Cafe Reviews

Taco Bell's New Cantina Tacos (Based Upon Mexican Street Tacos) Should Be Put Back on the Street and Run Over Repeatedly

You'd think after their recent salmonella poisoning incident, Taco Bell would be more careful about what they tell us to put in our mouths. Not so.

The company that claims it has always considered itself Mexican-inspired (hey, we use the word "tacos" and have neato, adobe-style restaurant facades. Olé!) recently crammed its new Cantina Tacos into the nation's fast-food gullet. The line of supposed Mexican-style tacos features three varieties at about a buck-fifty each: the Premium Fire-Grilled Chicken, Premium Cut Carne Asada Steak, and Carnitas Shredded Pork.

"Our Cantina Tacos are based upon authentic-style Mexican street tacos," said David Ovens, chief marketing officer of Taco Bell Corporation.

Oh, they're based upon the street, all right. The tortillas were cardboard-like enough to convince this Fry Girl they'd been lying on it for quite some time. Then there were the innards...

Was it medicine? The left-behind bitter mucus of the rascally Taco Bug? Did Mr. Tibbles yack up a hair ball on the Taco Bell assembly line? Let's just say it would be a good idea to stay as far away from the Carnitas Shredded Pork taco as possible. Consume at your own risk, and don't open it up if you want a fighting chance of keeping it down.

The Premium Fire-Grilled Chicken and Premium Cut Carne Asada Steak Cantina tacos with onions and cilantro sure sounded good. Too bad I was unable to taste anything, thanks (again) to the choking-dry tortillas. Even when I taste-tested each filling on its own, the meat was flavorless, the cilantro was a visual prop only, and the onions were barely there.

Mexican street tacos, my ass. Restaurant quality? No way. If Taco Bell were self-aware enough (Bong! Think outside your ego!), it would stay away from trying to be "authentic" and stick with its more American take on Mexican cuisine. And with the hundreds of good, cheap Mexican food joints in the Valley, this Fry Girl likes her options for street tacos that don't taste like concrete.

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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld