Thursday, March 22, 2012

Not again.

Guess what we did this weekend?

Oh yes. Taco Bell.

With wine. Sorry, y'all, you're up for more torture. As were our cardiovascular systems. This, er, "tasting" was less formal than last time, so I didn't take notes on the wines.

Our first course was "Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes". We were going for a patatas bravas tapas sort of thing. This is what Taco Hell's food stylists think they look like. This is what they actually look like:

On the good side, there was leftover "cheese" to dip some of the drier courses into. And they came in cute reusable plastic tubs. But overall, not good. The sour cream tasted incredibly strange- research indicates that TB uses low-fat sour cream for some unholy reason. It was thin, with an oddly fluffy texture and watery mouthfeel. The cheese was like a watered-down version of bowling alley nacho cheese. And the potatoes? They'd be at home in a breakfast taco, or maybe in your freezer courtesy of Ore-Ida. Not awful, but a little fake tasting, with savory spice flavors. We also had nachos as a second appetizer of sorts. They were pretty awful, and required a cinnamon twist palate cleanser before we moved on. Interestingly, the cinnamon twists were the insurgent standout of the evening.

Our wines with this course were oddly spiral-themed. Thanks, Trader Joe's. The Spiral Chardonnay actually worked pretty well with the potatoes. It was slightly effervescent and balanced, and cut through the layers of cheese-and-sour-cream-slime reasonably well. The Espiral Vinho Rose, though it's a decent pick on its own, didn't work with the potatoes.

Did I mention we spent $27 at Taco Bell between four people? That's actually possible. The poor counter woman was seriously confused. In other words, there are many courses to come.

Next came the Doritos.

Dorito tacos.

Sadly, I missed out on this delicacy. So sad. I had a bite, and it was decent. Accepting the premise that the sour cream is fake, and the "meat" tastes like TVP, it was actually not bad. The dorito shell wasn't crispy, but that was probably our poor handling between restaurant and serving.

This was some kind of chicken burrito rice thingy. Or maybe a soft taco. Is there a difference? This was a rare example of the "I-could-make-it" axiom: it wasn't bad per se, but why would you buy it? It's not unhealthy enough to be junky fast food, but it's not so exceptionally tasty that you'd go out of your way to order it. Plus, as an astute taster noted, the chicken tastes canned. You'd do better making it at home.

Around this time, we opened a bottle of Sainte Croix Syrah-Merlot blend. It was a nice, versatile red that paired well, if not exceptionally, with all the courses.

The crunchwrap was a rare beacon of joy in the field of contenders. Jon has loved the crunchwrap for many years now, but I've always made fun of him. It's like drunken pothead methy food...why would you consider eating something like that? The answer, as my foodie cred goes slinking away, is that it tastes really good. "Really good" is of course still relative to it being Taco Bell. But yes, really good. The mixture of crunchy taco shell and chewy flour tortilla worked, and the filling wasn't disgusting or obnoxious.

No idea why those positives didn't spill over to our next course, which also involved the fundamental opposites of crunchy and chewy.

This is a double decker taco. The idea is right, but I felt like the filling-to-wrap ratio was off. It was ok, but nowhere near as magical as the crunchwrap (I refuse to capitalize "crunchwrap"). Especially with wine.

After that, there was another burrito course. Actually, two kinds of burritos. But I can't recall what they were, they were pretty unexceptional, and my photos just look like the last burrito course. But less interesting. So we're going to skip those and head for dessert.

¡Santo Dios! This is a caramel apple empanada...god help us, indeed. It was sort of like an apple pancake, but inappropriately chewy and too sweet. It worked with the effervescent dessert wine, but was overall not fabulous. Next time, I'd go for some cinnamon twists instead.

The good news, I suppose, is that we survived. Now to re-group for the next adventure. Chik-Fil-A, anyone? Finally I'll have an excuse to guzzle Chik-Fil-A sauce guilt-free.

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