REVIEW: Taco Bell Steak & Bacon Grilled Cheese Burrito

The folks at Taco Bell have finally done something I didn’t expect: create a menu item that mostly doesn’t taste like it’s from Taco Bell. Several bites into the chain’s new Steak & Bacon Grilled Cheese Burrito, I wondered if my mouth was transported to a TGI Fridays, Applebee’s, or Ruby Tuesday because I tasted cheese and bacon potato skins. But after reeducating myself about what was stuffed into and grilled onto the flour tortilla, it all made sense.

The limited time menu item features marinated grilled steak, nacho cheese sauce, creamy chipotle sauce, potatoes, reduced fat sour cream, and a three-cheese blend wrapped inside a warm flour tortilla with more of the three-cheese blend and bacon grilled on top. Before eating it, I completely forgot about the spuds in there, so it was surprising when my taste buds noticed casual dining appetizer flavors instead of Tex-Mex fast food. As a fan of potato skins, I can get behind this.

While Taco Bell has been grilling cheese on the tortilla since 2020, including bacon is a novel addition that makes something unique on its own a little more special. But that bacon isn’t there just to be novel; it helps the menu item taste a little less Taco Bell-y with its porky and smoky flavors. Sure, the grilled bacon on my order makes the burrito’s exterior look scabby, but it also makes it taste not at all shabby.

But with those few bites that didn’t get any potatoes, the specter of Taco Bell flavors peeked out, thanks to the three ingredients that allow almost every Taco Bell menu item to have just two degrees of separation — nacho cheese sauce, sour cream, and the three-cheese blend. The tender steak, which has been used quite often this year in new products, adds its meatiness to the burrito, which also gives the menu item a bit of a steak and potatoes vibe. Finally, the creamy chipotle sauce added a smokiness that helped enhance the bacon’s smokiness and a mild kick.

I’ve had so many different steak burritos from Taco Bell over the years, but I can’t say many of them were memorable. But this Steak & Bacon Grilled Cheese Burrito will stick in my mind for a while because it was quite enjoyable, and I can’t get the road rash-looking exterior out of my head.

Purchased Price: $6.99*
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 700 calories, 39 grams of fat, 16 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 1730 milligrams of sodium, 57 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 30 grams of protein.

*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 Wild Strawberry Creme Delight Freeze

I have been deep in the pumpkin spice trenches since mid-August and usually try to take a “fall flavors” break around the end of September. It’s easy to burn out quickly by Thanksgiving and want nothing to do with anything pumpkin spiced or cinnamon apple. When I got the push notification from Taco Bell about its new Wild Strawberry Creme Delight Freeze, it was serendipitous.

Over the years, I’ve had varying degrees of enjoyment with the different frozen offerings from Taco Bell. Some I’ve enjoyed (Baja Blast Freeze) and others reminded me of kids’ medications (Blue Raspberry Freeze). My first, unmixed, sip of this gave me a mouthful of Wild Strawberry that took me back to my ear infection days. The Wild Strawberry flavor had a strong artificialness that isn’t unpleasant, but certainly isn’t something found in nature. I decided to wait until I got home to try the drink again.

During the short three minute drive home, all of the vanilla creamer had sunk to the bottom of the cup. I took that as a chance to try it on its own and feel like the descriptor of “vanilla creamer” does it a grave injustice. I was expecting an International Delight-type product, but instead it was more akin to the sweet cream from Starbucks. After a hearty swirl to blend the two flavors, I took another sip.

With everything blended together, the drink was absolutely delicious. The sweet vanilla cream softened the strawberry flavor in a truly enjoyable way. The blending in of the cream also solved a problem I tend to have with slush drinks: it never got icy from uneven syrup sips. It did require me to keep swirling to keep it well blending, but thanks to an iced mocha habit I have a good swirl system.

The sweet, frosty blend of strawberry and cream felt like that random day in September when the weather shifts to summer one last time. It was a nice treat and break from the fall flavors.

Purchased Price: $3.29
Size: Regular (16 oz)
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 200 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 48 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Chicken Enchilada Burrito

If you go back through Taco Bell’s test product history, there have been several Chicken Enchilada Burritos, and most had something unique. Whether it was rolled tacos inside or grilled cheese on the outside, they had that Taco Bell flair. But not so much with this 2023 version that’s available nationwide, which has chicken, a three cheese blend, red sauce, seasoned rice, and reduced-fat sour cream in a warm tortilla.

I guess the best way I can describe its flavor is to write that it’s a completely inoffensive menu item that won’t make your taste buds perk up nor make them want to hide in the back of your throat. The chicken, red sauce, and three cheese blend provided most of the flavor, but I wish there was more red sauce, which might’ve made this taste a bit bolder. Hot sauce packets are definitely needed for this one. While its flavor was uninspiring, it was surprisingly filling and hefty, weighing in at under eight ounces, probably thanks to the seasoned rice.

Maybe its flavor is making me feel this way, but it’s not even visually exciting. The burrito’s cross-section looks like a palette for an artist trying to paint the depths of how depressing the fall season is. Sure, it’s fall, so it’s appropriate that it looks like a watercolor painting called “Foliage’s Slow Autumn Death,” but there must’ve been something Taco Bell could’ve added to make it look a bit more colorful. Red crispy strips? Tomatoes?

Taco Bell’s Chicken Enchilada Burrito is not a bad tasting product, and it’s also perhaps one or two customizations away from being somewhat taste bud-perk upping, but I wouldn’t order it again as it is.

Purchased Price: $3.99*
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 380 calories, 12 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 1150 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar (including 2 grams of added sugar), and 19 grams of protein.

*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. The advertised price is $2.00.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Cheesy Jalapeno Mexican Pizza

I don’t want to sound like some fast food conspiracy theorist, but Taco Bell discontinuing its Mexican Pizza in 2020 was all a marketing stunt to get a bunch of folks to write about how much they miss the Mexican pizza, create copycat Mexican Pizza recipes, or write listicles about discontinued fast food items which include the Mexican Pizza. Taco Bell took it away and brought it back two years later, and then a year later, we now have this new Cheesy Jalapeño Mexican Pizza after years of not having any other varieties of the menu item when it was around the first time. That all sounds deliberate.

So what’s different with this Cheesy Jalapeño Mexican Pizza? Along with the usual Mexican Pizza ingredients – seasoned beef, a three cheese blend, refried beans, Mexican pizza sauce, and tomatoes – it also comes topped with nacho cheese sauce and jalapeño peppers.

And as expected, it tastes like a Mexican Pizza with nacho cheese sauce and jalapeños. Well, not with every bite because the number of pepper slices on mine made it difficult for that to happen. But those pungent peppers made themselves known whenever I took a bite with them. They add a briny, peppery flavor with a bit of a spicy kick that gets lessened by the nacho cheese sauce. Speaking of that orange goo, like all items that feature it AND the three cheese blend, the nacho cheese becomes the Big Cheese over the other. But the menu item is pretty much a spicy, cheesier Mexican Pizza, which I find to be as enjoyable as the original version.

Because this doesn’t have any unique ingredients, you could easily order it when it’s no longer officially on the menu. It’s just going to cost a little more. Again, I’m no fast food conspiracy theorist, but maybe this is a plot to get us hooked on spending money on customizations. Love the Cheesy Jalapeño Mexican Pizza, but it’s not on the menu anymore? Don’t worry. You can still have it. Just customize a regular one with jalapeños and nacho cheese sauce. But it’ll cost you a buck fifty more. Not willing to spend the extra cash? Well, I guess you don’t love it.

Do you know what, Taco Bell? I might just spend the extra dough if I want to change it up a bit with my Mexican Pizzas. Maybe I’ll also add some creamy jalapeño sauce for a few more cents to get jalapeño in every bite. Me and my taste buds can see through your plan, but we’ll play along.

Purchased Price: $5.99
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 830 calories, 29 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 980 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar (including less than 1 gram of added sugar), and 19 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Taco Bell Strawberry Twists

I wish Taco Bell’s new Strawberry Twists were a vibrant pink color. I’m talking a shade so intense that you could walk right into a showing of the Barbie movie with an order of them raised in one hand like a torch, and no theater employee would confront you about bringing in outside food, but instead think of it as part of your ensemble.

In Taco Bell’s promo photos, they’re pink but with a tint that’s less Barbie and more like Pepto Bismol that’s been diluted with milk of magnesia. But, in real life, it’s hard to pick out the pink with these twists.

The Strawberry Twists are crispy, puffed pieces sprinkled with a strawberry-flavored dusting and sugar, and they are only the second other Twists variety that the chain has offered other than cinnamon. I assume whatever pink there is comes from the strawberry-flavored dust that accumulates in the nooks and crannies of every piece like they’re the Pink Panther hiding from Inspector Clouseau. But they’re primarily off-white, which made me initially think they would have little flavor.

However, they have as much as the cinnamon ones. I mean, don’t expect it to hit your tastebuds like you’re dipping your tongue in a container of Strawberry Nesquik powder, which, after typing it, sounds like something I should try to do as an adult. (Hey, Siri. Add Nesquik powder to my Grocery list.) Instead of a bold taste, expect a mild artificial strawberry flavor that’s far from cloying but also far from being bland. They have just the right amount of berry to make them quite dang tasty.

That said, Taco Bell’s Strawberry Twists aren’t more enjoyable than the original cinnamon ones, but I think they’re another pleasant way to end your Taco Bell meal. With their introduction, I hope it leads to other twists of Taco Bell’s Twists. A Baja Blast-flavored version would be perfect to release in 2024 for Baja Blast’s 20th birthday.

Take my idea, Taco Bell.

Purchased Price: $1.39
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 170 calories, 6 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 10 grams of sugar (including 10 grams of added sugar), and 1 gram of protein.