TACO BELL IS STILL AWESOME!

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Last night, I ate Taco Bell for the first time in maybe 3-5 years. And let me tell you that Taco Bell is still as awesome as I remember, except it’s better now. Lately, the only fast food I’ve been eating is Burger King. Anytime it’s Thursday and I get out of Improv class at 10PM and I’m starving, but don’t feel like going to Publix to get something I have to cook, I always end up at the Burger King drive-thru. Which was getting to the point that I had to stop myself and say, “No more BK!”

I’ve been dying to go to Taco Bell since they released that Naked Chicken Taco, but the bad news is that it’s already gone. Every time I drove by a TB, I would think of stopping, but then I would think to myself, Wait, will this meal even make it back to Key Biscayne without getting all sogged up and ruined? Because I usually don’t like to eat food in the car, I would rather eat it once I get home watching my recorded TV programs.

Last night I wasn’t even that hungry. I just had a weird day and felt that it was time for some TB. I arrived to an empty drive thru, with no cars in front of me and no time to read over the new, super massive menu. The voice in the box instantly asked, “What would you like,” and I replied with a long, “Uhhhhhhhhhh…,” as I quickly sifted through all the new additions to the menu.

I remember when the menu was so simple, there were some tacos, burritos, quesadillas, chalupas and a few other things. Since my last visit they’ve added a bunch of hybrid items like “quesa-ritos,” “double-dillas” and so much more.

When I was younger my order was very simple, “Three taco meal, soft, only beef and cheese and a chicken quesadilla.” Today, that would be too plain and boring, I needed to try something new, especially after 3-5 years of not visiting TB.

I decided I’d ask for three things and three things only, but what would those three things be? I first decided on a Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco, only beef and cheese. Cool Ranch Doritos have forever and always been my favorite Doritos, the purple Spicy Chili comes in a close second now, but never Nacho Cheese. The taco shell wasn’t overly Cool Ranch-y, but it still had enough of that flavor that I was happy with it.

For my second item I asked for a Quesarito, not knowing exactly what it was. I went with the spicy beef. I’m pretty sure there was cheese, beef, rice, sour cream and maybe some other stuff in there. It was mighty good. I guess it was a burrito with extra cheese that was put on the plancha like a quesadilla. Whatever it was I was satisfied with it.

My third and final item was the Cheesy Stuffed Gordita (or Cheesy Stuffed Gordita Supreme), with beef and no lettuce. I’m not sure which one I got, because I first asked for the Supreme and the guy said it didn’t exist, although I did read it somewhere on that giant menu. This was also delicious, although I waited too long to eat it and the crunchiness of the taco inside the Gordita was not as crunchy as I would have liked.

Why did I choose these three items? The Doritos Locos was always on my mind from the moment I first arrived and saw they had a Cool Ranch version (I thought that was an LTO, limited time offer, #FastFoodTalk). The other two were crunch time decisions. I was panicked by the voice in the box and felt I was put on the spot and had to order before an imaginary shot clock ran out. So, I quickly looked through the menu and said whatever items caught my attention. I also didn’t want to start asking questions about each item, “Now the quesarito, what is that all about?” And have to listen to this guy’s explanations of each item.

Knowing what I know now, about the super massive menu at Taco Bell I will definitely do my research before going back. I may study the menu to be prepared for my next visit. Maybe I’ll print it out and highlight some items that I am curious about. Either way, I will definitely be visiting TB some time in the near future (I’m not waiting another 3-5 years), and when I do visit I will be prepared.

 

What are some of your favorite Taco Bell items? (tell me by commenting below, and if you think you’re too good for Taco Bell, keep that sh*t to yourself…)

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Culinary Critics

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There are some rumors going around insinuating that chefs are crazy. If you watch Kitchen Nightmares or Hell’s Kitchen or any Gordon Ramsay show, you may agree (I do not watch those shows, so I hope he’s on at least one of them). You might believe in a world where all chefs have exploding personalities and you should just leave them alone. I don’t think this is true and I’ll tell you why.

Last week, I began watching Chef’s Table on Netflix and I’m now on the 6th or 7th episode. If you aren’t watching this show yet, you need to start now. Take a break from OITNB and watch some Chef’s Table, then get back to OITNB if you really need to. I like that each episode of Chef’s Table keeps you jumping around the world following one master chef at a time (not to be confused with the Master Chief). Also, each episode is completely different from the last because each chef has a different story, personality and culinary style.

If you want to know who the real crazies are, it’s definitely not the chefs. Of the 6 or 7 chefs I’ve seen so far, only one was a little crazy. He wasn’t exactly crazy though, he was just an Argentinian hippie. Another one was a bit angry, but he did say he needed to work on that. So, at least he acknowledged his faults.

The real crazy people are the food critics who make a living talking about these chefs. Who are these hipster food scientists, dissecting each meal to write a column about it? And what gives them the authority to say what food is better than the rest?

I’m asking because I would like to have this job. Just eat food and talk about it, all day. I’d also get to create my own strange wardrobe by taking stuff from Urban Outfitters and thrift stores into a secret lair, then sewing them together and create a hybrid clothing line specifically for myself. According to the food critics I’ve seen so far, If you’re all about writing about food, you also have to be all about fashion, but not other people’s fashion. You must create your own weird costumes, that only you can pull off.

Maybe the food critics create these outrageous outfits in order to stand out when they come into restaurants. They want the chef to know who they are. I’m a critic, give me the good food! These aren’t this new breed of yelp reviewers, Chef’s Table doesn’t believe in yelp (and neither do I!). These critics probably attended culinary school, but not to learn how to make wild dishes. They wanted to be able to write about other people’s wild dishes.

Of all the food critics I’ve seen in 6 or 7 episodes, I think only one of them looked like an everyday human. The rest look like they belong at Mos Eisley’s Cantina. They aren’t weird-shaped or goofy-faced, it’s mostly just their clothes that makes them seem different. “And people always scared of what’s different,” someone said that in Remember the Titans (and probably some other movies too).

Since I’ve only seen 6 or 7 episodes, that’s all I’ve learned so far. Also, just from watching Chef’s Table my culinary skills may be improving. Last week I bought some sashimi tuna at the Fresh Market and I made a super gourmet, culinary chef experience out of it. I even had a beautiful presentation worthy of a Kaiseki dining experience. (Episode 4: Niki Nakayama – n/naka)
Watch Chef’s Table and learn some stuff…