Right off the bat, let me state the following. Yes, I realize this is pretty much the 3rd Taco Bell-related post I've made in a row. The difference here is that, while the past two have been shit-slinging tirades about how much new stuff sucks, this one will have significantly less shit-slinging. In fact, I'm mostly going to be saying nice things. Mostly. Won't you please join me in Taco-land?
Taco Bell Border Salsas
Not to be confused with the standard Border Sauces (Mild, Hot and Fire), the new Border Salsas are a slightly 'chunkier' sauce (similar consistency to Fire sauce) available in Salsa Verde and Fire-Roasted Salsa. I will cover them individually, to avoid confusion.
WARNING: This is going to be a few paragraphs just talking about sauce. I understand that not everyone shares my passion for the concept of sauces. I understand that I'm a big loser for caring this much. If you don't give a crap, feel free to skip to the next section. But don't you even think about skipping that section too, because I'll know man... I'll know.
Salsa Verde - If there's one thing I love most when it comes to mexican food, it's a really nice Salsa Verde. Unfortunately, this is not one. Don't get me wrong, it's actually pretty good. In fact, by Border Sauce/Salsa standards, it's probably second place as far as taste goes (Fire sauce is still my #1 guy). But salsa verde is pretty tasty too. In fact, I think more fast food places should take up this idea (for things like breakfast burritos and the like).
Fire-Roasted Salsa - Sucks out loud. I just want to get that out there from the start. This Salsa sucks. So. Bad. (Just my opinion, of course). The downfall for this alleged salsa (hereafter known as 'sauce') is that it lacks any form of peppers. I understand the desire to make a sauce that would appeal to people who don't like spicier sauces, but this sauce is almost ridiculously tame. It is almost all tomato (Fire Roasted tomato puree, Tomato Paste, and a bit of garlic and onion powder), so it ends up tasting like kind of sweet ketchup or barbecue sauce. Awful, awful stuff. Enough talk about sauces, let's dig into the real food now! (Ooh, did you see that pun I did there "dig in". Man, I'm a natural!)
Crispy Potato Soft Taco - I don't know if this is actually new or not, but this is the first time I've ever noticed it on the menu. Essentially it is Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes in a taco shell. However instead of nacho cheese and sour cream, the potato chunks are topped with pepper jack sauce (the same as was on the short-lived Black Jack Taco), lettuce, and shredded cheese. It's surprisingly tasty. I love those potatoes, and all the ingredients go well together. I tried a few bites with Fire sauce, but it kind of overpowered everything else. Salsa Verde was not bad on it, either, but I think with something like this, it's best as is. Also, it's filling and super cheap ($0.89). Not something I want to eat all the time, but it's something I'll be going for again when I'm low on cash. The only downside I noticed was that the big chunks of potato make the taco fall apart more easily.
XXL Chalupa - This is pretty much the perfect Taco Bell chalupa, as far as toppings go. Nacho cheese sauce, Fiesta salsa, even the sour cream (which I'm normally not a fan of) is great on this. It all goes well together and did I mention there's a buttload of beef in there? It's a bit unwieldy to eat without spilling out the other end, but could be tackled with a fork like a taco-salad. The chalupa shell is also very good and crispy. The big downside is that the red tortilla strips get placed between the beef and the nacho cheese, so they end up getting soggy before you even start eating it. They are pretty much undetectable. If they were layered in differently they'd add much more interesting texture.
All in all, Taco Bell has really been getting back in the game when it comes to delicious bad-for-you food.
Salsa Verde - "it's actually pretty good"
Fire Roasted Salsa - "This Salsa sucks. So. Bad. (Just my opinion, of course)"
Crispy Potato Soft Taco - "surprisingly tasty... filling and super cheap"
XXL Chalupa - "pretty much the perfect Taco Bell chalupa"