Like the bright shimmer of hidden gold from the lost city of El Dorado, Taco Bell’s newest menu item is a shining beacon of simple ingenuity filtered through pure borderland knowhow. The Toasted Cheddar Chalupa is a revelation of fried bread and cheese, combined the way Quetzalcoatl intended.
When unwrapped from its thin paper sheath, the grease stains catching the light allows the chalupa shell to portray a certain kind of inalienable beauty. Taco Bell has turned this thick carb-heavy casing into a surprising work of edible art that feels right at home in my quivering hands.
The basis of the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa is the chalupa shell itself: an amazing feat of Tex-Mex handcraftiness. It’s a fried centerpiece that, now with the yellow bits of cheddar cheese clinging for additional flavor, is a treasured piece of corporate frybread that one could eat all day if they ever decided to stop living by the laws of common decency.
Seriously, if Taco Bell were to ever offer these chalupa shells by themselves, I would order a slick dozen fresh from the fryer, no problem. Call it sacrilege if you must, but I actually prefer them to the lauded Doritos Locos taco shells.
The typical Taco Bell fillings are all present and accounted for — temperate ground beef, cool lettuce, chopped tomatoes, stringy cheese, and reduced fat sour cream. They all seem to be spiritually created simply to mate graphically with this chalupa shell.
It was still crunchy even after an hour or two of sitting by itself on my dining room table. Even the best tacos the Bell has to offer can’t live up to that scrutiny.
More of this please, Taco Bell.
Purchased Price: $2.49
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 450 calories, 30 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 550 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.