Friday, May 22, 2009

TBG Eats: Taco Bell's NEW Volcano Double Beef Burrito - UPDATED!


Quick (no, really, guys…I promise) rundown of my Friday:

Morning: Previously volunteered Mrs. Bootleg and myself to provide and serve "parent-catered lunch" at our son's preschool. Consequently, I spent a chunk of the AM washing and coring a couple of pallets of Costco strawberries. Later, the wife and I picked up SIX(!) large pizzas and watched in awe as dozens of four and five-year-olds pillaged and plundered the grub. Some of 'em – including my own kid – ate three slices. Three! From a large! Three!

Afternoon: Back to the specialist for two hours of extensive breathing, respiratory and allergy testing. This really deserves its own post, but after the past few days, even I'm sick of "Aaron's ailments". So, to recap: I'm allergic to pretty much everything under the sun – literally. Every common grass, tree and outdoor mold or pollen showed up as a positive. And, if you can avoid an allergy test, please try'n do so. For mine, the nurse stuck me with a small pin, up and down my back 57 times. Fifty-seven! From a large! In my back! Quote of the year from my doctor: "Since your upper body is rather underdeveloped, it'll probably take you longer to recover from Monday than most people."

Evening: Our third trip of the day to Jalen's preschool for the annual "Spring Sing" concert event. Concert theme: "Peace Begins with Me". Good choice, kids. That'll play really well in a crackpot-conservative military town like this one. And, since Mrs. Bootleg and I are two of "those" parents, we each set up shop on opposite ends of the stage and took separate photos. There were eight songs in all, which might've been a few too many, as kids just stopped singing and/or wandered off to the dessert table before the show was over.


It had been a long day for That Bootleg Family, so after we got home, I offered to go back out for Taco Bell. (Those of you without kids yet, take heed: if you don't want your fast food choice influenced by your child, drop him/her off with mom and go back out on your own. I know what you're thinking - "I make the decisions in this house! Ain't no kid gonna tell ME where to eat!" Just trust me on this one, 'K?)

Not expecting any new menu items, I pulled into the drive-thru and prepared to order my (current) usual: the number eight for Mrs. Bootleg with a Dr. Pepper and the Grilled Chicken Burrito with revolving second item for myself. But, wait. What's that florescent RED thing on the menu board? It looks like the unnatural color of…volcano-based food products!

It's back! It's back! The Volcano Taco is back!

Hmmm…it's increased in price since the last time I saw it, jumping 40 cents to $1.29. But, we'll let it slide, since it appears to have brought – can it be? – a Volcano Double Beef Burrito to the party!

First the good news: the Volcano Taco is as awesome as I remember. Now, the bad news: the Volcano Double Beef Burrito is…NOT awesome. "Acceptable" is a more appropriate adjective, but even that comes some problems.

The burrito contains "twice the amount of beef" that's in TB's Burrito Supreme, along with seasoned rice, red tortilla strips, shredded cheese, sour cream and "lava sauce". Unfortunately, TB shovels out the sour cream by the truckload for some reason. The legit spiciness of the lava sauce is completely negated and the whole thing turns into a goopy five-layer dip.

This one's screaming for a second chance and I'm inclined to oblige. Next time, I'll tell 'em to hold the sour cream and double up on the lava sauce. And, no, I can't wait to call "lava sauce" by its proper, stupid name through a drive-thru speaker.

That probably won't resolve the other problem, though. I'm generally the last person to complain about fast food pricing, but $2.99 is ridiculous for something TB should be serving as a value-menu priced (and value-menu sized) sister-item to the Volcano Taco.

UPDATE!: The Volcano Double-Beef Burrito got its second chance with me tonight – without the quart of sour cream. It was better than what I got one week ago, but it's still got flaws: (1) too much filler (rice, red tortilla strips) and (2) about a dollar too expensive. There's 4+ potential here, Taco Bell. For now, you'll take your 3.5 and like it.

Grade: 2 3.5 (out of 5)

8 comments:

ScottDiddy said...

Cam,

I'm making a trip from Vancouver (where there is NO Taco Bells!) to Seattle in a couple days to catch the Mariners play. I don't have time to catch up on all the food reviews so what items are a must on my Taco Bell stop?

PS Glad you're feeling better!

That Bootleg Guy said...

GAH! OK, OK...no pressure. Fortunately, TB's website breaks down the menu items pretty well, so you can see what comes with what.

Value Menu: If you're cheap and risk-averse, the regular taco is as much the "TB experience" as anything. Snack-sized and snack-priced! Also, the caramel-apple empanada is so good that the TB by my house often sells out of them every day by sundown. Don't ask how I know this.

Tacos: If you're a refried bean guy, the Double Decker Taco still kinda rocks. 15 years ago, this was, like, the most revolutionary fast food taco ever made. A tortilla with beans spreaded/folded around a regular taco? Thanks, Clinton Administration!

Burritos: TB's burritos are generally "eh". The Burrito Supreme is obviously the most popular, but the Beef n' Potato burrito is the MONEY burrito. Taco meat and CHUNKS of fried potato? God's angioplasty, son.

Chalupas/Gorditas: Not a fan of the dried-out soft Gordita "shells". The Chalupas, on the other hand, are deep fried, crispy, chewy and awesome. The one with nacho cheese is probably the safest bet, but the "Baja" version (with something called "pepper jack sauce") is my fave.

Nachos and Sides: The Nachos Supreme is a decent-sized representation of that TB taste. Although, the plain ol' nachos (just chips with a teeny cup of cheese goo) are actually not bad considering how little you get. The Fiesta Potatoes (fried spuds topped with cheese goo and sour cream) were my dirty little "after work/pre-dinner/eat 'em in the car/don't tell the wife" snack back when I was nearly 190 lbs.

Specialties: The Crunch Wrap Supreme is very good, but WAY filling. And, I say this with my bottomless pit of stomach still pretty much intact. Avoid if you're leaning towards more of a TB "sampler platter". I haven't had the Mexican Pizza in forever, but I do remember it being much smaller since it debuted back in the '80s.

Again, hit up TB's website for pictures and descriptions of their menu. Not everyone's a fan of tomatoes, sour cream, etc. so you'll want to be armed with this vital knowledge going in.

SHough610 said...

How could you leave out the quesadilla?! I love me some Taco Bell quesadilla.

Also, have you gotten a chance to watch LOST yet? I want your take.

Glad to see you're feeling better and thanks for the note on facebook.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Glad to see Cam could pull himself off his deathbed for this! Personally I cant disagree with much of the above.

If nothing else, get the volcano taco. Cam's pretty much nailed how awesome it is.

NY Jon said...

And as Aaron has written a zillion times: stay away from anything on the TB menu featuring "steak".

Taco Bell's "steak" has the texture, consistency and 48-hours-to-chew qualities of a pack of Rolos.

ScottDiddy said...

Cam,

So I went to the Taco Bell around Safeco Field last night armed with your information (thank you by the way). Much to my chagrin, little of what you recommended was on the menu at this franchise.

No Volcano Taco which was my #1 choice. THEN, no Beef N Potato burrito was offered. I had only remembered the two of these since they sounded so delicious, and was forced to improvise at this point. I settled for the 99 cent Double Beef and Cheese Burrito, that apparantly comes with rice? WTF! I also went with a Burrito Supreme, which was moderately better. All in all, I give the experience about 2 stars out of 5.

Now, onto the game. I know you're a bit of a 'baseball snob' like me, and have caught you posting on the USS Mariner board before. What is the proper protocol when faced with sitting with idiot fans who think they know all but really know anything (using stats like ERA and batting average to hammer home their 'points')?

That Bootleg Guy said...

Holy crap, you're kidding me?! I might - MIGHT - buy that the Volcano Taco is a regional re-release (although it's featured on TB's website), but no beef n' potato burrito? Well, it's settled: Washington has lost its statehood.

And, I *love* USS Mariner. I'd kill for a similar site for my A's. As for proper protocol, I think the best thing to do is try to tune out the morons. I've let myself get sucked into their vortex by bringing facts/logic and legitimate stats in, but end up with a net loss of brain cells in th end.

Patrick Jones said...

It is so refreshing to see another TB enthusiast such as myself. I must say my initial VDBB experience was freaking awesome. Suprisingly they did not dump the sour cream on the burrito and I actually had an explosion of lava sauce in every bite! Usually the end of the burrito (any variety) is the junk filler ingredients and the folded over tortilla blanket, but with this instance it was all VDBB in its true glorious splendor. I guess the line guy must have just watched the training video or something because it was simply phenomenal. Great blog by the way.