Update: We reviewed it! Click here to read our review.
The Naked Chicken Chalupa is back!
Well, actually, it’s now called the Mild Naked Chicken Chalupa because there needs to be some way to distinguish it from the new Wild Naked Chicken Chalupa.
While the original version included lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, and an avocado ranch sauce in a marinated all white meat chicken shell, the Wild one swaps the cool ranch sauce with Taco Bell’s new Wild Sauce.
If you’ve tried it, let us know what you think of it in the comments.
Nutrition Facts: 420 calories, 250 calories from fat, 28 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 1070 milligrams of cholesterol, 1070 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 19 grams of protein.
Mother, if you are reading this, please have this newly-minted personal creed inscribed on my tombstone along with a picture of Taco Bell’s Triple Melt Nachos, if only for future generations to know that we are currently living in the cheesiest point of recorded history.
And while all this cheese comes at a sacrifice — Nacho Fries are gone, long live Nacho Fries — if value-based creations such as the Taco Bell Triple Melt Burrito and, even more so, the Triple Melt Nachos, are a glistening yellow beacon to what we can achieve in the realm of queso and queso-related foodstuffs, then it’s the culinary petard that I will defiantly hoist my husky frame upon.
The aforementioned dynamic duo of Triple Melt meals from Taco Bell are seemingly a long time coming and hopefully a new standard bearer on not only the value meal menu but anything in the future that they dare to proclaim as “cheese-filled.”
By combining the Bell’s patented nacho cheese goodness with a shredded three-cheese blend of mozzarella, cheddar, and pepper jack, these new mixtures and additions hit closer and closer to what we should rightfully expect from years of Tex-Mex fast food promises.
And while not as super-gooey as you’d think — the combined cheeses settle very fast into their own blessed mass of congealment — these very different cheeses and their fully distinct flavors make the Triple Melt Burrito a definite triple-crown entry as far as taste goes in this never-ending value menu race to the top. Along with the always welcomed ground beef and perfectly blended sauce, it makes for a burrito well worth your dollar.
That being said, the main drawback here is the continued unimaginative use of Taco Bell’s typically bland rice as a wholly unnecessary filler that might as well be sawdust the way it soaks up all that important cheesy flavor. (I mean, let’s be honest: is there really anyone out there who truly likes Taco Bell’s rice? A mea culpa to you and yours if so, but I doubt it.)
This minor act of edible malfeasance is absolutely rectified, for the most part, by the award-worthy Triple Melt Nachos. Featuring those beloved chips and aforementioned ground beef professionally imbued with all these different cheeses, like a calcium-rich daydream of innocent fools come to fruition, it’s a hearty combination that makes this a Dollar Menu item beyond reproach.
The warm queso blankets the top while the corresponding layers underneath are shielded by the melting shredded cheese that soaks down to the bottom, making sure that every bite is loaded with some semblance of flavor like a sternly protective father, a true rarity especially when it comes to these dollar nachos and their moderately-sized portions and partitions.
And, to be fair, if you want to complain about the size of these nachos, it’s only a buck hoss…man up and order two or three or whatever it takes to satisfy those curdled urges deep inside. Lord knows I have. ¡Cómpralo ya!
(Nutrition Facts – Triple Melt Burrito – 410 calories, 16 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 1030 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, and 15 grams of protein. Triple Melt Nachos – 260 calories, 16 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 550 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, and 10 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $1.00 Size: N/A Rating: 8 out of 10 (Burrito) Rating: 10 out of 10 (Nachos) Pros: So very, very cheesy. The mixture of cheese flavors works. Great value even for value menu items. Cons: Limited-time only. The rice on the burrito is total filler. Nachos congeal fast.
It’s an ingredient some of you may not realize is available at Taco Bell. It doesn’t get as much love on the menu as seasoned ground beef, reduced fat sour cream, or shredded lettuce.
So all this time you could’ve had a Mexican Pizza topped with potatoes, a Taco Salad topped with potatoes, or a Breakfast Crunchwrap, that already has hash browns, and added potatoes to it.
While Taco Bell’s potatoes don’t usually get center stage, it’s gotten a little love with the new Beefy Potato-rito. The “beefy” is the seasoned beef. The “potato” part is the seasoned crispy potatoes. And, I guess, the cheddar cheese, nacho cheese sauce, chipotle sauce, and flour tortilla represent the “-rito.” The menu item is a dollar at most Taco Bell locations, but, after eating it, it seemed like I got more than I paid for.
But I’m not talking about the extra curricular restroom activities that folks joke about when it comes to eating Taco Bell.
It’s hefty for something on the value menu. That’s due to the Mr. Potato Head’s head amount of potatoes in it. There’s enough that you’ll get spuds in every bite. It’s not a forearm-huge burrito, and I wasn’t expecting one for something you can buy with pocket change, but the cubes of carbs make it filling.
The seasoning on them is hard to detect because of the creamy sauces. Their insides are fluffy, but they’re not crispy on the outside. But that’s understandable since they’re sitting in a flour tortilla cocoon with other hot ingredients. I imagine it’s like a sauna, except instead of using water to create steam, it’s chipotle sauce.
Speaking of the chipotle sauce, it’s the highlight of the burrito, providing a smoky flavor and a little kick. It adds a bit more flavor to the standard seasoned beef and goes well with potatoes. If I could buy a serving of the spuds a la carte, I’d eat them with the sauce and call it Chipo-tatoes.
As for the other ingredients, I’m not sure why there’s shredded cheddar cheese, because it doesn’t add anything. Its flavor gets lost among the nacho cheese and chipotle sauces. So why have it? Does the dairy industry have dirt on Taco Bell that gets released if a shredded cheese quota isn’t met?
The nacho cheese sauce gives the burrito a creaminess and, of course, cheesiness that goes well with the cubes of starch. If I could buy a serving of the potatoes a la carte, I’d eat them with the cheesy sauce and call it Potat-chos.
Overall, I enjoyed the Beefy Potato-rito. It fulfills everything I expect from a Taco Bell item — it’s filling, inexpensive, and tastes good.
(Nutrition Facts – 450 calories, 24 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 1030 milligrams of sodium, 45 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $5.75 (Beefy Potato-rito Box) Size: N/A Rating: 7 out of 10 Pros: Tasty. Inexpensive. Potatoes give the burrito a bit more heft than other Taco Bell value menu items. Chipotle sauce. Cons: Potatoes aren’t crispy and seasoning does come through with all the other sauces included. Why is there shredded cheddar cheese?
Few foods have been put through their paces like fried chicken. The ever-innovating fast food industry has turned the simple Southern dish of breaded and deep fried poultry into everything from dinosaur nuggets to sandwich buns.
Taco Bell is no stranger to this modern art of meat sculpture, having morphed a chicken patty into a Chalupa shell earlier this year. That dish’s spiritual successor – the Naked Chicken Chips – are available now. Compared to the carnival oddity of a taco built out of chicken, these chips seem blasé by comparison. But these triangular treats have some quirks of their own.
The Naked Chicken Chips come in servings of 6 or 12, mirroring your average serving of nuggets. The chips are a bit thinner than your ordinary chicken nugget, stretched out to tortilla chip size.
The interior is typical processed white meat, but the breading has quite a bit of pepper. Each chip has a generous layer of breading with a gratifying crunch. It’s not as aggressively seasoned as a Burger King Chicken Fry, but the Naked Chicken Chips are spicier than your average McNugget.
Young kids (the typical nugget audience) might be put off by the added spice, but adults shouldn’t have any concern. If anything, these chips feel underseasoned by Taco Bell standards. It doesn’t help that the only dip being offered with this dish is standard nacho cheese. The two make a satisfying pair – rich and savory. But there’s an inescapable feeling that this could be something more.
Fast food chicken’s appeal is in variety. While the pieces are themselves bland, they can play host to a wide array of sauces and dips. By limiting these chips to cheese, Taco Bell isn’t realizing the full potential of these dippables. Spicier selections (like the chain’s beloved Lava sauce), or even existing spreads (such as Avocado Ranch) could make this a perfect showcase for Taco Bell’s sauce catalog. Even topping these with the same options as the existing Triple Layer Nachos would’ve been great.
At $2.29 for six, the Naked Chicken Chips are a reasonable addition to any Taco Bell order. They won’t blow anyone away, but could be a valuable long-term addition to the menu.
(Nutrition Facts – 6 chips – 390 calories, 220 calories from fat, 24 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 1110 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of protein..)
Purchased Price: $2.29 Size: 6 chips Rating: 6 out of 10 Pros: Hearty side, slightly different from Taco Bell’s other offerings. Good deal for the price. Could be great as a protein option for burritos, etc. Cons: Only offered with Nacho Cheese. Not as innovative as the previous Naked Chicken offering. Chicken nuggets are available pretty much everywhere.
For being their titular item, I rarely find myself craving Taco Bell’s tacos. While I’m a lover of their items, the standard crunchy taco has always felt skimpy. A paltry line of beef, a cascade of limp lettuce, and a sprinkling of unmelted cheese – it’s forgettable.
So thankfully, the Bell has pumped them up for their latest iteration. Taco Bell’s Double Stack Tacos bulk up their classic standard tacos by wrapping the corn exterior with a flour tortilla, slathered in sauce and cheese. With an extra layer, each one is hefty – especially for a $1 item. Two of these could make a comfortable meal, something that can’t be said for the Bell’s un-enhanced tacos.
First up is Cool Habanero. The taco is the same as you’d expect, but with a generous hit of sour cream. Around it is wrapped a flour tortilla with a spray of habanero sauce, alongside melted cheese. The intention is for the sour cream to counteract the spice, though the balance isn’t quite there. There’s more sour cream than habanero by a healthy margin, and the sauce isn’t all that potent. As a full bite, it came off blander than most Taco Bell items.
The Nacho Crunch Double Stack adds a layer of red tortilla strips to the basic taco, then surrounds it with a duet of nacho and shredded cheese. If you’ve lost count, that gives this one item three different forms of tortilla – and three total servings of cheese. Predictably, it tastes like tortilla and cheese.
The meat and lettuce are lost in this fatty carb bomb, smothered in gooey yellow. It’s puzzling why this option dodges the habanero sauce of the other two tacos, which would’ve given this a needed a kick of flavor.
Most interesting of the trio is Spicy Sweet, featuring a sweet chili sauce unique to the item. The red sauce has a loose texture, saturated with chili flakes. It’s very sweet, but was applied conservatively across the meat. While the first bite was initially heavy on sugar, it was countered by the savory beef.
Once the habanero sauce broke through, all three flavors really clicked. The sweet chili sauce has a light heat of its own, and a bit of a fruit jam flavor. This tasty blend is spread a bit thin, though. Between the lettuce, corn tortilla, flour tortilla, and double helping of cheese – the serving of meat and sauces feels underwhelming.
Overall, the Double Stacked Tacos are mostly notable for their price. The Nacho Crunch and Cool Habanero tacos are cheaper and bulkier than their counterparts – making them a solid pickup. Spicy Sweet is the real highlight though, and is definitely worth a try.
(Nutrition Facts – Cool Habanero – 350 calories, 180 calories from fat, 20 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 630 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein. Nacho Crunch – 380 calories, 170 calories from fat, 19 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 650 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein. Spicy Sweet – 340 calories, 160 calories from fat, 18 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 640 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $1.00 each Size: N/A Rating: 5 out of 10 (Cool Habanero) Rating: 6 out of 10 (Nacho Crunch) Rating: 8 out of 10 (Spicy Sweet) Pros: Very hearty for the price, while delivering classic Taco Bell flavor. Spicy Sweet variety is unique, and nails the sweet/savory/hot mix. Spices up otherwise boring tacos. Cons: Cool Habanero needs more heat. Nacho Crunch should be Haberno Crunch. All three could use more meat.