Friday, October 9, 2009

TBG Eats: Taco Bell's NEW Black Jack Taco

Current Weight: 169.2 lbs.

One of the infrequent running features on this lightly-read blog is my "TBG (Finally) Sees" series of movie reviews. Don't be fooled, my friends. I didn't know this five-and-a-half years ago, but the single biggest impact of bringing a child into this world is the inability to see first-run movies in the theater.

Mrs. Bootleg and I were a pair of opening weekend freaks back in the day ("the day" being 2002). Now, we get to the movies maybe four times a year and when we do, it's to see a film that's on its way out of theaters and coming soon to DVD/Blu-Ray.

That's not to say there aren't benefits to seeing a film in its 16th week of release: there are no crowds and passes are always accepted. Unfortunately, there's a flip side. It's admittedly rare, but sometimes movies are a wee bit overhyped. After weeks and weeks of effusive enthusiasm, it's impossible for these universally beloved films to live up to public opinion.

So, yes, I got around to seeing "Borat", "Wedding Crashers", "40 Year Old Virgin" and "The Hangover" right after the rest of America finished making sweet, sweet love to all four. My immediate reaction: overrated, overrated, overrated and overrated. I liked 'em all just fine – laughed out loud at times – but no one's gonna be putting "Wedding Crashers" in the pantheon with "Airplane" any time soon, y'know?

Now, we've covered Taco Bell's phenomenal 2009 new menu run in a few previous posts. Some of my fellow TB aficionados who've found this blog have been keeping me apprised of the chain's regional test marketing and upcoming promotional items. A few months ago, one of 'em mentioned the Black Jack Taco would be dropping nationwide after a successful trial run in one or two markets. From the Taco Bell website:

A crunchy black taco shell filled with seasoned beef, zesty pepper jack sauce, shredded lettuce and a blend of three cheeses – cheddar, pepper jack and mozzarella.

The "Black Jack buzz" has been simmering on several other junk food blogs as the fraternity of clogged arteries was convinced that TB had struck (black) gold again. I'll say this much for the Black Jack Taco: that sh** is black, yo. Here it is juxtaposed with my lady-killing caramel skin tone.

And, that's about all it has going for it.

I'm not sure what TB was aiming for with the flavorless, forgettable "pepper jack sauce", but they missed spectacularly. A year ago, this would've been called "chipotle sauce". Ten years ago, it was probably "eXtreme sauce". All part of a long line of "spicy" condiments (probably from the same can) that taste nothing like its name(s). And, I couldn't quite place the gummy shredded cheese that was mixed in with the cheddar. I was as shocked as y'all to find out I'd eaten a taco topped with mozzarella.

Mrs. Bootleg makes a fresh mozzarella n' tomato-basil salad that'll make
this guy cry. I'm fine with processed stuff, too, as long as it's melted in an oven and delivered to my door in a cardboard box. But, shredded imitation mozzarella on a taco? We're just gonna pretend this never happened, Taco Bell.

Cool? Cool.

Grade: 1 (out of 5) Calories: 210, Fat: 17g


Anonymous said...

Since you are a foodie, I thought I would tell you about a Chicago restaurant chain that has two locations in So Cal. It's called Portillo's and is known for their Italian Beef sandwiches and Chicago style hot dogs. If you ever take Jalen to Knotts Berry farm there is a restaurant in that area, if you go, order the beef sandwich "wet" with hot peppers. You will not be disappointed.

That Bootleg Guy said...

It appears I now have a new life's journey. I'll be up there sometime before the end of the year, I'm sure.

Thanks, Anonymous poster!

Bob said...

You do realize that 1) the "pepper jack" sauce = Baja sauce = what it's been called for 10 years and 2) the three-cheese-blend has ALWAYS contained mozzarella, right? And it's not imitation.

The pepper jack sauce isn't supposed to provide kick as much as flavor, which is why it works so well in the Cheesy Gordita Crunch and the Grilled Stuft Burrito. I love spicy stuff, but not EVERYTHING has to be spicy, ya know.

That Bootleg Guy said...

I'll give you the pepper jack sauce/baja sauce thing, but my point with the mozzarella was that it was "imitation" by not being fresh. Snark and hyperbole are kinda what we do 'round these parts.

And, if your pepper jack sauce had flavor, yours is a better Taco Bell than mine.