Saturday, June 12, 2010

TBG Eats: The NEW Bacon Ranch and Salsa Roja Tortadas from Taco Bell

Current Weight: 169.8 lbs.

TBG reader Robert writes:

Hey, man: I'm a big fan of anything you write relating to Taco Bell. So when are we going to get your review of the two Tortadas they introduced a few months ago?

Soooo…you're demonstrably less passionate about everything else I write? Is that it? 140+ posts this year and you're impatiently waiting around for my Tortada thoughts? Well, for your information, I have a perfectly good explanation for the delay.

Taco Bell's new Tortadas debuted a little over two months ago. They were promoted as alternatives to the traditional sandwich – as shown in this truncated clip:

This was quite the mind-f**k for me, since traditional Mexican culture had already improved upon the ubiquitous American sandwich in the form of tortas. From the right taco truck or hole-in-the-wall spot, they're
all kinds of incredible. I'd always thought tortadas were desserts – loosely akin to tarts.

Admittedly, it took longer than I would've liked for me to get my head around this. In the interim, Taco Bell introduced a new ad campaign based around their "$2 Meal Deals". TB even air-lifted in Charles Barkley – the silver medalist in this year's "Negro who's not Nearly as Funny as Everyone Thinks" competition*:

* -- Gold Medalist for an unprecedented fifth straight year: Wanda Sykes. By winning the 2010 title, she broke a three-way tie for consecutive victories with Jimmie (J.J.) Walker (1975-78) and Martin Lawrence (1997-2000).

Now, from time to time, I'll catch some light-hearted hell for giving Taco Bell so much love on this lightly-read blog. Invariably, it comes from readers who don't realize that I'm IN on the joke. I know Taco Bell isn't "real" Mexican food. It's the guiltiest of guilty pleasures and my over-the-top effusiveness is all part of the act.

But, really, Taco Bell. Doritos? You don't have to advertise your inherent lack of ethnic authenticity so openly. Your regular nacho chips are terrific! Why not include a small order of those and leave the cheese-dusted triangles from Frito-Lay to the 7-11s and vending machines of the world? I'm still wound up about this, but I think I can pound out two Tortadas reviews.

First, the Bacon Ranch Tortada (according to the description from Taco Bell's website):

A warm flour tortilla loaded [with] fire-grilled marinated all-white meat chicken, crisp shredded lettuce, diced ripe tomatoes, crispy flavorful bacon, and avocado ranch sauce, all grilled together hot and toasty.

I've had the Bacon Ranch Tortada on two separate occasions and can say, with certainty, that the avocado ranch sauce makes the meal here. It's got a mildly spicy/tangy thing going on that blends well with the bacon, while the chunks of chicken lend an effective amount of substance. The second time I ordered this, there was hardly any sauce inside. Consequently, the ingredients just sat on top of each other like boring porn.

There's also a Salsa Roja Tortada (again, according to TB's website):

A warm flour tortilla loaded with fire-grilled marinated all-white meat chicken, crisp shredded lettuce, fiesta salsa, flavorful salsa roja, and a blend of three cheeses – cheddar, pepper jack, and mozzarella, all grilled together hot and toasty.

Only had this once, but it's a solid little not-a-sandwich. It's got a little more kick than the Bacon Ranch as the cross-salsa pollination between the "fiesta" and "roja" gives it more flavor than you'd expect from a Taco Bell offering. If it were me, I'd double the amount of cheese, but the hook here is the salsa and nothing inside overwhelms any of the other ingredients.

Of course, this review is so late that they'll only be available at Taco Bell for a few more minutes, so you might want to hurry, yo.

Grade (Bacon Ranch Tortada): 4 (out of 5) Calories: 570 Fat: 24g

Grade (Salsa Roja Tortada): 3.5 (out of 5) Calories: 480 Fat: 14g


that mexican guy said...

That Charles Barkley spot kills me. The other guy is holding his "beefy 5 layer burrito" like it's a total 2-hand lift when it's really about half that size.

Also: you know you've arrived when readers are writing you testy emails demanding what you write about on your free time.

Aaron C. said...

Noticed that, too, Mex. If you're down for a class action suit against TB for burrito-size misrepresentation, let me know.

Tom said...

People think Wanda Sykes is funny?

Joe said...

The one thing I noticed about the Bacon Ranch Tortada is that it genuinely deserves to have the word "bacon" listed first, as the thing was just COATED in the pork-chip goodness.

And like you Cam, I scoff at Taco Bell offering Doritos. Why they just didn't offer cinnamon twists in those combos I don't know.

Aaron C. said...

Tom: She's scored a Fox sitcom, a Fox late-night show, some HBO specials and a few recurring roles on other shows. Ol' girl keeps getting work, so *someone's* gotta like her.

Joe: Agree on the cinnamon twists. TB is certainly not lacking for imitation Mexican side items under their own brand name.