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 Size: N/A 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.
Based on the popular (I’m guessing) supreme fries and not-so-supreme burritos that were featured on the Taco Bell menu a short time ago, this is the home-game version of the Reaper Ranch flavor of the famed sauce, now in the form of a heavily-dusted tortilla chip.
How are they?
As I sat there, my mouth burning in a Carolina-based pepper-fueled ecstasy of sorts, I have to admit that I did like these Reaper Ranch spin-offs more than their Taco Bell menu board counterparts. On a tortilla chip, while the Reaper peppers are hotter than ever and the Ranch is also far more prominent, the notable flavoring beautifully covers the light and airy triangles of corn to great effect.
Munching these considerately and carefully, I realized that years of sampling different Doritos concoctions have trained me to graciously accept the surprisingly different flavors of these Taco Bell tortilla chips. Remember those Wasabi Doritos? I loved those and, if I may, I love these as well.
Is there anything else you need to know?
After handling the Reaper Ranch chips, remember to immediately wash your hands thoroughly before touching or rubbing your eyes. It took me almost twenty minutes to get the mace-like burning to become somewhat manageable.
The Taco Bell Reaper Ranch Tortilla Chips can really do no wrong, finding the niche that the fries and burrito never could. Too bad, though, that Taco Bell hasn’t made the Reaper Ranch sauce available as a kicky party dip. Imagine the meta-dining dipping these chips into that sauce. The fiery mind reels.
Purchased Price: $1.29 Size: 3.5 oz. bag Purchased at: Walmart Rating: 8 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: (1 oz.) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 120 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.
Taco Bell’s frozen drinks are quite popular, especially in the searing sun of the summertime. This latest flavor, Cherry Sunset Freeze, totally exploits that burning need to cool down with a bit of cherry syrup layered in with the pineapple slush to make a beautifully scenic drink.
How is it?
Like a positively primo Don Henley tune, this smooth elixir is the perfect taste for an evening of, perhaps, eating tacos on the Taco Bell patio, if there is one. Or, most likely, hanging in the backyard with the dog and a couple of bean burritos, which is more my speed in the summertime.
The thirst-quenching cherry syrup hits my first like a wave of dusk washing over the evening sky, with the clever pineapple slush refreshing my insides like the last peeks of sunlight on a sultry day. Both flavors are very present and complement each other graciously, providing cool relief without the horrid cough syrup aftertaste that so many of these novelty freezes seem to have.
Is there anything else you need to know?
If I was a drinking man, which, sadly, I’m not, a couple of jiggers of rum really would have been tropically lovely in this, making for a festive fiesta of one.
Holding tight to my cup, even as my Cherry Sunset Freeze melted in the 103 degree Oklahoma evening, it maintained a decidedly winterish feel to my summery surroundings. With an absolutely inventive taste that keeps going after the drink has long melted into a cup of syrup, this is the flavor sensation to truly beat the freakish heat.
Purchased Price: $1.00 (Happy Hour) Size: 16 oz. Rating: 8 out of 10 Nutrition Facts: 190 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 51 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 49 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.
As the Reaper-fueled fire in my belly from the Sonic Mocktail the other day had finally become little more than smoldering embers along my digestive track, Taco Bell succinctly took over the gastric position of flavor inciter with a heated pair of delicacies that surely stoked those internal flames with its latest addition to the what-seems-to-be nationwide call for a Carolina Reaper-based line of edibles: the new Taco Bell Reaper Ranch duo of supreme fries and a burrito.
And, unlike the Sonic Reaper Margarita, this one actually does make sense, to me, at least.
Combining the calculated burn of the diabolical Reaper pepper with the cooling vibe of ranch dressing, the Reaper Ranch sauce, as it is called here, is a prime testament to how to make this pepper work without scaring and traumatizing those who usually need to be gently coaxed into the hot tub of spicy goodness. The seasoned spice-user, on the other hand, will love the methodical slow burn of the food items, one that allows you to actually enjoy the heat and the eat.
Featuring a pliable handful of chopped tomatoes, nacho cheese and sour cream – as well as plenty of that Reaper Ranch sauce, mama — this most beautiful mixture is dropped on the chain’s specially-seasoned Nacho Fries, with plenty of largish chunks of steak to make for a dream-worthy meal. Of course, the fries give off their own zippy flavor, but partnered up on the dance floor with the specially-made sauce and you’ve got another short-term classic on your hands, Taco Bell.
But it’s still missing something, and it’s brutally found and made mercilessly better in the tempestuously transcendent Reaper Ranch Fries Burrito. Wrapped loosely in a wide flour tortilla, this burrito showcases all the same supreme fries ingredients above but, you know, all in a wholly convenient two-handed carrier. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: nothing can force me to give any foodstuff an extra point like a tortilla, be it corn or, in this case, like I said, flour.
The Reaper Ranch gives the burrito a mature kick I wasn’t expecting, even more adult than the Rattlesnake Fries released a few months ago. Maybe it’s because all the tastes are bunched up together, but when the Reaper hits — and, man alive, does it hit — it makes for even better eating by allowing the meat, cheese, and sour cream — rather than just the potatoes — to never overpower it, instead working with it for a deliciousness that truly represents what the Reaper Ranch should be about.
The prices — $3.09 for the burrito, $3.59 for the fries — may seem a little steep at first glance, but, as these goods are available for the dreaded limited time only, now is the time to dig deep into that piggy bank and, at the very least, give one of them the ol’ college try. Don’t fear the Reaper…Ranch, that is. Cómpralo ya!
Purchased Price: $3.59 (Fries) $3.09 (Burrito) Size: N/A Rating: 8 out of 10 (Fries) 9 out of 10 (Burrito) Nutrition Facts:Fries – 470 calories, 29 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 950 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 3 gram of sugar, and 12 grams of protein. Burrito – 490 calories, 24 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 1060 milligrams of sodium, 53 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 4 gram of sugar, and 16 grams of protein.
The Bell continues its recent trend of Loading up just about every item on its menu, now delicately doctoring up its tacos with the tight and tangy addition of seasoned red chips and nacho cheese along with seasoned beef, lettuce, and shredded cheese in a warm flour tortilla. It’s as good as it sounds.
How is it?
In a word, majestuoso. Taco Bell really makes the hungry diner feel like nacho cheese sauce has always been the one element missing from most tacos in existence, especially those of a faux-Mexican descent.
On the Loaded Nacho Taco, the seasoned red chips are fine to be sure, but it’s the comforting amount of gooey nacho cheese that makes this taco variation a definite must-try. A deliciously necessary coating for the rapturous seasoned beef — a mixture T.B. always does right — with its soft flour tortillas completely sealing this culinary deal.
Even better is the mouth-warming Spicy Loaded Nacho Taco, which is basically like the original version with the welcomed bonus of fiery jalapenos to turn the heat up. Mine was practically overloaded with the hellish green discs.
Is there anything else you need to know?
The best thing about these? They’re dollar menu items, allowing even someone with merely a handful of pocket change to enjoy one or, someone with even more cash on hand, to enjoy both of them, possibly even more.
True to form, Taco Bell’s dollar menu delights continue to amaze with the amount of food and flavor it can pack into a buck’s worth of grub; this duo of Loaded Nacho Tacos are absolutely no exception. They’re, of course, a limited time offer, so you better get them while the getting’s good, hombre.
Purchased Price: $1.00 each ?Size: N/A ?Rating: 8 out of 10 (Loaded Nacho Taco) Rating: 9 out of 10 (Spicy Loaded Nacho Taco) ?Nutrition Facts:Loaded Nacho Taco – 280 calories, 14 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 670 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 10 grams of protein. Spicy Loaded Nacho Taco – 290 calories, 14 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 800 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 10 grams of protein.
Like an angry sirocco tearing through the cactus-strewn desert of Death Valley, Taco Bell has inevitably whipped up a whole nest of spicy snakes into a flavorful frenzy with both the figurative and literal arrival of what is now more popularly known as the Steak Rattlesnake Fries and the Steak Rattlesnake Fries Burrito.
Utilizing its delicious fries, beautifully clad in a hefty amount of taco seasoning, combined with its patented nacho cheese goodness, creamy jalapeno sauce, chunky cuts of steak, and scads upon scads of perfectly sliced jalapenos, together they all naturally combine to deliver an unholy bit of border-bound heat, especially when purposefully devoured with that Taco Bell passion I know we can all muster.
The Taco Bell’s Nacho Fries — reviewed here before — are, of course, a surefire winner, delivering some of the best fast-food fries in the business, but the addition of these tongue-searing extras make the Steak Rattlesnake Fries a wholly welcomed addition to the TB menu. I personally believe that what makes the Bell’s newest menu items so fire-worthy is that, with this delectable go ‘round, it’s definitely not afraid to bring the heat and bring it mercilessly.
The dark spices on the fries, the creamy jalapeno sauce, and especially the multiple jalapeno slices are a definite match made in the deepest pits of Mexico, delivering a heat that, for about a minute, renders the actual taste of the fries a bit obsolete. But, hold steady and that’s when the actual flavor of the fries comes through, a passport from the edge of righteous potatoes to the subtle cream of the jalapeno sauce. It’s a flavor train that goes even deeper with the Steak Rattlesnake Fries Burrito.
Taking a cue from some of this country’s bravest five-year-old chefs, combining Taco Bell’s fries with a burrito is already the game-ball, but to add in this Rattlesnake variety, it’s the whole damn championship. Combining a large tortilla with, of course, the Taco Bell fries with the aforementioned nacho cheese, jalapeno sauce, steak, and even more of the vaunted jalapeno slices, it makes it an easier to eat method of madness. Not to mention how devilishly delicious the whole thing absolutely is.
Here, the steak really shines through, mingling in a seductive tango with the impervious creamy jalapeno sauce. The nacho cheese, per usual, adds an extra kick but, once again, the addition of real live jalapenos is what it’s all about, a much-needed addition of puro machismo that most of the burritos on Taco Bell’s menu could definitely use. Maybe a little of that jalapeno sauce too, but far be it from me to ask for too many extras.
But, if I may, my main complaint with both of these products would be the $2.99 price tag. The container holding the Steak Rattlesnake Fries is a bit chintzy and, the Steak Rattlesnake Fries Burrito, while seemingly more when holding it in your hands, is apparently even less. Dine accordingly, but, as they are here for a limited time only, maybe order both or, if I’m being honest, order two burritos and be done with it. You’ve probably spent far more for far less.
Currently, some Taco Bell locations around the country are in the process of test-marketing the supposedly even hotter Reaper Ranch Fries, made with, as you probably guessed, the famed Carolina Reaper peppers. And while it might or might not ever make it to market, nfor now, we can all be routinely thankful and stop by the Bell to take a venomous bite of out of the Rattlesnake. Cómpralo ya!
Purchased Price: $2.99 each ?Size: N/A ?Rating: 8 out of 10 (Steak Rattlesnake Fries) Rating: 9 out of 10 (Steak Rattlesnake Fries Burrito) 9 out of 10 ?Nutrition Facts:Steak Rattlesnake Fries – 450 calories, 28 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 1150 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 3 grams of total sugars, and 12 grams of protein. Steak Rattlesnake Fries Burrito 470 calories, 22 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 1260 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 4 grams of total sugars, and 15 grams of protein.