Friday, January 21, 2011
TBG Eats: The NEW Beefy Crunch Burrito from Taco Bell
Current Weight: 170.8 lbs.
I've been forced to make several dietary concessions in recent years.
Most of the food-related memories from my morbidly obese grade-school years remain indelibly burned into my brain. But, few were more comforting than the big-ass bowl of cereal that accompanied my Saturday morning cartoons.* Up until about five years ago, I took portable bowls filled with Grape-Nuts into work every morning. With a 50-cent carton of milk from the cafeteria; my little bit of breakfast seemed to dull the AM edge from my office drudgery.
Today, dairy is my undoing. Not ALL dairy -- I'm fine with cheese, for instance -- but, straight-up milk or ice cream? Let's just move on.
* -- In the 1980s, Saturday morning cartoons fell into one of three categories: (1) iconic comic book superheroes; (2) arcade game adaptations and (3) animated caricatures of real-life prime time television programming. This was a big deal. I vividly remember each of the three major networks airing 30-minute "preview" shows -- in early September -- on the Friday night before their new Saturday morning cartoons debuted the next day. Afterwards, my brother and I would review our notes and then meticulously plan our viewing schedule. This was a BIG DEAL.
Three years ago, I was fitted with my first crown. I've never been able to completely confirm this; but I'm reasonably certain I cracked my tooth on a rock-hard, rogue Corn-Nut that had successfully dodged quality control. Now, I can only eat especially crunchy or chewy food in moderation. Toffee, peanut brittle or bagels will irritate my crowned bicuspid after more than a handful of chews. If I continue, the right side of my jaw will actually stiffen.**
** -- I remember being diagnosed with a mild-case of TMJ right after my permanent crown was inserted. My doctor referred me to a specialist who would've put me through some light oral therapy. For the life of me, I cannot remember why I blew this off. Sounds like it would've made for some quality blog fodder -- puerile "oral" jokes, incessant references to one of Skeletor's minions...yeah, I need to revisit this.
My gastronomic surrender to spicy foods is the greatest loss of all.
I took then-Girlfriend Bootleg to a popular and inexpensive chicken wing spot on our very first date. I asked for my order to be coated in the hottest sauce in the house and then immediately thought: "Wait...what if we kiss, afterwards? Will the residual sauce burn this little black woman's mouth?" This was what passed for "problems" in the 1990s, y'all.
A few years ago, I went back to Wings-N-Things and ordered ten wings with their "surface-of-the-sun" sauce. I've condensed the 12 hours that followed into a succinct 56-second clip.
Even though I've had to take the temperature down and keep the Tums close by at all times, there are still some spicy eats that I regularly enjoy. Your taste tolerance may vary, but the "Flamin' Hot" line of junk food from Frito-Lay really isn't that volcanic. While the chips DO have a kick, they don't require a bottle of water to get to the bottom of the bag.
Taco Bell has recently introduced the Beefy Crunch Burrito. The hook is the inclusion of "Flamin' Hot" Fritos to go along with TB's ubiquitous ground beef, rice, nacho cheese sauce and reduced-fat sour cream. Last year, Taco Bell began offering two-dollar meals with Doritos as the featured side item. Though commercially successful, the move was viewed -- by me -- as a gimmicky departure from the chain's otherwise impeccable menu of Mexican authenticity.
There have been worse crossovers in my lifetime, so I should be willing to keep an open mind.
The Beefy Crunch Burrito really does work. The Fritos are surprisingly effective, lending a different taste to the usual Taco Bell flavors. The spice gives a lift to both the ground beef and cheese sauce, while the crunch is much stronger in texture than TB's lighter in-house tortilla chips. As usual, though, I'm going to b*tch about the rice. It's nothing but transparent value-menu filler and lends nothing to the end product. A double-the-beef, no rice "Frito-rrito" would be...wait a tick.
How do I reach TB's department of gimmicky departures?
Grade: 4 (out of 5) Calories: 510 Fat: 22g