Taco Bell's Cantina Menu

Taco Bell's Cantina Menu

Taco Bell came out with a new line of burritos and bowls created by Lorena Garcia, and it’s called Cantina Bell. For those unfamiliar with Lorena Garcia, she’s going to be on the next season of Top Chef Masters. I think if she met Marcus Samuelson, the winner from season 2, the conversation would go like this: Lorena: I feel good about my chances to win. Marcus: Winning feels good. But now people are jealous of my dapper hats and Eddie Huang shits on my restaurant and its cultural implications. Lorena: Americans only know me from Taco Bell’s new Cantina menu. I should be safe, right? Marcus: Well, if you want street cred, you need to open a taco shop with dudes in Brooklyn who have Santa Clause beards or try to get Hannah Horvath to appear shirtless with it on Girls. Lorena: Jesus, what do you do with your free time? Marcus: Don’t judge me Lorena. You’re taking home that Taco Bell money.

But seriously, this Taco Bell Cantina Bell Burrito is better than you think. You can indeed put lipstick on a pig and they proved that with this new line of products.

The obvious comparison between Cantina Bell and Chipotle/Qdoba should be dropped. While you’re getting a better-than-normal product when you compare it to what Taco Bell traditionally offers, it’s still not as refined as the other two upscale fast food establishments. For fans who want to ‘Live mas’, not all is lost. For one, the Catina Bell Burrito is more correctly portioned for an America that wants to reduce its obesity problem. The steak burrito is long enough, but it is flat and lacks girth (that’s what she said). They sear it on the outside like a panini. I’m not sure what the point is to press a burrito, but browning = Maillard reaction = more flavors? I don’t know if that works on flour tortillas.

Two things that a normal American without taste buds would notice about the new Taco Bell Catina burrito. One, the corn really pops like an unfortunate muffin top in a sweaty C train. But the corn is actually a nice touch. Two, there is fucking limp lettuce in the burrito. Can I get some lettuce Viagra up in this mofo? Or just take it out completely? What is lettuce doing in a burrito? Paging Lorena. Do you think Curtis Stone likes limp lettuce?! Did you see how harshly he graded those chumps on Around the World in 80 Plates? Of course you didn’t. No one did. Who the fuck watches that show? But let me tell you, Curtis likes his grains steamed and then baked.

Ah, then we come to the steak! Obviously anytime you have a steak burrito, you have to examine the steak. Here is where the Taco Bell Cantina Bell shines. This actually looks and taste like meat. I was surprised! I’m going to go out on a limb and say this came from a cow and was above grade E. Just a guess. Lorena did good here by everyone. Of course this meat was soft and if you’re mostly eating regular tacos from Taco Bell, you’ll know that identifiable protein is an upgrade.

You might wonder, how much does this glorious Cantina Bell burrito would cost. It’s $6 bucks and with tax, it was $6.50 here in NYC. Obviously sales tax varies depending on location. Taco Bell probably doesn’t discount their burritos the way Chipotle does. But it’s still a good value if you want to save a couple of dollars against Chipotle or Qdoba.

I don’t think Taco Bell is going to capture any market away from its competitors anytime soon though. Mostly if you go to Taco Bell, you’re looking for something in particular. Either you like the price or you know it’s good drunk food. The problem with Chipotle or Qdoba is that during lunch, the lines are insane. Those folks aren’t going to be like, “Oh shit, the line is too damn long at Chipotle, let me go to Taco Bell.” It just doesn’t work like that. On top of which, it’s not like these competitors are usually located close to each other. I think Cantina Bell is good enough for those who are trapped from better food options because it’s some of the more edible products on the Taco Bell menu. As edible as it is, it ain’t gonna rock your world though.

Posted by Danny on July 20, 2012 at 7:05 pm

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