So, today I was on my way to a writers meeting for a TV pilot I'm working on (coming soon?), and decided to stop off for a bite to eat at a nearby Taco Bell. The reason being that I had heard about TB's recent addition of "Cantina Tacos" to the menu.
You may or may not have seen the commercials for these bad boys, so allow me to explain for those who haven't. Essentially, the Cantina Taco is meant to be the equivalent to what one might find at any locally owned taqueria. They come in 3 varieties of Chicken, Steak, and Carnitas (a.k.a. pork), each served on a soft corn tortilla with onion and cilantro, and a wedge of fresh lime for garnish. Since there was a combo for all three and a large drink (also available individually or as a two-pack with no drink), I went with the combo. And guess what, they are balls nasty. Straight up suck city. Let's break it down piece by piece.
Starting with the outside, we have a double layer of soft corn tortillas. Now, I make no secret to the fact that I generally hate them no matter where they are from. Soft corn tortillas have a particular thickness and graininess that I've just never cared for. Not to mention the fact that they tend to get soggy in seconds flat from the various taco juices. I'd say the ones at TB are probably about on-par with any other soft-corn. So, if you like that kind of stuff this probably wouldn't be an issue for you. But, really, that was possibly the best tasting part of the whole taco. And, again, this is coming from someone who would generally rather shoot himself in the ass than eat a corn tortilla that isn't crunchy.
Moving inside we get to the meat and onion/cilantro mix. This is where the real problem comes in. Now, as mentioned before, these things come in three varieties. But, honestly, you could have fooled me. I opened the first one up, saw what appeared to be pork inside, and took a bite. Instead of delicious piggy goodness, I found myself with a mouthful of flavorless mush. The onion was there, and the cilantro was there, but the meat itself had absolutely zero flavor to it. I worked my way through it and to the next one. Opening that one up, I saw what I figured to be chicken. Again, no taste what so ever. The third one turned out to actually be the pork one (making the first one actually steak). The pork had a bit of actual flavor to it. Not good flavor, mind you, but enough to the point where you could at least tell it was pork. This is what I just don't understand. I really enjoy Taco Bell's normal steak soft tacos, and their chicken tacos are pretty good as well (though, I'm not a big chicken eater). How did they manage to make both usually tasty meats into this flavorless flesh-paste? It totally baffles me.
This brings me to the lime wedge. As I told the guys at the writes meeting that night, I'm pretty sure this is only included to disguise the fact that none of the main ingredients have a real taste. I figure they assume that if customers drown it in lime, they'll assume the lack of other flavors is just from too much citrus.
So, why would Taco Bell put such an ungodly selection of shit-filled tacos on their menu? Allow me to pose my conspiracy theory. They put the tacos on the menu and claim that they are of the equivalent to what one would find from a real taco joint. Customers order them, see how shitty they are, and assume that this must mean that real tacos taste like dick simmered in assjuice, and decide Taco Bell's normal tacos must be the pinnacle of flavor. It's brilliant, really. Until of course you realize that TB is promoting these things as better than their standard taco. So really, they are saying that normal tacos taste worse that ass.
Yum fucking yum. Way to go, champ.