Fast Food Review: Breakfast at Taco Bell

By Luke Y. Thompson in Food & Drink
Friday, May 17, 2013 at 5:31 pm

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I went looking for the waffle taco. I did not find it. But I did find something worth writing about.

And now, like every annoying independently made comedy movie ever, I shall metaphorically cut to black, and raise the title card that reads, "Seven days earlier..."

Cut to a scene of me checking email, because that's a fascinating visual in and of itself. Count the number in my inbox cluing me in to the fact that Taco Bell has been testing a taco that uses a waffle for a shell. Close in on my frantic, jerking hand movements as I...manipulate a mouse to find out the deal on Taco Bell's official site (you were expecting a more literal self-pleasuring, maybe? Nahh, not during work hours).



It seems the waffle taco is part of a big new initiative to push the breakfast menu as "First Meal," in recognition of the fact that late night "Fourth Meals" are often eaten by drunks who would enjoy breakfast items too - plus eggs help you break down alcohol quicker, so it's a public service. Although regular Taco Bell food seems to make everything go through you quicker, so split the difference.

I look online to find out where this new menu is happening - conveniently, my local one is listed. But my heart sinks when I get there at 10:30 and nobody else is there; surely if my Bell had an in-demand item, there'd be a crowd?

Alas, no waffle taco. Boooo! But...new breakfast menu! Yay! I ordered the new breakfast crunchwrap, a breakfast griller, hash browns and a cup of Mountain Dew A.M., a mix of Dew and orange juice. It cost less than $5 total.

We must deal with that Dew A.M. first. With the existence of both Kickstart, a mass-marketed Mountain Dew juice drink; and Baja Blast, a proprietary Dew flavor exclusive to the Bell, I had certain expectations. Perhaps you do too. Let me shatter them: when you order a Mountain Dew A.M., you are handed a plastic cup with about half an inch of orange juice in it, and told you may take it to the soda machine to fill the rest with Mountain Dew. This may officially be the lamest thing in fast food history. Especially when that ad says "mixed just for you." BULLSHIT. Mixed just BY me doesn't count.

But here's the kicker - it tastes good. It really does. It tastes approximately like a screwdriver, which means I need to try it with real vodka sometime.

The grillers are not wrapped burrito-style like the atrocious "fully loaded grillers" on the main menu, but tacos with egg, cheese and your choice of meat (as long as you choose sausage or bacon) seared on the quesadilla grill. I don't know that the extra burning taste from said grill enhances things much, but there's a pleasant hint of green chile that does.

The crunchwrap is a strange, hexagonal thing that resembles a baked Galactic Empire logo, a style El Pollo Loco has co-opted for "stuffed quesadillas" (possibly next week's review). Historically, the "crunch" has come from a tostada in the middle, but I didn't notice one here. Again, you choose one of two breakfast meats, mix 'em with egg, place them atop a greasy, round hash brown patty, add cheese and a sauce that's basically taco Bell hot sauce packets mixed with a mayo base, then wrap the thing hexagonally and slap it on the grill - the grilling process makes some of the extremities crunchy...I guess.

Like many Taco Bell items, the crunchwrap suffers from "fold the tortilla over itself to make it look bigger and more full than it is" syndrome, but the substance of it is actually pretty glorious. Unlike its usual ground-meat-food-product, the sausage tastes like genuine animal bits. And the greasy, cheesy eggs are an experience even if you are sober.

As for the hash brown patty by its lonesome - more round than McDonalds but just as oily. That's all you need to know.

Nobody knew anything about the waffle taco, so with absolutely no waffling, I'll say this - the Bell does breakfast a whole lot better than lunch. And I'll be back, once I walk off these last few pounds.

(kidding about that last part)


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