Sparkle and ooze, the Triple Steak Stack
With Taco Bell’s new Triple Steak Stack, we enter the world of “meta-eats.” What do I mean by that? Well, Taco Bell is nominally a Mexican fast-food chain, with fare that generally falls within the burrito and taco canon, plus a few we’ve-seen-them-before flourishes, like taco salad served in crimped taco bowl.
The reality of the Triple Steak Stack doesn’t quite match the picture in the window.
Now, struggling to escape the boundaries they’ve set for themselves, they’ve invented the Triple Steak Stack. What does the name suggest? Certainly not a sandwich. The thing consists of a flop of dough something like a Middle Eastern flatbread, rolled and baked to an anemic off-white, with a few symbolic brown spots that might just as well have been spray-painted on.
Inside, we find only two ingredients, and they are familiar to anyone who’s ever eaten at TB before: “steak” and the combination of white and yellow “cheese.” Nothing more, nothing less. Yet this newly invented contraption reads more like a sandwich than, say, a taco, burrito, or even shawarma on a pita.
The length may give it away: nearly 12 inches, with the meat and cheese oozing out the side. While the photo in the window shows slices of steak, the reality turns out to be mashed shards, looking like brisket beaten with a claw hammer. The flavor is bland in the extreme, with the exception of an overwhelming saltiness. Still, I ate nearly the whole thing before I came to conclusion that I wasn’t really eating anything at all, and gave up.
“Come and get it!”
The combined personification of the condiment, and suggestion of cannibalism, is rather weird, isn’t it?
My guess is that this sort of meta-offering — attributable to no cuisine, yet not brilliant enough to be termed a worthwhile culinary invention — will become more common in the future, as chains fight to capture the shrinking consumer dollar. The Triple Steak Stack isn’t even slightly Mexican. My guess is that it’s intended to compete with Subway, which blasts the airwaves 24 hours a day with their “Five dollar, five dollar footlong” commercials. Note that the Triple Steak Stack is about a foot long and costs $4.99. Fast-food aficionados thus don’t have to put up with all the roughage found in Subway products, and save a penny.
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