Wednesday, January 7, 2009
TBG Eats: Taco Bell's NEW Bacon Cheddar Gordita Crunch
Current Weight: 165.0 lbs.
Growing up, I watched with envy as many of my peers possessed awe-inspiring adolescent super-powers like flipping their eyelids inside out and gleeking at will. As the fat Black outcast (yet, still more tolerable than Outkast) my one and only mutant attribute was – and still is – an uncanny sense of recall.
To wit, I actually remember that Taco Bell introduced the Gordita to their menu in 1998.
I was working in El Cajon, California in the contracts department for a sheet metal manufacturer when a friend and I went to lunch one day. For years, I'd been fiercely loyal to Taco Bell's wondrous Double-Decker Taco, but on this occasion I opted for two Gorditas – overflowing with TB's famous faux Mexican flavor and gift-wrapped in warm flatbread by heaven-sent, uneducated hands making minimum wage.
Forgive the hyperbole, but you have to understand that the Gordita was Taco Bell's first foray away from their traditional taco/burrito/nacho food model. OK, OK…it wasn't a HUGE leap, but the (since discontinued) Santa Fe Gordita was topped with a roasted corn salsa. Roasted corn! And, it's not like I was alone in my love. Taco Bell had a huge hit on their hands.
(1998 was also the year that the Taco Bell Chihuahua exploded upon pop culture and TB entered into a cross-promotional gig with the widely-reviled Godzilla movie, which featured a bigger abomination than the monster itself. These are things I wish I could get out of my head.)
A year later, Taco Bell introduced the Chalupa, which was essentially identical to the Gordita except that its flatbread exterior is flash-fried, making it crispier, greasier and a jillion times awesomer than its not-fried friend.
Recently, TB brought the art of bacon to its Chalupa product, creating an occasional menu item that's nothing short of extraordinary. Now, they try to recapture the magic with the new Bacon Cheddar Gordita Crunch – with the tagline "bacon and cheddar make it better!"
The "Gordita Crunch" part is just a regular crispy taco (ground beef, lettuce, cheese) with pillowy piece of flatbread and melted cheese wrapped around it. I've had this before and it's an inoffensive, if unspectacular, piece of eatin'. The "bacon cheddar" part is where it all goes wrong.
The bacon is too chewy (almost gummy) in its consistency and its saltiness combines with the sodium in the ground beef to simulate a mountain of Morton in my mouth. The "zesty southwest cheddar sauce" was overwhelmed by the meat products and wasn't ladled out in the amount of my approval.
Honestly, if you had told me that the union of cured pork and red meat would be this disappointing, I wouldn't have believed you. A few years ago, Mrs. Bootleg made this for Christmas. I wasn't expecting the same kind of ecstasy, Taco Bell, but I was expecting better.
Oh, I can't stay mad at you.
Grade: 1 (out of 5)