The cheaper of the two is the one to get.
In an amazing act of cross-branding, Taco Bell has painted its hard taco shell bright orange with a chemical-tasting spice mixture — and called it a Doritos. Or maybe what’s amazing is that they didn’t think of it before — from 1978 to 1997, PepsiCo (the corporate parent of Frito-Lay) owned Taco Bell, and several other fast-food franchises, as well.
In the more expensive version, the tomatoes are a nice addition, but the taste and texture of the crema is terrible.
Doritos are a product of the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo. The salty snack was invented sometime in the 1960s, a thin triangular corn chip fried to crispness. The product is reminiscent of the tortilla chips used to dip guacamole, which also underpin nachos and are stirred with salsa to make chilaquiles.
My father, Jacob Sietsema, had an important hand in inventing some of the earliest Doritos flavors, including Nacho Cheese, which is the one being used in the Taco Bell taco shell. Of the original Doritos, he once told me, “Doritos were invented for Northerners. The Frito-Lay company’s most important product at the time was Fritos, a corn chip with a very strong flavor. The company reasoned that consumers up north preferred something more bland and mild.”
So it was with a strong sense of the Doritos’ history that I bought my first Taco Bell Doritos taco, which sports the slogan, “My taco is a Doritos.” Actually I bought two: a pared-down version containing only spiced ground beef, iceberg lettuce, and curls of yellow cheese ($1.29), and a more opulent rendition that adds crema and chopped tomatoes ($1.69).
Grab a handful — you’re going to need ’em. (Too bad they come in these ridiculous and wasteful tiny individual packets.)
The tacos come in a special cardboard sleeve emblazoned with the Doritos logo that aids in keeping the shell intact until you’re ready to eat it. The taco shell was of the usual dimensions, but a rather alarming shade of orange. While I was skeptical that the shell could actually “be” a Doritos in the existential sense of being exactly the same thing, it turned out that yes, the shell is a Doritos.
While I’m not fond of eating Doritos on their own, in the context of the unspeakably bland Taco Bell taco the extra flavor kick of the snack chip was entirely welcome. Yes, believe it or not, I actually liked the taco representing the cheaper of the two price options.
I didn’t like the more expensive Taco Supreme version. The crema, which the website describes as “cool reduced fat sour cream,” has a texture and flavor somewhere between face cream and Elmer’s Glue. The tomatoes are welcome, though they may have been gassed to produce such a vivid red color.
So, when I’m sure no one is looking, I’m sneaking back into the Union Square Taco Bell and getting a couple of those $1.29 Taco Bell Doritos tacos.
Gee, this picture makes it look awfully big. Hand model must have a very small hand, or … Photoshopped?
See the totality of Fast-Food Report Cards here.