taco bell taco: doritos taco loco taco.
by sam. 25 apr 2012
Devotees will recall one of the three foundational beliefs of the tacosmog.com Executive Inceptionary Committee: "Doritos have the perfect flavor" (the other two being, "Everything is easier than it looks" and "The placebo effect is the most powerful force on Earth"). Devotees will further know that the tacosmog.com Chief Organizational Brethren enjoy analyzing the intersections of three things. Mindreaders will know that there is no reason a tri-part circular comparison of the intersection between these three beliefs has not yet been conducted, apart from pure lack of inspiration.
Well, tacosmog.com superfan Glen Bell has finally provided the tacosmog.com Plenary Golfing Committee with the wherewithal to live a life more considered. Just over a month ago, one of Madison's local State Street taco shops released a new taco at the behest of (presumably) Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. The concept was simple: a taco in a crunchy corn tortilla. The composition of the taco shell was revolutionary: rather than relying on plain old corn, Glen and his armada created a taco shell that was made out of a Doritos tortilla chip. While most taco places focus on the whole package, the advertising campaign makes it blatantly clear that, here, shell is prioritized over filling:
Taco Bell tacos often come under ridicule. In fact, on popular internet restaurant-reviewing websites, Taco Bell has even been called "gross". However, like most 'foodies', I've long enjoyed the crunchwrap supreme (especially when priced at $0.88), though I rarely eat at 'the Bell'. In general, the meats are more liquid than your average taco shop, and very homogeneously spiced. Generally, tacos are topped with with a few scraps of lettuce and tomatos, and some cheese. As part of the tacosmog.com Antarctic Expeditionary Squadron's Doritos sampling mission, I felt it important to get a 'classic' Taco Bell taco for comparison's sake. Thus, after a quick glance at the menu, I ordered one crunchy taco and one Doritos taco (with the accompanying $0.50 surcharge).
During my short wait time, I browsed the hot sauce selection. Things have certainly expanded since my last trip to Taco Bell, and this location had 7 options to choose from (6 if you don't count ketchup).
I selected a couple packets of Border Salsa Verde and a couple packets of the classic Border Salsa Fire. After receiving our food (in KFC bags, for whatever reason), business associate Erin and I headed to a sunny hill to enjoy our tacos. After a quick conversation with friendly neighborhood bicyclist Mark, we staked out a spot and busted out the tacos. Let's skip past the formalities and talk about the Doritos Taco Loco Taco.
As one might expect, it's identical to the classic taco in almost every way - except the shell. There's an approximately 2 cm thick layer of beef on the bottom, with 4 cm of lettuce and 1 cm of tomato/cheese. This adds up to a 7 cm taco, which seems a bit small compared to my mental picture of the whole taco, but the tacosmog.com Memorial Cryogenic Brain Trust memory doesn't lie. Here's the 'taco classic':
You'll notice the Doritos Taco Loco Taco is protected by a thin cardboard exoshell. One possibility is that Taco Bell has either made the aesthetic decision to accentuate the 'specialness' of this taco with a special case. Our expert opinion, however, is that there's a structural weakness caused by the addition of the Doritos powder to the corn tortilla. Both tacosmog.com representatives present noted that the shell was less crunchy than the classic taco, and seemed more likely to break into smaller fragments (somewhat like safety glass). It's likely that the entire shell was reformulated, to avoid an overpowering corn flavor - you'll recall the Doritos' secret is in the powder.
Of course, the ultimate question: did it taste like Doritos? Well, partially - it definitely had a mix of MSG, powdered cheese, salts, and other Doritos-proprietary spices. Foolishly, we forgot to obtain a bag of Nacho Cheesier Doritos for a side-by-side comparison (the first mistake in the history of tacosmog.com). However, both of our memories agreed that the taste (in addition to the texture) was slightly off. While 'tang' isn't normally a flavor associated with Doritos, it is the best descriptor for what the shell seemed to be lacking. In all likelihood, this shell got rushed to the market before Doritos got to spend the requisite 46 years refining their flavor blend to perfection.
Overall, the Doritos shell is an improvement over the classic Taco Bell taco shell, but has not achieved true Doritos perfection. Now, we sit back and await the Doritos Taco-Flavored Taco Shell, which is being created in the world's largest tortilla press at CERN and has already been the subject of black hole rumors.