Tuesday, June 10, 2008

TBG Eats: Taco Bell's Fresco Menu

Current Weight: 181.2 lbs. (It was a…"filling" weekend. Let's leave it at that.)

In the mid-90s, Taco Bell introduced a reduced-fat menu line that, if I remember correctly, actually wasn't half-bad. The regular tacos were made with a white corn shell and low calorie cheddar cheese, the taco salad ditched the deep fried bowl in favor of more lettuce and less beef, etc.

But, as with other fads from around the same time (the Arch Deluxe, Black Actors on TV and white American terrorists) the menu was forgotten as quickly as it arrived.

To that end, I was surprised to see very little in the way of advertising for Taco Bell's new Fresco menu. In fact, I haven't seen any marketing for it outside of an in-restaurant display that I'd have otherwise missed if I didn't scrutinize their menu with all the fervor that I should be applying to my job as Contracts Law Specialist*.

Hell, the "Fresco" items aren't even featured on my local TB's drive-thru menu and if it weren't for the 10-car deep line of SUVs I wanted to avoid on my lunch hour, I'd have missed it this time, too.

I ordered a Fresco Steak Burrito Supreme and the Fresco Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco.

The burrito was…well, what would you call chunks of chewy unseasoned meat, a schmear of low-fat refried beans and a tasteless pico de gallo salsa? Nine grams of fat, my ass. Fat = flavor, kids. Fat is what makes everything that's bad for you so goddam delicious. And, the Fresco Steak Burrito Supreme is not delicious – sacrilegious or otherwise.

The chicken taco, on the other hand, wasn't much different from TB's already mediocre regular version – which is the only thing my kid will eat off their menu. The thing was stuffed with about twice the chicken as the original and the salsa didn't adversely effect the eatin'.

For those scoring at home, the new translation for "Fresco" is "remove all dairy products from existing menu items and replace with watery chopped tomato/onion blend".

And, so explains the absence of all advertising.

Grade (Fresco Steak Burrito Supreme): 1 (out of 5)
Grade (Fresco Chicken Soft Taco): 2

* - No, this is not my official job title, but I use this in an unofficial capacity as it's more self-explanatory than the nebulous four-word 37-character job title that even I don't understand.

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