointment, but when eaten together and in conjunction with the exceptionally crunchy cocoa wafer, the fillings transform into a taste which is unabashedly Reese’s Cup in every sense of the title. Sweet and balanced with a deep, slightly salty flavor on the backend, there’s multiple intensities of chocolate dancing harmoniously with the exceptional, but not overpowering, peanut butter flavor. It is, to use the most precise representation of the English language available to our understanding, quite delectable.

Nabisco Limited Edition Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oreo Cookies Topless 2

I suppose I could bemoan the filling’s complete reluctance to twist cleanly, or its slightly askew orientation in between the wafers. But really, why draw attention away from the most excellent representation of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup this side of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Dare I say, the exceptional cocoa taste and trademark crunch of the cookie actually makes the Reese’s Oreo superior to a Reese’s Cup in some ways, providing a completely new and exciting textural component to a time-tested flavor. And you know what? That fact alone provides plenty of reason for even a sensible person to celebrate in the most obnoxious of ways.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 cookies – 130 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 12 grams of sugar, less than 1 grams of fiber, and 1 grams of protein..)

Item: Nabisco Limited Edition Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Oreo Cookies
Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 12.2 oz package
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Almost uncanny replication of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup flavor. Fudgy chocolate. Salty-sweet peanut butter. Perfect sandwich cookie bite. Finally, an Oreo that doesn’t sound like a popsicle flavor. Lowest calorie flavored Oreos.
Cons: Filling has Leaning Tower of Pisa effect. Messier to eat than standard Oreos. Being off-key in a crowded Safeway.

REVIEW: Doritos Roulette (Canada)

Doritos Roulette

This could very easily be the shortest review in the history of this site. Doritos Roulette are Nacho Cheese Doritos, with the occasional very spicy chip mixed into the bunch. The end. Mic drop.

But I guess I should probably justify my existence here and write a bit more than that. Now where’s that mic…

Not much needs to be said about Nacho Cheese Doritos. They’re the original Doritos flavour, and arguably the tastiest. If you’ve somehow never had them and need me to describe the flavour, then I’m going to assume that you stumbled onto this site by accident. Perhaps you were looking for the Impulsive Buoy, the boating website? Because I’m pretty sure if you did a Venn diagram of “people who read junk food blogs” and “people who have tried Nacho Cheese Doritos,” the two circles would be pretty much right on top of each other.

But fine, for the boat enthusiasts among you, I’ll throw you a bone: Nacho Cheese Doritos are cheesy (I know, shocker, right?) — cheddar in particular — with a salty, fake-in-the-best-way possible flavour, and enough else going on to make them irresistibly addictive. They’re a classic for a reason. They’re hard to dislike.

As for Roulette, the bag is predominantly Nacho Cheese Doritos, which are just as tasty as ever. However, about 25 percent, give or take, are a little different than your standard Nacho Cheese chip: they’re spicy. Very spicy.

Now, I’m no slouch when it comes to spice. Typically, mass-market snacks or fast food items labeled as spicy register for me as a vague tickle, the equivalent of a small kitten playfully batting at your hands. I say this not to boast, but to provide context for this statement: these are legitimately spicy. They’re certainly not the hottest thing you’ve ever had, but you’re definitely going to feel (feel feel) the heat.

If most so-called spicy items are the aforementioned kitten, this is a solid slap in the face.

Doritos Roulette Closeup

Aside from the spice, these chips look and taste just like a regular Nacho Cheese Dorito. So you really have no idea what you’re going to get until you pop it in your mouth (must… resist… “that’s what she said” joke).

It’s actually really good! The combination of regular chips and super spicy ones work surprisingly well. I don’t know if I’d want a whole bag of Doritos this spicy, but here, where you get a few regular chips to cool your mouth between the hot ones, it’s actually quite satisfying.

And of course, that’s not to mention the potential hilarity of eating these with a spice wimp and watching them squirm when they get a spicy one.

I was expecting these to be more of a novelty item than anything else, but I actually wound up enjoying them far more than I thought I would. I’m assuming these are a limited-time-only deal, but if they weren’t, I’d definitely add them to my regular Dorito rotation.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 package (80 grams) – 420 calories, 22 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0.2 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 600 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams fibre, 1 gram sugar, 6 grams protein.)

Item: Doritos Roulette (Canada)
Purchased Price: $1.49 CAN
Size: 80 gram bag
Purchased at: International News
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Classic Nacho Cheese flavour. Good balance of spicy and not-spicy chips. Entertainment value of eating them with people who can’t tolerate spice. The ability to make Passenger 57 references while you eat.
Cons: Might be too spicy for some people. Realizing that a lot of people probably won’t get that Passenger 57 reference.

REVIEW: Doritos Jacked Test Flavor 404

Doritos Jacked Test Flavor 404

I’ve always been a huge fan of Doritos’ test flavor gimmicks. From the cheeseburgery reveal of Doritos X-13D to Doritos The Quest, which turned out to be Mountain Dew and was surprisingly good. I’m glad Doritos brought back this stunt, even if it’s for their stubborn sibling, the Jacked line.

I have to say the packaging really piques my excitement. I’m not sure if it’s the silver faux-futuristic bags that echo Fritz Lang’s Metropolis or maybe it is the words “TEST FLAVOR” themselves. Either way, the people that designed this get my high fives.

When they were first announced, it was 2007 all over for me again where losers were wearing blinged out pseudo ripped jeans, had fauxhawks, put on aggro printed t-shirts and topped off their ensemble with Von Dutch caps. And the damned music…Daughtry and Paramore were overplayed (why they were played at all, I am unsure), while all of us geeks swooned over Morgan Webb and discovered the Midnight Juggernauts.

Feverishly, I went to various Walmarts, Targets and Publixes to no avail. After a couple of weeks of looking, I gave up and decided to do something more productive and level up my monk in Diablo III: Reaper of Souls.

One afternoon at lunch, I needed to buy some three ring trading card nine-pocket plastic sheets for my Wacky Packages (another reason why the ladies love me). Ironically, the Target I found them in was the one I’ve avoided because it’s near a huge university and seriously…I don’t have time for that bullshit.

There they were in neatly stacked piles. The last time I gawked stupidly at foil packaging was when a past girlfriend asked me, annoyed, what’s taking me so long to get a rubber. They were all the 404 version and although I was sad that the other two test flavors were not there, I grabbed two packages and gleefully ran out.

Upon ripping open the bag, I buried my nose into it like it was the 80’s, Miami Vice-style, and inhaled. There was a deep and earthy molasses/brown sugar scent that is immediate. It then faded into cumin-like tones with a light fake-citrus smell. I can compare the earthy wafts to a fresh out of the oven baked sweet potato if you squeezed a lemon on it.

Doritos Jacked Test Flavor 404 Closeup

The chips themselves had a burnt orange “spray tan look” that were a few shades darker enough to let you know that it meant fucking business. You could see the seasoning flecks as if your eyes had microscopic vision and the chips felt heavier.

I know it sounds crazy but I like the lighter feel of normal Doritos chips and think the more rigid Jacked chips take away from the crunch experience. However, those powdery flavor dustballs have enough heft that they shake off your hands easily.

Eating one, the smoky tortilla corn chip was the most prevalent flavor at first. Then a rich sweetness with garlicky notes washed my tongue as I chewed. There was an unidentifiable complexity in the chip that almost tasted like five spice powder. Last, a citrusy tart zing that tasted of key limes and kumquats grabbed my taste buds and doggy styled it into submission. There was also a faint tinge of heat, which was nice.

I couldn’t really say what the flavor was except that it definitely had this Asian Thai sweet chili sauce thing going on. Looking at the ingredients, I saw lime juice solids and orange juice solids, which may explain the slight tartness that sort of made my cheeks tickle.

The bold flavors joined in a symphony that demanded you pay some friggin’ attention. These chips were the aces! I was impressed and surprised that Doritos was able to bring a flavor that I had not really tasted yet or could truly compare to another flavor. In fact, my only gripe is that the chips seemed too heavy and stiff (thanks Jacked) but who cares once you get to that flavor.

If Frito-Lay wants to make any one of the three a regular flavor, they will probably pick the safest route and these will go the way G4TV did (damn you Esquire channel). If you can find Doritos Jacked Test Flavor 404, I highly recommend picking these up because I doubt they will be made again.

I have to commend Frito-Lay for really pushing the envelope on its Doritos flavors, even if it’s a limited time thing. Sure I may never get a second round of Doritos Mr. Dragon’s Fire Chips but these 404, if they become a regular offering, will satiate my wants.

(Nutrition Facts – 6 chips – 140 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Doritos Jacked Test Flavor 404
Purchased Price: $4.29
Size: 10 ounce bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: The Asian-like complex flavors that are earthy, tart and sweet. The flavor dust easily shakes off your hand. The Doritos line has brought back the test flavors gimmick. G4’s Attack of the Show!
Cons: The heavy stiff chip is not the best. It’s hard to find these in my area. Blinged out faux ripped jeans. Esquire Network’s Lucky Bastards.