REVIEW: Taco Bell Beefy Potato-rito

Taco Bell Beefy Potato rito

Potatoes.

It’s an ingredient some of you may not realize is available at Taco Bell. It doesn’t get as much love on the menu as seasoned ground beef, reduced fat sour cream, or shredded lettuce.

So all this time you could’ve had a Mexican Pizza topped with potatoes, a Taco Salad topped with potatoes, or a Breakfast Crunchwrap, that already has hash browns, and added potatoes to it.

While Taco Bell’s potatoes don’t usually get center stage, it’s gotten a little love with the new Beefy Potato-rito. The “beefy” is the seasoned beef. The “potato” part is the seasoned crispy potatoes. And, I guess, the cheddar cheese, nacho cheese sauce, chipotle sauce, and flour tortilla represent the “-rito.” The menu item is a dollar at most Taco Bell locations, but, after eating it, it seemed like I got more than I paid for.

But I’m not talking about the extra curricular restroom activities that folks joke about when it comes to eating Taco Bell.

It’s hefty for something on the value menu. That’s due to the Mr. Potato Head’s head amount of potatoes in it. There’s enough that you’ll get spuds in every bite. It’s not a forearm-huge burrito, and I wasn’t expecting one for something you can buy with pocket change, but the cubes of carbs make it filling.

The seasoning on them is hard to detect because of the creamy sauces. Their insides are fluffy, but they’re not crispy on the outside. But that’s understandable since they’re sitting in a flour tortilla cocoon with other hot ingredients. I imagine it’s like a sauna, except instead of using water to create steam, it’s chipotle sauce.

Speaking of the chipotle sauce, it’s the highlight of the burrito, providing a smoky flavor and a little kick. It adds a bit more flavor to the standard seasoned beef and goes well with potatoes. If I could buy a serving of the spuds a la carte, I’d eat them with the sauce and call it Chipo-tatoes.

Taco Bell Beefy Potato rito 2

As for the other ingredients, I’m not sure why there’s shredded cheddar cheese, because it doesn’t add anything. Its flavor gets lost among the nacho cheese and chipotle sauces. So why have it? Does the dairy industry have dirt on Taco Bell that gets released if a shredded cheese quota isn’t met?

The nacho cheese sauce gives the burrito a creaminess and, of course, cheesiness that goes well with the cubes of starch. If I could buy a serving of the potatoes a la carte, I’d eat them with the cheesy sauce and call it Potat-chos.

Overall, I enjoyed the Beefy Potato-rito. It fulfills everything I expect from a Taco Bell item — it’s filling, inexpensive, and tastes good.

(Nutrition Facts – 450 calories, 24 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 1030 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.75 (Beefy Potato-rito Box)
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tasty. Inexpensive. Potatoes give the burrito a bit more heft than other Taco Bell value menu items. Chipotle sauce.
Cons: Potatoes aren’t crispy and seasoning does come through with all the other sauces included. Why is there shredded cheddar cheese?

REVIEW: Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chips

Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chipsa

Few foods have been put through their paces like fried chicken. The ever-innovating fast food industry has turned the simple Southern dish of breaded and deep fried poultry into everything from dinosaur nuggets to sandwich buns.

Taco Bell is no stranger to this modern art of meat sculpture, having morphed a chicken patty into a Chalupa shell earlier this year. That dish’s spiritual successor – the Naked Chicken Chips – are available now. Compared to the carnival oddity of a taco built out of chicken, these chips seem blasé by comparison. But these triangular treats have some quirks of their own.

Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chips 2

The Naked Chicken Chips come in servings of 6 or 12, mirroring your average serving of nuggets. The chips are a bit thinner than your ordinary chicken nugget, stretched out to tortilla chip size.

Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chips 3

The interior is typical processed white meat, but the breading has quite a bit of pepper. Each chip has a generous layer of breading with a gratifying crunch. It’s not as aggressively seasoned as a Burger King Chicken Fry, but the Naked Chicken Chips are spicier than your average McNugget.

Young kids (the typical nugget audience) might be put off by the added spice, but adults shouldn’t have any concern. If anything, these chips feel underseasoned by Taco Bell standards. It doesn’t help that the only dip being offered with this dish is standard nacho cheese. The two make a satisfying pair – rich and savory. But there’s an inescapable feeling that this could be something more.

Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chips 4

Fast food chicken’s appeal is in variety. While the pieces are themselves bland, they can play host to a wide array of sauces and dips. By limiting these chips to cheese, Taco Bell isn’t realizing the full potential of these dippables. Spicier selections (like the chain’s beloved Lava sauce), or even existing spreads (such as Avocado Ranch) could make this a perfect showcase for Taco Bell’s sauce catalog. Even topping these with the same options as the existing Triple Layer Nachos would’ve been great.

At $2.29 for six, the Naked Chicken Chips are a reasonable addition to any Taco Bell order. They won’t blow anyone away, but could be a valuable long-term addition to the menu.

(Nutrition Facts – 6 chips – 390 calories, 220 calories from fat, 24 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 1110 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.29
Size: 6 chips
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Hearty side, slightly different from Taco Bell’s other offerings. Good deal for the price. Could be great as a protein option for burritos, etc.
Cons: Only offered with Nacho Cheese. Not as innovative as the previous Naked Chicken offering. Chicken nuggets are available pretty much everywhere.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Loaded Taco Burrito

Taco Bell Loaded Taco Burrito

Remember that old horror movie The Fly? You know, the one where Vincent Price steps inside a teleportation machine but he doesn’t know there’s a fly in there with him so when he comes out of the machine, he turns into a horrible human-fly monster? Well, basically, that’s what Taco Bell’s latest limited time only offering is – except with way more avocado ranch sauce.

I keep trying to think of a more dignified way to describe the Loaded Taco Burrito, but the same sentence keeps popping up in my mind: “uh, guys, this is just a pureed taco wrapped up in a tortilla.” This may very well be the least inspired Taco Bell L-T-O of all time, but does the actual taste of the product offset its astonishing uncreativity?

Taco Bell Loaded Taco Burrito 2

First things first, the burrito is BIG. It’s easily twice the girth of the chain’s cheesy bean and rice burrito and it is absolutely stuffed with seasoned beef (really, enough to qualify for a double portion, maybe even a triple load.) The flour tortilla itself also seems larger and more flavorful than the ones the restaurant uses for its rank and file burritos, so that’s a nice touch, too.

As far as the other contents of the Loaded Taco Burrito, we’re primarily working with the all the usual supreme fixins: you’ve got some crispy lettuce in there, some diced tomatoes, some shredded semi-spicy cheese, a hearty dollop of sour cream and a big old squirtin’ of the Bell’s proprietary avocado ranch dressing (although you can always sub that out for one of the chain’s other dressings.) However, I want you to take a real close look at the interior contents of the LTB – notice anything peculiar?

Taco Bell Loaded Taco Burrito 3

No, your eyes aren’t fooling you. My local Bell decided to go rogue and replace the advertised crispy red tortilla strips with what is unmistakably – both visually and gustatorily – a regular old crunched up taco shell.

Normally, I would raise a great big stink about such brazen displays of franchisee rebelliousness, but I actually think it works better – conceptually and taste-wise – than it does with the tortilla strips included. And to think, some people say there’s no more ingenuity in the American workplace!

Taco Bell Loaded Taco Burrito 4

I hate to close a review by saying something as mundane and nondescriptive as “well, basically, you’re getting what it looks like,” but in the case of the LTB, it really does sorta’ review itself. The taco shell chunks/tortilla strips may be a bit superfluous for some consumers, but you really can’t complain about getting a double – leaning closer to triple – beef burrito.

And you certainly can’t argue about the price point, either – for just $1.50, you’re definitely getting a lot of bang for your buck (and a half, plus applicable state and local taxes.)

(Nutrition Facts – 550 calories, 260 from fat, 29 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 1130 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugar and 20 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.50
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: It’s basically a double beef burrito at a discounted price. You can have a lot of fun mixing and matching house dressings. It’s definitely a filling little product.
Cons: All in all, it really doesn’t taste that much different from the chain’s other burritos. It’s impossible to eat it without getting seasoned beef juice all over everything. All those nights laying wide awake, wondering how in the hell they’re going to make a Loaded Burrito Taco work.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chalupa

Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chalupa

Well, it was only a matter of time, I suppose: Taco Bell has finally taken it’s Naked Chicken Chalupa national.

For those of you not in the know, the product’s first trial run was in Bakersfield, California, in 2015, with a second go-at-it in Kansas City, Missouri, last year. And while Taco Bell has hit us with a LOT of unusual menu offerings over the years (three words, folks: Cap’n Crunch Delights) a lot of people on social media thought T.B. was hoaxing ‘em this time around – I mean, really, a chicken chalupa?

No, it’s not a chalupa with chicken in it. The chicken itself is the chalupa. And if the same mad geniuses who brought us the Beefy Fritos Crunch Burritos and Waffle Tacos decided it was nigh time for Americans to eat a giant rolled up chicken patty with lettuce and avocado ranch dressing inside it, then by golly, it’s probably time to for us to eat some giant rolled up chicken patties with lettuce and avocado ranch dressing inside it.

Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chalupa 2

Like the Doritos Locos Tacos, each Naked Chicken Chalupa comes with its own snazzy (and sturdy) paper holder. The chicken shell/patty itself is pretty darn big – about four ounces of rolled up breaded white meat, speckled with some traditional Mexican herbs and spices. There’s definitely some heat to it, but for those of you with tamer tastebuds, it probably won’t torch your tongue that much.

Taco Bell Naked Chicken Chalupa 3

On the inside, we’ve got your usual Taco Bell stuffings – chopped lettuce, some diced tomatoes, a sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese, and a hearty dollop of avocado ranch dressing holding everything together (sorry, those of you who expected a scoop of seasoned ground beef to be in there, too.)

All in all, it’s a pretty satisfying product that doesn’t taste anywhere near as weird as you’d imagine. In fact, you really don’t even feel the missing tortilla or hard shell after a couple of bites, and thankfully, the chicken patty isn’t oily or greasy so you don’t have to worry about poultry juice staining your khakis.

While Taco Bell’s breaded chicken can’t compete with the grand lions of fast food chicken sandwiches (Chick-fil-A, you have nothing to worry about here), the shell does have a very robust flavor and is surprisingly juicy. Nor does it taste terribly salty, which has always been my biggest complaint with the lower-tier fast food chicken patties out there.

Your mileage may vary on the avocado ranch dressing – I would’ve preferred a spicier chipotle sauce – but believe it or not, this thing doesn’t taste all that much different from your standard chicken taco.

Huh. Who would’ve thought the absolute strangest thing about quite possibly the strangest Taco Bell L-T-O offering ever would be just how peculiarly normal it actually is?

(Nutrition Facts – 440 calories, 270 calories from fat, 30 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 1,090 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar and 20 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: The chicken shell is big, juicy and flavorful. You can eat it without getting grease on everything within a one-mile radius. The avocado ranch dressing adds a nice little zing.
Cons: It really doesn’t taste that much different from a regular chicken taco. A couple of other in-house dressings probably would’ve been better choices. Staying up all night wondering what would’ve happened if I had asked the manager to put grilled chicken inside my chicken chalupa.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Double Stacked Tacos

Taco Bell Double Stacked Tacos

For being their titular item, I rarely find myself craving Taco Bell’s tacos. While I’m a lover of their items, the standard crunchy taco has always felt skimpy. A paltry line of beef, a cascade of limp lettuce, and a sprinkling of unmelted cheese – it’s forgettable.

So thankfully, the Bell has pumped them up for their latest iteration. Taco Bell’s Double Stack Tacos bulk up their classic standard tacos by wrapping the corn exterior with a flour tortilla, slathered in sauce and cheese. With an extra layer, each one is hefty – especially for a $1 item. Two of these could make a comfortable meal, something that can’t be said for the Bell’s un-enhanced tacos.

Taco Bell Cool Habanero Double Stacked Taco

First up is Cool Habanero. The taco is the same as you’d expect, but with a generous hit of sour cream. Around it is wrapped a flour tortilla with a spray of habanero sauce, alongside melted cheese. The intention is for the sour cream to counteract the spice, though the balance isn’t quite there. There’s more sour cream than habanero by a healthy margin, and the sauce isn’t all that potent. As a full bite, it came off blander than most Taco Bell items.

Taco Bell Nacho Crunch Double Stacked Taco

The Nacho Crunch Double Stack adds a layer of red tortilla strips to the basic taco, then surrounds it with a duet of nacho and shredded cheese. If you’ve lost count, that gives this one item three different forms of tortilla – and three total servings of cheese. Predictably, it tastes like tortilla and cheese.

The meat and lettuce are lost in this fatty carb bomb, smothered in gooey yellow. It’s puzzling why this option dodges the habanero sauce of the other two tacos, which would’ve given this a needed a kick of flavor.

Taco Bell Spicy Sweet Double Stacked Tacos

Most interesting of the trio is Spicy Sweet, featuring a sweet chili sauce unique to the item. The red sauce has a loose texture, saturated with chili flakes. It’s very sweet, but was applied conservatively across the meat. While the first bite was initially heavy on sugar, it was countered by the savory beef.

Once the habanero sauce broke through, all three flavors really clicked. The sweet chili sauce has a light heat of its own, and a bit of a fruit jam flavor. This tasty blend is spread a bit thin, though. Between the lettuce, corn tortilla, flour tortilla, and double helping of cheese – the serving of meat and sauces feels underwhelming.

Taco Bell Double Stacked Tacos

Overall, the Double Stacked Tacos are mostly notable for their price. The Nacho Crunch and Cool Habanero tacos are cheaper and bulkier than their counterparts – making them a solid pickup. Spicy Sweet is the real highlight though, and is definitely worth a try.

(Nutrition Facts – Cool Habanero – 350 calories, 180 calories from fat, 20 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 630 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein. Nacho Crunch – 380 calories, 170 calories from fat, 19 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 650 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein. Spicy Sweet – 340 calories, 160 calories from fat, 18 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 640 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.00 each
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Cool Habanero)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Nacho Crunch)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Spicy Sweet)
Pros: Very hearty for the price, while delivering classic Taco Bell flavor. Spicy Sweet variety is unique, and nails the sweet/savory/hot mix. Spices up otherwise boring tacos.
Cons: Cool Habanero needs more heat. Nacho Crunch should be Haberno Crunch. All three could use more meat.