ORIGINAL POST, 11/19/09: As we all know by now, I’m something of a taco fiend. When I say that, I mean I’m into hole-in-the-wall taco spots and not-so-well-lit taco trucks. But that didn’t mean I had anything against Taco Bell. Until now.
Have you heard about Taco Bell’s new “cantina tacos?” I’ve started to see and hear the commercials the last couple days.
Basically, it’s Taco Bell’s effort to make a “real” taco. They’re selling carnitas now — as well as steak (at least they didn’t call it “carne asada”) and chicken.
While I’m a taco snob, I’ll admit that I eat at Taco Bell sometimes. And when I heard about these new tacos, I figured it was something me and my taco taste buds needed to investigate.
So I headed over to my neighborhood Taco Bell the other night. I was surprised that from the poster, they looked pretty good. Corn tortillas, cilantro … the good stuff. I ordered the carnitas and the steak — they’re $1.69 each or two for $2.99 — and wondered whether Taco Bell would continue to surprise me.
That didn’t last long. From first taste, it was all bad. The steak was, I’m pretty sure, the same chewy stuff they use in some other dishes already. And the carnitas was a mushy, soggy, flavorless mess that almost made me feel like I was eating wet dog food.
Beyond that, the tacos came on the same flour tortilla that TB uses for its soft tacos. Just two of them. And there wasn’t even another salsa option, just the same ol’ Taco Bell hot sauce packets.
Considering the cost and considering this is Fresno (and we got some really good tacos here), taco eaters could do much better any number of places.
Honestly, I didn’t think these cantina tacos were going to anywhere close to my favorite taco spots. But I thought maybe they’d give Chipotle (or heck, even the so-so Baja Fresh) a run for their money.
Not even close. Taco Bell = Taco Fail!