REVIEW: Taco Bell Veggie Nachos Party Pack

Taco Bell Veggie Nachos Party Pack 18 inches

As someone who lived through the early 2000s when most fast food vegetarian options were a side salad, freezer-burnt black bean burger, or being told to “just pick off the meat,” I can say with great enthusiasm: it’s a great time to be a vegetarian.

While I am no longer strictly following the vegetarian diet, I will still happily get things marked “Vegetarian.” So, naturally, when Taco Bell advertised the Veggie Nachos Party Pack as part of its new Veggie Cravings menu, I was intrigued.

While the Party Pack Nachos aren’t a new item for Taco Bell, this version seems to be specifically branded as a vegetarian item to help push the new menu. It consists of tortilla chips topped with refried beans, warm nacho cheese sauce, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, guacamole, and reduced-fat sour cream. That’s it. I was surprised by how simple the ingredient list seemed. But I looked at the meat option too, and it came with both beef and refried beans. So why wouldn’t this one have refried AND black beans? All the other items on the Veggie Cravings menu have black beans.

Taco Bell Veggie Nachos Party Pack Guac and Jalapeno Closeup

I cannot understate how much food it is. I measured the length of the box, and it was around 18 inches. Unfortunately, the large quantity of food didn’t quite make up for the lack of quality. The initial shock of “wow, that’s a LOT of food” wore off quickly as I started to eat. It became very clear that the amount of toppings was not proportional to the amount of chips. In fact, after removing the top layer of chips and toppings, the bottom of the box was littered with the tiny broken tortilla chip bits.

Taco Bell Veggie Nachos Party Pack Too Many Chips on the Dance Floor

When getting bites with all the toppings and chips together, the item was fine. While I feel most of us are familiar with the flavors of Taco Bell, this item really showcased how they are not meant to be eaten separately. When all layered into a taco/burrito/Crunchwrap, you get the experience of all the flavors in one bite. In a nacho situation, you are often eating a chip with just some cheese or refried beans and it highlights how they don’t really stand out on their own. The occasional jalapeno or tomato piece was welcome, but didn’t do much to move the flavor needle. Maybe I expect too much from Taco Bell, but the overall salty blandness of the item was disappointing.

Taco Bell Veggie Nachos Party Pack Plated

When ordering, you are given multiple options to add other toppings to the nachos. I think, if I were to do this again, I’d add rice and black beans (which should have been there in the first place). However, when you start adding up the cost of additional items, I’m inclined to just pay the extra $2 and go to Chipotle. The only “additions” I included were three specialty sauces on the side to use as dips. I am glad we got them as we were able to eat some of the untopped chips before tapping out.

Overall, it’s not a bad item, just not as good as I felt it could have been. If you are not a strict vegetarian, I’d at least go with the Nachos Party Pack with meat. It costs the same, and (hopefully) you’d get a little more food.

Purchased Price: $10.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 box) 1770 calories, 93 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 2510 milligrams of sodium, 206 grams of carbohydrates, 34 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 28 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Black Bean Toasted Cheddar Chalupa

Taco Bell Black Bean Toasted Cheddar Chalupa Whole

“Vegetarians rejoice: now you too can join your meat-eating brethren by stuffing your gullet with Taco Bellian deliciousness!” feels like the kind of thing Taco Bell’s marketing department might want me to write with the release of its “new” vegetarian-friendly menu item, the Black Bean Toasted Cheddar Chalupa.

I won’t do it, though.

Why?

Because, despite what the taco chain wants you to believe, non-meat eaters have always been able to clog their arteries right along with everyone else. Its refried beans, in fact, are vegan. Its black beans have been around for years and, in this modern era of customization, can be subbed for just about any other protein on its menu.

Furthermore, the toasted cheddar chalupa shell isn’t a “new” item, either. When it was first introduced in September of 2019, Taco Bell proclaimed it “the biggest food innovation of the year,” which, sure, why not. I can’t disprove this statement, nor am I sure why I’d want to.

So, here we are a year later, and Taco Bell is cramming the aforementioned black beans into the reintroduced cheesy chalupa shell. Perhaps it’s hoping it’ll placate vegetarians enough to not riot over the fact that it recently did away with one of the other things they could eat: the fried potatoes.

And so, does it work? Maybe!

As one might expect, the chalupa shell (which Taco Bell suggests is ensconced in cheddar that has been aged for six months) does the heavy lifting. This was my first experience with the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa — with any kind of filling — and I was very pleased. Texturally, the cheese adds a nice crunch that then yields to the pillowed, buttery chew of the traditional chalupa shell. Could I tell the cheese had been aged six months? No. Was it a little like when shredded cheese falls out of the omelet you’re making, and it gets all crispy in the pan, and you eat it and think, “now this is allllll right”? Yes.

I could happily eat eight of these shells with nothing else in them and call it a day.

I didn’t, however, because that would make for a bizarre review. Also, the one I ordered was filled with black beans, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream.

Taco Bell Black Bean Toasted Cheddar Chalupa Shell

You might be wondering how the shredded cheese plays with the toasted cheese on the shell, and the short answer is…indistinguishably? The longer, more ridiculous answer is that they harmoniously — though indifferently — coexist, like an old cat and old dog who live together but mostly just stay out of each other’s way. In other words, if they forgot to add your shredded cheese, it probably wouldn’t detract from the experience.

Which leaves the seasoned beans. And the verdict? I mean, they’re black beans, and by default, not very jazzy in nature. They are also a bit soupier than say, Chipotle’s black beans, but they have about the same amount of flavor. (It is also very possible the sour cream adds to this soupiness; that said, it provides a much needed tang to the proceedings, and I’d be hesitant to leave it off.)

While the Black Bean Toasted Cheddar Chalupa probably won’t convince anyone to give up their meat-eating ways, it does provide existing vegetarians with a nice alternative to the regular bean burrito or whatever that thing is with pinto beans and cheese in a cup. At least until this heavenly shell is once again banished to fast food purgatory. Then it’s back to subbing in black beans to a normal chalupa like a common street rat.

Purchased Price: $3.39
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 470 calories, 29 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 450 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 6 gram of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Grilled Cheese Burrito

Taco Bell Grilled Cheese Burrito Innards

As a kid, I didn’t grow up with grilled cheese sandwiches like other American youth. No, instead my own personal comfort food was always a hot tortilla, toasted light brown on a comal and always with a fistful of cheese.

It’s kind of magic that Taco Bell has not only recaptured that, but improved on it gloriously with its Grilled Cheese Burrito, going as far as to actually coat the whole damn thing in a remarkably thin layer of cheese on the outside.

When I first heard about it, even knowing the hungry geniuses that rock and rule the Bell, I was a bit skeptical about them pulling it off, but they did.

Opening up that warm foil wrapper, the cheese dutifully spilled out of the loosely wrapped tortilla as a sun yellow glaze tints the presumably once-white burrito sheath.

Taco Bell Grilled Cheese Burrito

Thick and hearty, the sizable girth comes from the three-cheese blend, seasoned beef, seasoned rice, reduced fat sour cream, nacho cheese sauce, chipotle sauce, and those festive red tortilla strips that add some crunch.

Much like the aforementioned grilled cheese sandwich, this burrito hit my tongue with a mock-buttery goodness that gives off the immediate taste of the well-worn and well-used grill, with the first layer of cheesiness and tortilla recklessly coming together in a passionate embrace.

Taco Bell Grilled Cheese Burrito Innards Open

But then you bite through the crispy outsides to unleash a torrent of Taco Bell’s beautifully mixed and matched insides, with the tangy cheeses and tart sour cream being the first to flood through. But look out, here comes the seasoned meat and chipotle sauce mixed somewhere in there with the rice to fill your stomach after every nosh and nibble.

While I might have had grilled cheese tortillas as my comfort food growing up, I’ve never had anything like the Taco Bell Grilled Cheese Burrito. And, thank God I didn’t because I would have been lounging in that aura of comfortability way more than I ever should have because it’s a faux-Mexican masterpiece.

Now, as a grown-up, I have the self control to stop at two or three.

Possibly four.

Definitely five.

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 710 calories, 39 grams of fat, 15 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 1490 milligrams of sodium, 64 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 26 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Pineapple Whip Freeze

Taco Bell Pineapple Whip Freeze

What is Taco Bell’s Pineapple Whip Freeze?

If you ever wanted a virgin pina colada from Taco Bell, now’s your chance.

How is it?

As far as frozen fast food drinks go, the Pineapple Whip Freeze is top-tier. It’s like drinking a refreshing pina colada-flavored Slurpee with an injection of vanilla cream replacing the coconut flavor.

Taco Bell Pineapple Whip Freeze Top

The pineapple slush is vibrant and delicious, and the vanilla flavor complements it perfectly, yet I was still left mildly unfulfilled.

I couldn’t help but think how perfect this would be if Taco Bell had an ice cream machine.

Taco Bell Pineapple Whip Freeze Bottom

While this Freeze tastes great overall, this would have been an all-time elite with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream as opposed to the “vanilla creamer whip” that Taco Bell classifies it as.

I think the image of a Dole Whip was unfairly dancing in my head every time I took a sip, so maybe that’s an unfair complaint, but still, this would have been a 10 if it was pineapple slush mixed with a thick vanilla shake. In fairness, it melted a bit in the eight minute or so drive home.

Taco Bell Pineapple Whip Freeze Melt

Anything else you need to know?

Despite my petty whining, it’s a great drink to usher in the warmer weather. It also perfectly complemented the burrito I absolutely Frankensteined in the Taco Bell app by adding almost every possible ingredient.

I bet this would make a fantastic alcoholic drink. I may grab another one and toss an airplane shot of Malibu or two in the cup. Don’t judge me. It’s summer. Live más.

Oh, and this was supposed to come with a green lid to give it a fun pineapple appearance. Naturally, I didn’t get one, because I NEVER get the special edition packaging on anything for some reason.

Conclusion:

The syrupy vanilla wasn’t as perfect as I had hoped, but the Pineapple Whip Freeze was still pretty fantastic. If you’re a fan of Dole Whips, I would recommend getting the regular Pineapple Freeze and adding your own vanilla ice cream (and maybe a shot of rum).

Purchased Price: $2.49 ($1 during Happier Hour)
Size: Regular
Purchased at: Taco Bell
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 210 calories, 1 grams of fat, .5 grams of saturated fat, 55 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of total carbohydrates, 49 grams of total sugars, 0 grams of fiber, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Flamin’ Hot Doritos Locos Tacos

Taco Bell Flamin Hot Doritos Locos Tacos

In 2012, arguably, the most important fast food creation of the past twenty years hit our national gullet, the Doritos Locos Taco, available in Nacho Cheese and, soon after, Cool Ranch. Only the tastiest thinkers at Taco Bell could have come up with them, and, in return, a hungry America turned these tacos into a nationwide obsession.

I’m happy to say that I’m able to relive that minor passion with the recently released Taco Bell Flamin’ Hot Doritos Locos Taco. It’s a snack food that, with one burning bite, will take us back to those carefree times eight years ago when procuring a Locos Taco was the only pressing thing on our minds.

Taco Bell Flamin Hot Doritos Locos Tacos Innards

A daunting mix of the usual blend of seasoned ground beef, cheddar cheese, and cool lettuce, the star here is the crunchy taco itself: a full Doritos Locos shell covered in the fiery Flamin’ Hot powdery foodstuff. It’s a thick layer that’ll leave even the most casual of taco noshers licking their fingertips seductively just to catch every burning bit.

With a bit of salt to tease the coming heat, though flimsy, the shell truly is another one of Taco Bell’s orchestral delights. It fills the cheeks with an uncompromising heat that actually improves the somewhat rote innards. Take each bite slowly and with meaning to catch the exact moment when it goes from merely hot to Flamin’ Hot.

It’s a momentary slap of fast food sense upside the head, one that is much needed these days.

Taco Bell Flamin Hot Doritos Locos Tacos Standing

And while, unlike the loved Cool Ranch and beloved Nacho Cheese varieties, it might be a bit difficult to down more than two of these at a time, as the Flamin’ Hot variety is far more of an unholy expert’s taco. It’s one for the practiced professional that needs this heat in their life, perhaps with a dash of Diablo sauce for tongue-searing reimbursement.

Purchased Price: $1.89
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 170 calories, 10 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 380 milligrams of sodium, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 3 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Triplelupa

Taco Bell Triplelupa

The lord God Almighty, sitting on his golden throne in all of his wisdom and glory, gave us the ultimately confusing gift of the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Running a close second, however, is Taco Bell’s latest (and less confounding) present to humanity, the graciously heaven-sent Triplelupa.

A righteous blessing of three flavor favorites, the Triplelupa is a trio of small Chalupas connected into one, each tear-away pocket containing a taste sensation that we’ve all come to know and love over these many years: trademarked nacho cheese, creamy chipotle sauce, and, last but certainly not least, a glorious combination of the two.

Taco Bell Triplelupa Innards

With the Chalupa being arguably the finest offering on Taco Bell’s menu, the Triplelupa is an embarrassment of riches that anyone should be thankful for. It starts with the custom fried outer shell that’s thick yet soft with a hidden crunch that always makes this precious snack into a bountiful meal.

Taco Bell Triplelupa Nacho

But, as you can guess, the filling is truly where it’s at, starting with its world-famous nacho cheese. As expected, the yellow queso combines well with the seasoned meat, lettuce, tomato, and three-cheese blend, crafting near-perfection in two or three bites for this first section.

Taco Bell Triplelupa Chipotle

Additionally, the second nosh with the chipotle sauce does a sanctified job of sending my soul to sing with the angels. The creamy kick of the pepper-infused condiment gives this middle portion a well-deserved morning mass to my tastebuds.

Taco Bell Triplelupa Both

That being said, it’s in this third and final helping where the grand plan of Taco Bell’s Mexican majesty shows itself to scores of hungry patrons just waiting for a sign of extreme essence. Like a miracle, the combined efforts of both the nacho cheese and the chipotle sauce create an unheard and unseen testament to the Triplelupa, crafting a liquid blanket that makes everything feel at peace.

It’s such a delightful combination, I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that I licked the leftover refuse from the wrapper, recycling the lettuce and sauces that spilled out like a human compactor. If it wasn’t raining down so hard right now, I would have desperately walked back to my Taco Bell to order another one of these Triplelupas – maybe two — for my own triumvirate of taste.

Per usual, this thinking outside the bun mentality that birthed the Triplelupa is a tour de sauce, a reckoning and a revelation of Biblical proportions. I urge you and everyone you know to pay your taco tithe of $3.69 and follow the way of this edible trinity. Get thee to a Bell!

Purchased Price: $3.69
Size: N/A
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 610 calories, 35 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 1110 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 22 grams of protein.