REVIEW: Taco Bell Diablo Sauce

Taco Bell Diablo Sauce 2

A review of Taco Bell’s new Diablo sauce, in five parts.

I. Mild: A Conspiracy

Taco Bell has opened a gate to hell. Proof: “Bell” rhymes with “hell.” Convenient. Seven layer burrito? Nine circles of hell. And there are actually nine layers if you count the tortilla and the Pepto Bismol that is actually essential. And latest of all, they’ve introduced Diablo sauce. Diablo, for the Latin-impaired, is Spanish for the mother-bleeping Devil. Maybe some of you know Diablo as “Stop playing that computer game and come to bed,” but for non-nerds they aren’t even trying to hide it. It’s called Devil sauce. Taco Bell has conjured El Diablo and is feeding us its hot fluids.

Other hell ties: The Devil is, like, half goat and Taco Bell does NOT serve goat because then we would be eating the Devil’s relatives; “run for the (south) border” can be simplified to “run south” and south (down) is where hell is; and somehow they consider cinnamon Cheetos a dessert. Unholy.

II. Verde: Fan Fiction Using Slogans Found on Taco Bell Sauce Packets for Dialogue

Grimace got down on one knee. “Go ahead, ask her,” whispered Fry Guy. Grimace cleared his throat. “Do it with passion or not at all. You can count on me.” The period at the end of the sentence hung in the air. He produced a ring and continued. “Let’s run away together. Marry me.” Birdie the Early Bird gasped, like she was watching a reality show and not herself in a crowded fast food restaurant being proposed to. This was unexpected. She stared ahead, lost.

Then in a true fight or flight moment, she flew. She was gone. Grimace, still on his knee, stammered. “You won’t…” His voice trailed off. Fry Guy’s face fell. “Not my first rodeo,” Grimace lamented. He dug into the pile of celebratory hamburgers on the table like it was a pie-eating contest. Tears streamed down his face, mixing with the food.

“You asked for it! Consider yourself warned! You made my day!” he screamed. Fry Guy’s face turned from pity to disgust as he mumbled under his breath, “That escalated quickly.” Grimace looked like a blubbering, rabid hyena tearing through a carcass. Fry Guy pulled out his phone to text Birdie. “Good choice,” he wrote.

Taco Bell Diablo Sauce 3

III. Hot: The Deal

“Kevin,” an employee said, as I was staring off into a Sangrita Blast machine. “Do you want sauce?” he asked. I snapped into reality and responded, “Do you have that new one?” I could only see four bins with the typical sauces. I didn’t want to have to go to another Taco Bell. His eyes lit up. “Diablo,” he said. He went into the back and returned, “They are very hot. I used them and you shouldn’t use more than three.” “Thanks,” I smiled. He paused before dropping the packets into my bag. “No more than three. Or bad things will happen. Very bad things. Promise me. Promise Diablo.” I nodded. One of his eyes were cat eyes. I turned to leave, then turned back. He was gone. He was gone because he left to serve another customer.

IV. Fire: Sauce to One Direction Analogy

Harry Styles: Fire

Zayn: Diablo

Other guy: Verde

White kid with the hair: Mild

Still one more member: Hot

V. Diablo: The Review

Taco Bell Diablo Sauce

The Diablo sauce delivers on all accounts. It’s spicier and has a numbing quality that the other options lack. Taco Bell’s other sauces, which have been pretty disappointing for as long as anybody can remember, go like this: Mild tastes like sour salsa, Verde tastes like green, and Hot tastes like tomato sauce mixed with ground pepper. Fire, the hottest sauce until Diablo came along, has stinging qualities that stab at the mouth but really tastes like a watered down Tabasco.

Diablo sauce begins with a pleasant smoky tomato flavor. It makes way for a prickly hum that builds into a heat crescendo and then dissipates fairly quickly, maybe after a minute or two. The spiciness definitely does not last as long as any of those weird hot sauces they sell in specialty stores. The numbness remains though, and cradles the mouth with a low heat that is not completely embarrassing for hot sauce lovers.

Taco Bell Diablo Sauce 5

The sauce plateaus, and does not seem to really ravage the face or senses that badly. I did sample three packets with a cheesy bean and rice burrito for an experiment (as per my agreement). The first packet gave a generous spice high. The second packet numbed my mouth to the point where it didn’t really matter what I was eating. My nose also started to run, but only a little bit. Packet three did not build on the previous one. I did not cry or reach for a milk. This was hotter than anything at Taco Bell, but nothing dangerous. This was not stunt hot sauce.

Taco Bell Diablo Sauce 4

Fire on top, Diablo on bottom.

The only knock is that it probably doesn’t pair well with most Taco Bell food. It simply walloped the burrito I ate. Taco Bell food is already fairly bland in a fast food sense and a sauce with this dimension obliterates any nuance the item may have had. I suspect it may go better with items that contain sour cream or steak, or things with stronger flavors to balance it out. Most things will probably end up tasting like spicy soft stuff or spicy crunchy stuff, though.

The liftoff and leftover tingling are the highlights of the sauce and I would recommend between one or two packets per meal, or taking breaks to let the heat subside so you can ride Diablo again. All hail Diablo.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available on website.)

Item: Taco Bell Diablo Sauce
Purchased Price: Free with purchase
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Great heat, new dimensions. Does not linger too long. Tingly feeling.
Cons: Hard to complement with Taco Bell food.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Double Crispy Chicken Quesadilla

Taco Bell Double Crispy Chicken Quesadilla

When I first heard that Taco bell was adding Crispy Chicken to their list of ingredients, my first thought was, “Why didn’t they do this sooner?” Then, “Well, that’s not exactly a staple of Mexican cuisine. And then, “Yeah, but neither are Cinnabon bites,” which ultimately led me back to my first thought.

In line with Taco Bell’s style, they didn’t just introduce Crispy Chicken, they sprayed it all over their menu like a frat boy hovering over a toilet after too much Pinnacle Cinnabon Vodka. You’d think this review was about Cinnabon, but it’s not.

The Bell has done everything from the simplicity of wrapping chicken in a tortilla and calling it a Griller, wrapping it in a biscuit and calling it a Biscuit Taco, and throwing it in a Crunchwrap and calling it a Chickstar.

And, not to leave any corner of the menu untouched, we come upon the subject of this review: the Double Crispy Chicken Quesadilla. Why is this one Double? I wondered that myself, until I noticed the tiny, tiny asterisk on Taco Bell’s website that explains “*as compared to the 1.5 oz. Chicken Quesadilla.”

Oh, okay.

Taco Bell Double Crispy Chicken Quesadilla Inside

Taco Bell says the Double Crispy Chicken Quesadilla “features new premium all-white-meat crispy chicken that’s marinated in bold Mexican spices, rolled in a crunchy corn tortilla coating, and crisped to perfection combined with a three cheese blend and a creamy jalapeño sauce all folded in a freshly grilled tortilla.”

True to the name of this site, I impulsively bought two of them. I don’t usually do this with new items, but…well, I was hungry. And I like quesadillas. And I live on the edge. The edge of not knowing if this quesadilla would suck.

The first quesadilla I tried (which is the one pictured) was quite disappointing. Almost completely lacking in both cheese and sauce, it just tasted like chicken and tortilla, which was dry and sad.

Fortunately, my second quesadilla, despite being purchased in the same order, was much better! There was a decent amount of cheese and creamy jalapeño sauce, which to me tasted more like The Bell’s already-existing Fire sauce in a cream base (probably the sour cream that I’m pretty sure they squirt out of pastry bags). It was still quite tasty, and added both spice and moisture.

As for the Crispy Chicken, whatever “bold” Mexican spices they use as a marinade, they don’t shine through at all in the finished product. The tortilla coating, however, added a nice crunch that didn’t get soggy even when exposed to sauce, and it added a flavor that differs just enough from other fried chicken to make it notable.

Taco Bell Double Crispy Chicken Quesadilla Half

Even though the chicken inside the quesadilla amounts to nothing more than chicken strips in regards to structure, I feel that Taco Bell lived up to their “double” promise. There was a hearty amount of chicken in almost every bite (I don’t count the ends because the ends of fast food quesadillas are always a wasteland), and the meat was moist and tender.

All things considered, Taco Bell’s Double Crispy Chicken Quesadilla is a pretty middle-of-the-road offering. I like the new crispy coating and was impressed by its ability to stay crunchy, but the sauce didn’t taste very unique (although it did add some heat). The overall product was somewhat boring.

Plus, my first quesadilla was really disappointing, and when you’ve only got three ingredients to showcase inside your tortilla, I think you should make sure they’re all up to par. If you’re a big fan of the new Crispy Chicken and like quesadillas, it’s worth a try, but maybe more as a side item to the rest of your order.

(Nutrition Facts – 720 calories, 380 calories from fat, 42 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 1660 milligrams of sodium, 53 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 33 grams of protein.)

Item: Taco Bell Double Crispy Chicken Quesadilla
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Tortilla coating was a little different and stayed crispy. Impulsively buying two paid off. Lots of chicken that was moist. Sauce had a bit of kick.
Cons: Sauce wasn’t unique. Spewing cinnamon bun vodka. One of my quesadillas lacked cheese and sauce. Are sour cream pastry bags a pro or a con? A somewhat boring menu item. Holy crap, that’s a lot of fat in one quesadilla.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Biscuit Taco

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Biscuit Taco with Jalapeño Honey

I’m no Spock, but the price for Taco Bell’s new Crispy Chicken Biscuit Taco is highly illogical.

Taco Bell is known for having cheap food. Breakfast menu items at restaurants are usually cheaper than what’s offered for lunch and dinner. So why is Taco Bell’s Crispy Chicken Biscuit Taco on the breakfast menu so damn expensive? It’s a piece of breaded chicken in a flat biscuit with a sauce. That’s it.

I paid $3.79 for mine. Granted, as I’ve mentioned before, I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where most things are subjected to something called the “Paradise Tax.” But my fellow fast food bloggers paid prices that I would consider high for a taco. Ryan at Grub Grade paid $2.79 and Q at Brand Eating paid $2.69. If you’re a morning grump, I imagine the price of a Crispy Chicken Biscuit Taco and seeing what you get for that price will make your disposition worse.

The flat biscuit is as pliable as a pancake and has a little buttery flavor, but its less sturdy than its predecessor, the Waffle Taco. After the first bite, the biscuit split at the fold due to the biscuit’s dryness. If there were smaller ingredients, like Taco Bell’s bacon bits, I imagine the biscuit falling apart would cause a mess. But since there just a chicken finger and sauce, there’s no worries about the taco’s contents falling out.

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Biscuit Taco Closeup

The lightly seasoned Crispy Chicken has a breading that has crushed tortilla chips. It’s surprisingly crispy, even after a car trip ride home, but the pressed chicken was as thin as the biscuit.

When you order the Crispy Chicken Biscuit Taco, you have the option of getting it with either Jalapeño Honey or Country Gravy. I tried both. They came in small take out sauce containers that had enough sauce for two Biscuit Tacos. It’s different than the syrup that came with Taco Bell’s Waffle Taco, which was in a McNugget sauce-like container.

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Biscuit Taco with Sausage Gravy

If I were to order these Biscuit Tacos again, I would definitely get the Jalapeño Honey over the Country Gravy because the white peppery gravy is bland. I think it would go well with Taco Bell’s sausage, because they would enhance each other. But I can’t say it does the same with the Crispy Chicken.

But I can say the Jalapeño Honey and the lightly seasoned Crispy Chicken do enhance each other. The Jalapeño Honey is sweet, thick, sweet, tangy, sweet, and has a slight kick. The two go together well enough that they almost make me forget about the biscuit falling apart, the thinness of the chicken, and the Biscuit Taco’s price.

Instead of special Biscuit Taco-labeled sleeves, my Taco Bell Biscuit Tacos rocked Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Taco sleeves. I don’t know if it was a mistake caused by the fast pace in a fast food kitchen or if they ran out of the Biscuit Taco sleeves. But after eating these Crispy Chicken Biscuit Tacos, I feel they were appropriate because I wish I ate a Doritos Locos Tacos instead of the one with Country Gravy and I wish the Jalapeño Honey one, while tasty and definitely better than any Waffle Taco, was the same price as a Doritos Locos Taco.

(Nutrition Facts – Jalapeño Honey – 470 calories, 170 calories from fat, 19 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 1030 milligrams of sodium, 63 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 25 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein. Country Gravy – 390 calories, 170 calories from fat, 19 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 960 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.)

Item: Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Biscuit Taco
Purchased Price: $3.79 each*
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Jalapeño Honey)
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Country Gravy)
Pros: Jalapeño Honey. Chicken has breading with frickin’ crushed tortilla chips. Crispy chicken remained crispy even after a car ride home. Amount of sauce given was more than enough.
Cons: Country Gravy. Pricey for what you get. Thin biscuit was a bit dry and easily cracks at the fold. Chicken was as thin as the biscuit.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Chipotle Chickstar

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Chipotle Chickstar 2

Perhaps the worst thing about Taco Bell is ordering.

Are they really going to make me say “Chickstar” out loud? Chickstar. Can I instead order the “crunchy, chewy pentagonal chicken pouch”?

Don’t test me, Taco Bell.

I walked away from that movie Chappie just because I didn’t want to have to say “Chappie” out loud to the box office. You think the branding is cute but it sounds like I’m doing jaw exercises before delivering a high school sports report on the local news. Chi-ck-stahr. Que-sah-ree-toh. Break-fast fail-ures.

The Crispy Chicken Chickstar can slide, though, just this once. It’s pretty good! To start, this sandwich thing is shaped like the Crunchwrap Supreme, so it’s completely inviting comparisons. The first bite is a bit of a shock. “I know the Crunchwrap Supreme. And you, sir, are no Crunchwrap Supreme.”

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Chipotle Chickstar 3

It lacks the snap of a tortilla shell wedged into each bite, but give it some time–the texture is still dynamic, thanks to the fried chicken fillets. The breading of the two chicken finger-sized pieces is made of tortilla chips and while it doesn’t taste different than most other fast food breading, it has a jagged, harder feel that gives it some substance. The chicken itself is also white and dense, like a U.S. congressman.

The softness of the outer tortilla contrasts nicely with the rough-breaded chicken and that interplay is definitely the star (Chickstar?) of the show. Having no bread, it means the protein is allowed to pop more and it also means there are those delightful bites that consist of folded over flour tortilla. So satisfying. Hold on to the tiny joys in life.

I tried the creamy chipotle version of the Chickstar. The sauce filled in the flavor profile and rounded out the taste a bit, but overall it felt a little anemic with the heat. The grated cheese and lettuce and tomato are even more of an afterthought than usual and remain borderline useless. However, the chicken did a decent job of picking up the slack, like Allen Iverson. Al-hen Thigh-verson? Mmm, Al-hen Thigh-verson.

Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Chipotle Chickstar

I know these sound like negative points for the Chickstar, but something about the entire package clicks together. It’s crunchy and soft in the right places and knows how to showcase the novelty of a tortilla chip-breaded chicken. Maybe it’s magic. Maybe it’s black magic. Taco Bell does fold these things into pentagrams. Or are they hexagrams. They added an extra side to the pentagram just like they added a fourth meal to the day! Must be voodoo.

The Chipotle Chickstar is a good item. Taco Bell’s new chicken fillet thing is good. But it cost me four bucks and I can get a couple chicken sandwiches for half that at most fast food restaurants. It even costs more than a Quesarito, and is almost as embarrassing to say.

What does “Chickstar” even mean? Is it a chicken hipster? A poultry constellation? Lady rock star? Debbie Harry? Chrissie Hynde? (Crispy Fried is her Chickstar name). Whatever. I’d pay another dollar just to not say the name out loud in the restaurant. And I’ll throw the cashier another twenty if he wants to go next door and say “One for Chappie” for me.

(Nutrition Facts – 760 calories, 43 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 1650 milligrams of sodium, 70 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugar, 4 grams of fiber, and 25 grams of protein.)

Item: Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Chipotle Chickstar
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Nice breading, great texture. Easy to eat, plenty of folded over tortilla.
Cons: Chipotle sauce is a little quiet, bland. Cheese is still Taco Bell cheese. Fairly expensive.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Sriracha Quesarito

Taco Bell Sriracha Quesarito

It’s hard to believe Taco Bell decided to get out of their Tex-Mex comfort zone with their new Sriracha Quesarito. But then again, I guess it was inevitable since sriracha continues to be a popular ingredient.

It’s gotten so trendy that if you went to a grocery store and threw a open bottle of sriracha at a random aisle, there’s a very good chance the mess would hit something sriracha flavored. And sriracha’s growth can also be seen in the fast food industry. Subway offered their Sriracha Chicken Melt, Jack in the Box has sriracha sandwiches and breakfast burritos, White Castle put it on their sliders, and Pizza Hut offers it as topping and crust options.

Taco Bell’s Sriracha Quesarito features a burrito stuffed with premium Latin rice, seasoned ground beef, reduced fat sour cream, and Taco Bell’s own sriracha, and a quesadilla with nacho cheese sauce and more sriracha that’s wrapped around the burrito.

Taco Bell Sriracha Quesarito 2

I haven’t had the original Quesarito, but from what I’ve read, it’s tastes and eats like a burrito. So I expected the Sriracha Quesarito to taste like a burrito with sriracha.

Let’s talk about the sriracha first.

As I ate the Sriracha Quesarito, I wasn’t sure if there was enough sauce on the one I received or if the other ingredients were muting the sauce’s flavor, because I couldn’t really taste the sauce in about half the bites. Whatever flavor I could get, I considered it to be everything I expect sriracha to be.

Garlicky? Check.

Peppery? Check.

Tangy? Check.

While I couldn’t taste the sauce too much, there was a nice amount of heat. And I imagine if the sour cream wasn’t an ingredient in the Sriracha Quesarito, it would be a bit hotter.

Taco Bell Sriracha Quesarito 3

The sauce went well with the premium Latin rice and seasoned ground beef (you can also get it with shredded chicken and steak). Actually, the cilantro, garlic, and onion in the rice paired well with the sriracha when I could taste it. The nacho cheese sauce and sriracha in the quesadilla made a nice sriracha con queso that gushed into my mouth a few times as I ate my way through the entree.

Although I didn’t get a strong punch of sriracha flavor in every bite, I did enjoy Taco Bell’s Sriracha Quesarito. I think if you’re a fan of the sauce, you should definitely give it a try. The Asian-Tex-Mex combination does work and I’d like to see sriracha in more Taco Bell items. Or I’d love to see Taco Bell’s sriracha sauce end up in packets.

(Nutrition Facts – 650 calories, 290 calories from fat, 32 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 55 milligrams of cholesterol, 1720 milligrams of sodium, 68 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 22 grams of protein.)

Item: Taco Bell Sriracha Quesarito
Purchased Price: $3.29*
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: It has sriracha. Asian-Tex-Mex combination works. Sauce has a nice heat. Premium Latin rice pairs well with the sriracha. Cheese from quesadilla oozing into my mouth. Addition of sriracha in the quesadilla.
Cons: Sour cream bringing down the heat. Simple combination of ingredients. Half of the time, I couldn’t really taste the sriracha.

*Because I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, things are a bit pricier here. You’ll probably pay less than I did.