Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TBG Eats: Taco Bell's Fully Loaded Nachos

Current Weight: 166.2 lbs.

1,390 calories.

83 grams of fat.

17 grams of saturated fat.

2,190 milligrams of sodium.

Believe it or not, at this very moment, I weigh less than I did in seventh grade. At the apex of my adolescent appetite, I carried 175 lbs. and rocked a 38-inch waistline. Oddly enough, I was an incredibly active – albeit morbidly obese – child. It's just that all the baseball, football and basketball on earth couldn't cancel out my typical McDonald's meal of a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, supersized fries, six-piece Chicken McNuggets and a strawberry shake.

In the eighth grade, I grew into my girth – dropping down to a 34-inch waist – but, never lost my love for occasional excess. Not counting holiday-related binges, the rest of my youthful food recollections involve one of my best friends, Smitty – who eventually was a starter on the offensive line at both the high school and collegiate levels. At a friend's house one evening, we split two large Little Caesars pizzas (he ate one, I ate the other) and a sack of Crazy Bread. Not a bite left between us. Good times.

Nearly 20 years later, the bottomless pit known as my belly has eased into semi-retirement. Gone are the days when I could order "whatever's the hottest" hot wings and not immediately regret it. Something as innocuous as milk on my morning cereal turns my butt into a dirty bomb for the next 12 hours.

And, it was with willful and abject ignorance that I ordered Taco Bell's new Fully Loaded Nachos last night.

Today, in a casual swing by Taco Bell's website to ensure I wasn't omitting any of the ingredients, I clicked on "nutritional information". Really…I'm not sure what I thought the calories and fat data would read, but I'm pretty sure I didn't expect the social security number above.

OK, so there IS two times the ground beef as Taco Bell's previously largest member of la familia del nachos. Guacamole…sour cream (there was at least ½ a cup on mine)…creamy fiesta sauce. Hmmm, two "cream"-titled ingredients and we're barely halfway through the pieces to this gluttonous puzzle? Not a good sign.

The whole thang is topped with a three-cheese blend, TB's ubiquitous nacho cheese sauce and jalapenos which, inexplicably, cost extra. This mixture is heaped over several fistfuls of chips, then dumped inside the crispy crater of one of those taco salad shells, which is lined with a layer of refried beans.

Yes, Aaron ate it all. Not a bite left between, uh, me. Good times?

Well, if you like TB's Nachos Bell Grande, you'll like this engorged version. The lighter texture of the taco salad bowl/shell makes for a delicious finish after 10 minutes of piggery. The plentiful toppings don't quite guarantee an absence of empty chips as the commercial suggests, but I doubt you'll be sending yours back asking for more of anything.

Still, I was a little disappointed at how ordinary the Fully Loaded Nachos were. They weren't the game-changing taste of the Bacon Club Chalupa or the perfect reinvention of an existing menu item like the Volcano Taco. The Fully Loaded version is the exact same Taco Bell taste, but with a side order of shame.

83 grams of fat?!


Grade: 4 (out of 5)

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