Fast Food Review: Del Taco Turkey, Take 2

By Luke Y. Thompson in Food & Drink
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 5:26 pm

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Del Taco really, really wants you to like their turkey. I know this because they want me to like it. Having already fed it to me without telling me what it was and gotten a mixed response, they followed up by sending me a big box full of feathers with a gift card at the bottom.

After that, they said they were sending more gift cards for me to do a special tasting of the turkey tacos, unblindfolded. When the cards didn't come, they sent more. They were confident.

Was it worth it?



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As you can see in the turkey soft taco, the meat looks like generic ground meat, and is darker than you'd expect turkey to be, so frankly, they could probably fool people if they wanted to. The soft taco is the best option if you just want to substitute for health reasons, as you can open it up and sauce it gratuitously.

Now, if you're choosing it for taste reasons, you should know my philosophy of turkey. Ready? Here it is...

Turkey is always great:

-sliced, on deli sandwiches.
-fresh, with gravy, on the first holiday night you roast it.

That's pretty much it. Leftover turkey, turkey pretending to be beef, and turkey burgers are never great, and often less than acceptable. Tacos never factored into my mind before, because I've never eaten at a Mexican restaurant that serves turkey. I don't know if there are any. I feel like most authentic Mexican places would sooner serve, like, chopped bull penis than sliced turkey. I go for tongue burritos, myself - and that's not a euphemism for anything.

So here's how it goes: the first bites are fine. It's crumbly, it's meaty enough, and it's better than Taco Bell's gritty meat crap. The aftertaste is where it gets you - a salty poultriness that essentially screams "We compensated for lack of fat with more salt!" As someone who has more issues with high blood pressure than obesity, I do not find this to be an improvement.

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The salsa on the hard taco added some nice freshness. I'd love to see Del Taco do salsa bars like so many other fast-Mexican chains (never mind the upscale Baja Fresh - if Carl's Jr. can have a salsa bar, anyone can).

Where I have to nitpick is the tostada shell. Here's the thing: that Del Taco KNEW I was coming. I doubt the employees knew what I looked like, but they had been tipped off that somebody was coming to try the turkey.

So why, knowing that, would you serve me a stale tostada shell? Wouldn't you be certain to check for crunchiness on that particular day?

Del Taco brass, if you are reading this, please don't fire the person responsible. I'm sure it was an honest mistake. Just think about fixing it, because once again, I ended up walking out leaving a half-unfinished turkey tostada.

Thanks for the comp, but I'd sooner eat a tofu taco, I think. If you ever want to test that, I'm totally game.


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