REVIEW: Taco Bell Grande Burritos

Taco Bell Grande Burritos

It’s a new year at Taco Bell and to kick 2019 off right, here’s a pair of grande dollar menu burritos to shove greedily in your eagerly awaiting mouth!

A new spin of the usual combinations and recombinations of meat, cheese, and tortillas, the Bell is seemingly eager to win our hearts (and our stomachs) early this year with these cost-effective and comically large — or grande, if you will — additions that, of course, are for a limited time only. Introducing the Three Cheese Nacho Grande Burrito and, to lesser effect, the Chicken Enchilada Burrito, both worth a taste or two.

Three Cheese Nacho Grande Burrito

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The Three Cheese Nacho is composed of the always-welcomed seasoned beef, lovingly ladled reduced-fat sour cream and those crunchy red strips, but is additionally smothered in a vaunted mixture of the three-cheese blend and the beautiful nacho cheese sauce. Plump the way a fast food burrito should be, this triple queso meat shaft is the bomb, each bite exploding in your mouth.

A particular point of interest, as usual, is the nacho cheese. Ain’t nobody, especially in the world of corporate tacos, that does the electric yellow paste any better. Here, it mixes with the mélange of sexy meat and red strips for a cost-effective fiesta of faux-Mexican delights.

Chicken Enchilada Grande Burrito

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Not ringing my Bell as much, however, is the Chicken Enchilada one. I know the name sounds more than appealing, but this combination of spicy shredded chicken, tangy red sauce, stand-by cheese and, of course, sour cream, has one dastardly downfall in abundance — make that overabundance — of TB’s bland “seasoned” rice.

If I were to order it again, I’d ask them to hold the handful of rice kernels, because the sheer amount of them makes for a very dry, very flavorless competition with the delightful shredded chicken and red sauce. No enchilada I’ve ever downed — chicken or otherwise — has ever had this much rice dumped in it and, if it did, it was either on the side or in the garbage, take your pick.

But, I understand some of you like that; here you go, you can have the rest of mine. Don’t say I never gave you nothing.

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As for me, I’ll just order an extra Three Cheese Nacho Grande Burrito next time, basking in the ancient rays of a cheesy sun, the queso spilling out and waterfalling down the front of my shirt, where it will be undoubtedly scooped up and devoured by an errant red strip or two. Cómpralo ya!

Purchased Price: $1.00 each
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Three Cheese Nacho)
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Chicken Enchilada)
Nutrition Facts: Three Cheese Nacho – 420 calories, 18 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 910 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein. Chicken Enchilada – 370 calories, 13 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 990 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Diablo Tortilla Chips

Taco Bell Diablo Tortilla Chips

Taco Bell’s Diablo Tortilla Chips are the most devilish and ominous looking chips I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to get more menacing than black chips with red seasoning that come in a bag with a warning label. The only ways I could think of to make them more intimidating is if the inside of the bag was a dark portal to hell and after opening it a claw made from the chips jets out to try to drag you into the netherworld.

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The chip’s flavor honors Taco Bell’s Diablo Sauce. It’s a limited time only addition to the Taco Bell Tortilla Chips line that made its debut earlier this year with three flavors — Mild, Hot, and Classic.

The second thing I noticed about these, right behind reminding me of death, is how hearty they are. They feel thicker and sturdier than Tostitos or Doritos and could handle any dip you put in front of it. But there’s no need for any because they have a lot of flavor.

They also have some heat.

If you’re not familiar with Diablo Sauce, you should know these chips are spicy. To me, they’re below or equal to Flamin’ Hot products. The first few have a nice burn. But at a point, they seemed to get less spicy. It’s as if my mouth got slightly numb, so I couldn’t feel the hot peppers as much. While I didn’t feel the need to grab a glass of water, I did need to grab a tissue because the spiciness made my nose run a little.

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On the back of the bag, it says they have a hint of lime. My definition of a “hint” is different and, to me, these have more than a hint. But that’s fine with me because the lime flavor is what makes these stand out. The citrus cuts through the heat a little, which might explain the previously mentioned drop in spiciness, and it also helps make the peppery flavor stand out, which kind of reminds me of taco seasoning, but super spicy.

If you’re a fan of the sauce, you’ll very much enjoy Taco Bell’s Diablo Tortilla Chips. They are spicy AND flavorful. A minor downside is that the seasoning doesn’t make your fingers look like you’ve been crawling through hell. Sucking on the seasoning that builds up on fingers from eating Cheetos and Doritos is satisfying, so I’m disappointed I don’t experience something like that with these. But, overall, these are heavenly.

Purchased Price: Too much from eBay
Size: 3.5 oz. bag
Purchased at: eBay (currently a 7-Eleven exclusive, will be available in more stores later this year)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 oz.) 140 calories, 8 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 110 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Chipotle Triple Double Crunchwrap

Taco Bell Chipotle Triple Double Crunchwrap

If you thought that last month’s Double Cheesy Gordita Crunch was one filling S.O.B., the Triple Double Crunchwrap is back to prove you woefully wrong, and this time, it’s got some seriously sassy backup in the form of a seriously spicy chipotle sauce.

I hope you have some of that Baja Blast waiting off to the side, son.

The infamous disc-like shape of the Crunchwrap effortlessly holds the best and brightest of Taco Bell’s menu in an easy-to-transport carrying case, barely containing plenty of cheese, plenty of meat, and plenty of chipotle. It’s a monstrosity, a real two-hander judiciously wrapped in a mostly-bulging tightly-pressed tortilla, ready to carnalistically explode in a flame of intense flavor.

Once again, the patented Taco Bell nacho cheese sauce takes full control here, mixing most hedonistically with the heated chipotle sauce, bringing an unexpected twinge of sweet hurt to the proceedings, a small controlled burn that only a culinary arsonist could ever truly love. Without a doubt, the cheese and the chipotle are the true crossover stars here, mostly thanks to those unsung taco artists back in the kitchen doing an excellent job of laying it on thick and heavy.

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The top layer of lettuce and tomatoes are a veritable bed of much-needed greens for vitamins and minerals, but are quickly forgotten when the hidden action that lies in Taco Bell’s always provocative seasoned beef is devoured. Spread across two hard tostada shells and wrapped in the aforementioned pressed tortilla with a good bit of reduced-fat sour cream here and there in the folds, this might be the Bell’s best creation yet.

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An exciting improvement to the original Triple Double Crunchwrap — which is back on the menu too — this chipotle variation is not just another random notch on Taco Bell’s belt, but instead, a welcomed, spicier take on some of their best menu items, with only one real minor drawback. This thing is so massive and filling that you’re not going to have room in you for anything else, except for that Baja Blast.

Is it too much of a good thing? Perhaps, but I’ll take it anyway. Sure, they may be going back to the well two (or three) times over, but each new additional ingredient, no matter how small, proves that Taco Bell keeps on knocking it out of the border ballpark with every ingenious turn of the tortilla. Cómpralo ya!

(Nutrition Facts – 770 calories, 38 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 gram of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 1650 milligrams of sodium, 86 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 8 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: N/A
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: Ingenious move. Absolutely huge. Great oral burn.
Cons: No need to order other items other than a Baja Blast.

QUICK REVIEW: Taco Bell Caramel Apple Freeze

Taco Bell Caramel Apple Freeze

What is it?

According to Taco Bell’s website, it’s a less messy and just-as-delicious drinkable alternative to the overpriced caramel apples sold at county fairs nationwide. In reality, though, it’s just a cup of green apple-flavored slush with a couple of pumps of caramel syrup thrown in.

How is it?

Do you like Green Apple Jolly Ranchers? If so, this the freeze for you. Everything about this drink reminded me of them, and I felt the apple flavor’s slight tartness helped to keep the degree of sweetness from reaching tooth-aching levels. Better yet, I found the fruity flavor and ice to be refreshing on the hot and humid day I bought it.

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In stark contrast to the fruity forwardness, the caramel syrup wasn’t nearly as potent here. Maybe it was the way my particular drink was made, but I only had a small puddle of barely-detectable caramel sauce at the bottom of my cup, and I found that stirring it around caused it to get lost in a sea of bright green slush.

Is there anything else I need to know?

If you do decide to order one on a hot day like I did, be prepared to guzzle it down fast, because mine started to melt before I had even walked halfway back to my car. By the time I got to work, I basically had a cup of neon green apple juice, which prompted one of my coworkers to quip smartly, “That’s not a green juice,” to which I ended up replying, “It is, but it’s not the sort that you’re used to.”

Conclusion:

Even though I would have appreciated a couple more pumps of caramel sauce, I still ended up liking this drink overall, and, considering it’s only a dollar during Happy Hour, I think it’s worth a try if you like green apple candy.

Purchased Price: $1.00 (purchased during Happy Hour, $2.39 regular price)
Size: 16 oz.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (16 oz.) 190 calories, 50 calories from fat, 0.5 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 42 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Double Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Taco Bell Double Cheesy Gordita Crunch

After months of waiting — those Nacho Fries can only take me so far, guys — our buenos amigos at Taco Bell are finally back with a new menu item that weighs blissfully heavy, both on the stomach and soul.

It’s called the Double Cheesy Gordita Crunch — not to be confused with the Cheesy Gordita Crunch or the Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch, natch — and it is, basically, a whole tasty crunchy taco with spicy ranch sauce, gently placed inside a hot Gordita, layered lovingly with their quintessential three-cheese blend and, get this, a whole ‘nother layer of that spicy ground beef.

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I mean, c’mon: it’s always great to have a Taco Bell taco and a Taco Bell gordita separately on most trivial days, but to have both, combined, completely slathered with a whole heck of meat and cheese, it’s starting to look like we’ve entered a whole new realm of Border-based deliciousness in the fast food Tex-Mex market. I’m kinda surprised the Bell hasn’t come up with this winning concept sooner.

A glorious mix of startlingly crunchy and indefatigably soft, the Double Cheesy Gordita Crunch is a beautiful mix of the best of what the Bell has to offer, all in one treat. The cheesy portion is hot and gooey, the meat area is the right amount of spicy heat and the breads — both taco shell and Gordita tarp — are fresh and delicious, the perfect placeholders. The addition of a spritz of some unexpected spicy ranch only doubles down with the nice bonus of a slight kick, playing very well with the other flavors.

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The Double Cheesy Gordita Crunch, besides being quite tasty is, additionally, packed with so much of that good stuff, that it actually creates one of TB’s thickest items in quite a while. Come hungry when you try one; once you get to the halfway point, you’ll start to question whether you can go any further but, like a true culinary warrior, you must go on, you must continue, you must finish that Double Cheesy Gordita Crunch, son.

You see, and this would be my one issue, the afternoon I ordered this item, I got the five dollar box, thinking it was no big deal, that I would finish it in mere minutes as I had done in the past, numerous times with numerous Taco Bell items. Boy, was I wrong.

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So, I guess what I’m saying is skip the five dollar box, because unless you’re a competitive eater in training, it’s just way too much food for one person. Go for the single Double Cheesy Gordita Crunch and wallow in comparative élan. There’s always more tomorrow. Much more. Cómpralo ya!

(Nutrition Facts – 570 calories, 32 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 1110 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 25 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: N/A
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Combines the two best products on menu. Huge portions.
Cons: Have to eat fresh—do not refrigerate and microwave.

QUICK REVIEW: Taco Bell Watermelon Freeze

Taco Bell Watermelon Freeze

What is it?

The latest flavor creation in Taco Bell’s Freeze line of slush drinks, this variation adds some candy “seeds” to the mix to give it a unique look.

How is it?

Gimmicky but good. The watermelon flavor is about as expected. It’s a bit milder than some previous Freeze offerings, like the Strawberry Skittles flavor, and it’s not too sweet nor too tart.

But what about the candy seeds? Well, they really don’t bring much to the table, other than slowing down the slush-making process. Your friendly Taco Bell barista must first open a little package of seeds, fill the cup about a third of the way with slush, sprinkle in some seeds, fill more of the cup, sprinkle in more seeds, and so on.

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Eerily, the result for my drink looked like some sort of weird candy seed face starting me down, just daring me to drink it. I took the dare, and while the watermelon flavor was nice, the seeds didn’t add much flavor at all. The black coating was almost flavorless, and the inside only had a faint sugary taste, like an unflavored Smartie.

Is there anything else I need to know?

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Nothing frustrates me more than a clogged straw caused by candy pieces mixed into an ice cream or slush drink, but there’s no need to worry about that here. The straw provided (in watermelon rind green) is of ample circumference to allow multiple seeds to easily travel from the cup to your piehole without fear of obstruction. Be forewarned though, the larger volume straw also increases the probability of brain freeze.

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And weirdly, the seeds seem to lose their coating after a few minutes of swimming in the slush, so by the time I got to the bottom many of them had a bit of a speckled egg look.

Conclusion:

Even though the candy seeds seem like a missed opportunity —imagine if they were kiwi flavored or something else to complement the watermelon slush — overall the Watermelon Freeze still a refreshing summer drink and quite a bargain if you score one during Happy Hour.

Purchased Price: $2.29 (or $1 during Happy Hour from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.)
Size: 16 oz.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 220 calories, 0 grams of fat, 60 milligrams of sodium, 59 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 58 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.