Monday, October 4, 2010

TBG Eats: The NEW 99-Cent Chicken Flatbread Sandwich from Taco Bell

Current Weight: 172 lbs.

I usually don't eat lunch.

Sometimes, I might eat during my lunch hour, but that's almost always part of my all-day grazing at work. And, a few forkfuls from my enormous, Mrs. Bootleg-made bowl of fresh fruit at noon don't qualify as "lunch" any more than my 8:00 AM trail mix* single-serving sacks should be considered a passable breakfast.

* -- I mentioned this on Twitter several weeks ago, but it bears repeating: With ingredients like M&Ms, glazed walnuts and butterscotch chips, the evolution of "trail mix" into "bags of candy" has made my breakfasts 50-60% better.

Without a true lunchtime in my life, I've had to sacrifice that midday staple – the sandwich – from my diet. Dinner is my one substantive meal of the day and after serial snacking for hours on end, it would take more than a single sandwich to satiate my evening appetite.

I still get my sandwich fix, though. Truth be told, there are few better "bar foods". And, when dinnertime here at Stately Bootleg Manor occurs on one of the 15 days out of every month when my wife is too tired and/or uninspired and/or watching Oprah to cook…a sandwich beats nothing.**

** -- Mrs. Bootleg is the unquestioned QUEEN of the following sinister marital tactic: She'll disclose her dinner preparation plans in the morning ("How about my homemade spaghetti, tonight?") Consequently, I'll spend the entire day thinking about her homemade spaghetti. When I arrive home, there's no sauce simmering, no garlic bread baking and Mrs. Bootleg is asleep on the couch. Seems she's still full from the Thai food she had at lunch. And, since SHE'S not hungry…

Since, I've gotta get back in the sandwich state of mind, here are – generally speaking – my three favorite and least favorite:

Favorite Sandwiches

(1) Tuna Melt: I am, of course, "generally speaking" about MY tuna melt, made with my sassy tuna salad.

(2) BLT: There's an ersatz Irish pub out here that serves two BLTs stacked on top of each other with guacamole in between 'em. It's jaw-unhinging heaven.

(3) Chicken Salad: A close family friend of ours makes hers with large shreds of chicken, a peppery dressing and cashews. If she wasn't happily married…

Least Favorite Sandwiches

(1) Pastrami/Corned Beef: Previously addressed in this TBG post from February 2009.

(2) Peanut Butter and Jelly: From a time when I enjoyed soft drinks, sugary breakfast cereals and coffee with cream and sweetener. Today, I'm asking the unfortunately uniformed girl at Hot Dog on a Stick if the latest batch of lemonade is "sweet" or "too sweet".

(3) Egg Salad: We live in a time when salads are topped with steak, fried chicken or served in greasy, deep-fried flour tortilla shell. Egg salad is a throwback to a significantly less delicious era.

Speaking of which, Taco Bell turns back the clock on Hispanic stereotypes with this new ad for their 99-cent Chicken Flatbread Sandwich:

For those playing "ethnic bingo" at home, TB addressed (1) the heavily-accented English ("fi-feefty!"); (2) the "she can't understand English, so let's have someone dumb it down for her by using fewer words" bit and (3) that easily-identifiable "fiery Latina temper". Why stop there, Taco Bell? Just give the "sandwich lady"
her own theme song, already!

Anyways…have you heard Taco Bell has a new 99-cent Chicken Flatbread Sandwich? From TB's website:

Warm, square-cut flatbread, filled with marinated all-white-meat chicken, and a melty three-cheese blend of cheddar, pepper jack, and mozzarella topped off with flavorful chipotle sauce and melted to perfection to seal in the flavor.

Considering the price tag, I was expecting nothing more than a half-minute microwave effort to melt the cheese and shoo me out of the drive-thru. But, the simplicity of the melted cheese with TB's decent chicken strips worked and the chipotle sauce really sets it off. There's a creamy-(mildly) spicy thing going on that somehow highlights the other flavors and provides a complexity (by fast food standards) of textures with the flatbread and chicken.

The first one I ate had a little more sauce and, in two subsequent visits, my Taco Bell's been a bit chintzy with the chipotle. Ask for a little extra sauce and thank me later. This is a 4.5 star sandwich that gets an extra .5 for the low price…but, loses a star for that ad.

You're better than that Taco Bell. I hope, one day, I can once again think of "respectful, traditional Hispanic culture" when your brand comes to mind.

Grade: 4 (out of 5) Calories: 290 Fat: 15g


SHough610 said...

Hey, it's nice to see the maid from Family Guy has branched out into being in a Taco Bell commercial (and she's just as funny here as she was there).

Speaking of Family Guy, are you not reviewing animation domination this year? That was always one of my weekly highlights last year.

Lew B said...

1) Somehow the phrase "Sassy Tuna salad" caused my brain to say "Oh no he didn't!"

2) I don't think we can comclusively say the sandwich lady was Hispanic. Maybe she was Hungarian, or Kazikstanian or something.

Speaking of homemade Spaghetti Sauce, I'm cooking up my secret receipe for about 120 people on Sunday the 17th at Templar's Hall. If you, the Mrs. and J would like to be my guests, swing on by. It's a fundraiser for rescued dogs, but you can pull the old "Oh, i don't need a ticket, I'm a guest of the chef." I'm donating the sauce, so they'll let in whomever I tell them to let in (Oh no he didn't!).

that mexican guy said...

I don't know. It's a broad, simple-minded depiction of the Hispanic ethnicity. Isn't that kind of Taco Bell's mission statement?

Still, you'd think Taco Bell would've been more regionally sensitive. Maybe air that spot in the states that make up "real America" and do a more product-focused ad for those of us in the more educated, civilized parts of America.

I want to know what kind of office has a "sandwich lady" roaming the halls, though? I'd pay "five-feefty" for direct-to-cubicle delivery.

Tom said...

*Looks at your Sassy Tuna Salad recipe*

*Looks at Egg Salad*


Aaron C. said...

@Sam -- I was on the fence about doing the FOX Sunday write ups again (and the season premieres kind of left me flat), but I think I'll do 'em again. If nothing else, it ensures my DVR doesn't get too backed up.

@Tom -- Now you've gone and intrigued me.