REVIEW: Taco Bell Steakhouse Queso Nachos

Taco Bell Steakhouse Nachos

In 2012, Taco Bell offered XXL Steak Nachos that featured steak, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, a three-cheese blend, refried beans, and nacho cheese sauce on tortilla chips.

In 2015, the chain sold their BOSS Nachos that featured steak, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, a three-cheese blend, refried beans, and nacho cheese sauce on tortilla chips.

This year, Taco Bell has, for a limited time, Steakhouse Queso Nachos that come with — say it with me now — steak, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, a three-cheese blend, refried beans, and…not nacho cheese sauce on tortilla chips.

This time it’s queso.

I’ve always liked Taco Bell’s limited time only nachos because they come in a container large enough that I can imagine I’m eating nachos from a trough. I just put my hands behind my back, like I’m bobbing for apples or throwing up into a toilet, and then just dig in.

The nachos’ highlight was the queso. It’s such a simple ingredient, but it added a nice creamy, cheesy, and spicy kick to everything. Okay, not everything. While the queso itself was great, the amount on the chips wasn’t. Maybe a third of them were topped with it, and that’s disappointing because it’s a step up from the nacho cheese sauce.

If I had to pick a lowlight it would be the tortilla chips. Under sections that had lots of toppings, the chips sucked whatever moisture they could and quickly got soggy. About half of the chips were in this condition by the time I got to eat them after a five minute car ride home. But I shouldn’t be surprised since that is the nature of nachos.

Taco Bell Steakhouse Nachos 2

As for the steak, sour cream, pico de gallo, three-cheese blend, and refried beans, all of which I’ve had (and you’ve had) in other menu items, my only complaints about them are not having enough of the tender, marinated steak to justify the high price, not having as much refried beans as the other toppings, and how unnecessary the three-cheese blend is because it doesn’t stand out at all with the other ingredients.

Overall, if you liked the previous steak nachos, I think these are a slight improvement thanks to the queso. And I’m sure you’ll like the future version of these nachos in 2017 or 2018 when they’re called Doubledilla Nachos or Great Steak Nachos.

(Nutrition Facts – 1130 calories, 500 calories from fat, 56 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 2210 milligrams of sodium, 116 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 40 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $7.99*
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Queso is a step up from the nacho cheese sauce. Large serving. Being able to pretend I’m eating nachos from a trough. Tender steak. Not exactly like the previous limited time only nachos.
Cons: Would’ve like more queso. The nature of nachos. Not having the food science that allows chips to remain crunchy longer than the flavor of Fruit Stripe gum. Not enough steak to justify price. Needs more refried beans. Useless three-cheese blend.

*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 Cheesy Core Burritos (Crunchy and Spicy)

Taco Bell Cheese Core Burritos

Without the Earth’s core, the Earth would die. Without an ooey gooey cheesy core, Taco Bell’s Cheesy Core Burrito would be lame.

Is it lame?

Well, all I can tell you is that it’s not as lame as making you read several paragraphs to find out if it’s lame.

The Cheesy Core Burrito is available in two varieties — Crunchy and Spicy.

The Crunchy one is a burrito with seasoned beef, premium Latin rice, red sauce, and reduced-fat sour cream with a cheesy core that features a melted 3-cheese blend, nacho cheese sauce, and red tortilla strips. The Spicy version has almost the same ingredients as the Crunchy one, but instead of red tortilla strips, there are jalapeños. I decided to try both.

The burritos are two inches wide and 6.5 inches long. To be honest, it’s neat how it’s put together. It’s basically a tiny cheese burrito in the middle of another burrito. When I took it apart, it was like finding a fish in the stomach of another fish or seeing a Luke Wilson cameo in an Owen Wilson movie. It’s also…BURRITOCEPTION! Sorry. I’m sure someone would’ve written that in the comments if I didn’t mention it first.

Taco Bell Spicy Cheesy Core Burritos
Taco Bell Spicy Cheesy Core Burrito

Mine were made by two different workers. The spicy one was made with care and the crunchy one was made with I don’t care. My Spicy Cheesy Core Burrito had a centered distinguishable core, while the crunchy one looked like it was rejecting its core. I thought cutting them in half would cause cheese to ooze out from the center, turning the cross-section burrito photos I took into explicit food porn that may need some parts pixelated.

Taco Bell Crunchy Cheesy Core Burritos
Taco Bell Crunchy Cheesy Core Burrito

Unfortunately, the cheese didn’t bleed out, but there’s a reason for that. There’s not a lot of cheese and there’s a lot more red tortilla strips/jalapenos than you’d expect. With both my burritos, they looked and tasted as if they had a normal amount of cheese. The cores weren’t even close to being as cheesy as the ads show them.

Look, I understand the rules of fast food — always know where the restrooms are whenever you eat it and it never looks the way it does on the poster. But when I bite into these burritos I want it to feel like I’m a cheese vampire and I’ve just punctured the jugular vein of cheese.

Texture-wise the tortilla strips were mostly soggy by the time I got to bite into them. So if you want to experience a crunch, might I suggest chomping on it the second you get them or get the Spicy one because the jalapeños have a nice crunch.

The best way I can describe the flavor of these burritos is to say they taste like Taco Bell. Because if you eat either one, I’m sure you’ll think to yourself, “I’ve had this before.” With both burritos the dominate flavors are the seasoned beef, sour cream, and the nacho cheese sauce. I can probably count on both hands the number of times I’ve tasted this combination from Taco Bell. The number of times I’ve experienced those flavors with jalapeños probably takes up one hand. It’s just the same flavors but in a different, albeit cool, package.

If I had to suggest a variety to try, I’d recommend going with the Spicy one because you’ll get spicy and crunchy in one. But overall, these burritos are lame because they lack a really cheesy core.

(Nutrition Facts – Crunchy – 630 calories, 26 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 1530 milligrams of sodium, 76 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 22 grams of protein. Spicy – 570 calories, 23 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 1760 milligrams of sodium, 68 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 22 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.39*
Size: N/A
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Crunchy)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Spicy)
Pros: Jalapeños have a little heat and are crunchier than the red tortilla strips. It’s cute how it’s a tiny burrito in another burrito. Earth’s core.
Cons: Tastes like Taco Bell. Cheesy core not very cheesy. Crunchy one needs to be eaten quickly to experience crunch. Making you read a bunch of paragraphs to find out if it’s lame.

*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 Quesalupa

Taco Bell Quesalupa

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.

Taco Bell Quesalupa 4

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.

Taco Bell Quesalupa 3

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.

Taco Bell Quesalupa 2

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)
Size: N/A
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.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Sriracha Chicken and Spicy Beefy Nacho Crunchwrap Sliders

Taco Bell Sriracha Chicken Crunchwrap Slider

Cheap.

It’s what Taco Bell does best.

What Taco Bell is also good at is coming up with a gazillion varieties of the same products. So many different tacos. So many different burritos. So many different Freezes. And now so many different Crunchwrap Sliders.

If you’re not familiar with Crunchwrap Sliders, let me put it to you this way. If the original Crunchwrap is Khloe Kardashian, then Crunchwrap Sliders are the significantly smaller Kourtney Kardashian. Oh wait…I should really write the previous sentence this way: If the original Krunchwrap is Khloe Kardashian, then Krunchwrap Sliders are the significantly smaller Kourtney Kardashian. Now it’s korrect.

Last year, about this time, these smaller Crunchwraps debuted with three varieties — Beefy Cheddar, Spicy Chicken, and BLT. This year two of the flavors are back — Beefy Cheddar and BLT — but this time they’ve brought along the new Sriracha Chicken and Spicy Beefy Nacho.

The Sriracha Chicken comes with shredded chicken, Fritos chips, and Taco Bell’s sriracha wrapped hexagonal in a flour tortilla. The Spicy Beef Nacho has seasoned beef, Fritos chips, creamy chipotle sauce, and nacho cheese sauce in a flour tortilla.

Yes, there aren’t a lot of ingredients in each one. But the lack of components does two things: it keeps the menu item cheap and allows our taste buds to really notice the sauces in them.

The Sriracha Chicken is somewhat similar to last year’s Spicy Chicken with chipotle sauce. The only part that’s different is the sauce. I didn’t think too highly of the Spicy Chicken because it wasn’t very spicy. But this new chicken Crunchwrap Slider has a bit more heat, although I wish it had more. It’s not “Oh my God, I need some Mountain Dew Baja Blast NOW” hot, but it’s a step above what the Spicy Chicken offered.

As you can see in the photo above, the chicken wasn’t shredded, it was chopped into chunks, which I didn’t mind. It was also a little dried out, but still easy to chew. Again, because there weren’t a lot of ingredients, I could really taste the garlic and peppers from the sriracha, which was something I really didn’t experience with Taco Bell’s Sriracha Quesarito. Because of the sriracha, this Crunchwrap Slider is my favorite out of all of them.

Taco Bell Spicy Beefy Nacho Crunchwrap Slider

My new third favorite is the Spicy Beefy Nacho (BLT is my number two). The creamy chipotle sauce isn’t very spicy, but it has a nice smoky, zesty flavor that seems to work better with their seasoned beef than their chicken. Yeah, I’m talking about you, Spicy Chicken Crunchwrap Slider. The mixing of the chipotle sauce with the nacho cheese sauce created a nice queso flavor. If you liked the Beefy Cheddar version, but wished it has a bit more flavor, then the Spicy Beefy Nacho will satisfy your taco hole.

As for the Fritos chips, despite being in flour tortilla cocoons, they were able to maintain some crunchiness. And because there aren’t a lot of ingredients to get in the way of each other, I could taste the corn and salt from the Fritos as I ate my way through each one. Thank goodness because what’s the point of having Fritos if we can’t taste the Fritos.

For a dollar, both of these new Crunchwrap Sliders are totally worth it. They prove once again that Taco Bell knows how to do cheap and tasty. Now if only the chain would add these to their regular menu.

(Nutrition Facts – Sriracha Chicken – 370 calories, 15 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 980 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein. Spicy Beefy Nacho – 460 calories, 25 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 1030 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.)

Item: Taco Bell Sriracha Chicken and Spicy Beefy Nacho Crunchwrap Sliders
Purchased Price: $1.79 each*
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Sriracha Chicken)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Spicy Beefy Nacho)
Pros: Cheap. Sriracha Chicken is way better then Spicy Chicken. The sauces. Chipotle sauce works better with seasoned ground beef than shredded chicken. Fritos chips remained somewhat crunchy.
Cons: Something so small has so much sodium. Those looking to burn their mouths will have to burn their mouths with something else. Wish the Sriracha Chicken had a bit more heat. Not cheap here on this rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

*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 Boss Wraps (Fully Loaded Steak and Steak & Potato)

Taco Bell Boss Wraps

Steak.

It’s what can make Taco Bell, which is usually coins under your car’s floor mats cheap, expensive. But if you want to splurge at the fast food chain because you have $6 in bills instead of $2.26 in loose change, might I suggest Taco Bell’s Boss Wraps.

The new menu item is available in two varieties: Fully Loaded Steak and Steak & Potato.

The Fully Loaded Steak comes with a double portion of steak, reduced fat sour cream, avocado ranch sauce, lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, a crunchy tostada shell, and a 3-cheese blend wrapped up in a tortilla. The Steak & Potato Boss Wrap features a double portion of steak, chopped bacon, chipotle sauce, a 3-cheese blend, reduced fat sour cream, a crunchy tostada shell, and crispy potatoes in a tortilla.

Taco Bell Boss Wraps 2

Because of its name, I felt as if it was necessary to start my order with either a “hey man,” “yo,” or a “whaddup” and then emphasize the word “boss.” My cashier didn’t care.

Taco Bell Steak & Potato Boss Wrap

If you have to choose one of the two varieties, go with the Steak & Potato. The potatoes weren’t crunchy when I bit into mine, but, to be fair, they were sitting in the tortilla while I took too many photos. But their flavor made up for their lack of crispiness. Their seasoning reminds me of curly fries and they go well with the chipotle sauce. If Taco Bell ever offers their crispy potatoes with a side of chipotle dipping sauce on their value menu, I’d buy that.

The bacon bits add a smokiness and saltiness, but when eaten alone, I didn’t immediately think of bacon. Instead, I thought of how Taco Bell’s sad bacon bits depress me. While the potatoes didn’t have any crispiness, the tostada shell still had a nice crunch, giving the menu item a different texture.

The double portion of steak, which seemed more like a single portion, was easy to bite through and lightly seasoned. But the steak’s flavor does take a back seat to the chipotle sauce and potatoes. I wish it stood out a bit more.

Taco Bell Fully Loaded Steak Boss Wrap

As for the Fully Loaded Steak Boss Wrap, I liked the avocado ranch sauce, there was a good amount of guacamole, the steak’s flavor was more noticeable, the pico de gallo wasn’t, and the tostada shell still had its crunch. It’s got a lot of nice flavors, but while eating it, I couldn’t help but think I was experiencing Taco Bell deja vu.

If you’re a fan of Taco Bell’s Crunchwrap Supreme, think of these Boss Wraps as upscaled versions with prices to match. The national advertised price is $4.99 and I paid $6.19 each for mine. The Fully Loaded Steak version tasted like something I’ve had before from Taco Bell, but I just can’t put my sour cream, avocado ranch sauce, and guacamole stained finger on it. But, yo, I think the Steak & Potato Boss Wrap is definitely boss.

Am I writing that right?

(Nutrition Facts – Fully Loaded Steak – 760 calories, 39 grams of fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 1610 milligrams of sodium, 69 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 32 grams of protein. Steak & Potato – 870 calories, 46 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 1960 milligrams of sodium, 78 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 37 grams of protein.)

Item: Taco Bell Boss Wraps (Fully Loaded Steak and Steak & Potato)
Purchased Price: $6.19*
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Fully Loaded Steak)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Steak & Potato)
Pros: Both taste fine, but the Steak & Potato tastes better. The chipotle sauce and potatoes in the Steak & Potato Boss Wrap. Tostada shell still crunchy.
Cons: Fully Loaded Steak tasted like something else on Taco Bell’s menu. Pricey. Double portion of steak seemed like a single portion. Steak’s flavor doesn’t really stand out. Taco Bell’s bacon needs an upgrade.

*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.