Prepare to be satisfied, not wowed, by Taco Bell’s Flamin’ Hot Doritos Locos Tacos

Illustration for article titled Prepare to be satisfied, not wowed, by Taco Bell’s Flamin’ Hot Doritos Locos Tacos
Photo: Allison Robicelli

A few weeks ago I—The Takeout’s Chief Officer of Bad Decisions—was planning to head to Taco Bell to review the brand-new Triplelupa, three miniature Chalupas baked together to become a superlupa. But then everything went sideways and I’ve been sitting at home for five weeks subsisting on a diet of mostly cheese and ice cream sandwiches to keep my body in fighting shape. Now that Taco Bell has released its highly anticipated new Flamin’ Hot Doritos Locos Tacos, however, I decided it was high time to hop in my car, hit up the drive-thru, and continue researching the never-ending innovations of the fast food industry.

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I began my parking lot dining experience with the Flamin’ Hot Doritos Locos Tacos because, as has long been established by the restaurant chain’s combo menu, tacos are an appetizer in Taco Bell world. It was quite good! It’s not something that should compel you to put on a hazmat suit and speed to your nearest drive-thru, but if you’re already planning on picking up fast food tacos, I’d recommend ordering this one. That’s higher praise than you might think. I’m used to being underwhelmed when any fast food establishment markets a product as “spicy,” but the Flamin’ Hot shell did have a noticeable kick to it: nothing that would have you reaching for the nearest glass of milk, but enough of a burn to make this taco a little more pleasurable than a classic crunchy taco. It loses points for being inferior to Taco Bell’s discontinued and beloved Volcano Taco, but it’s still damn tasty. It earns an A-, because it’s a solid spin on an indisputable fast food classic.

Illustration for article titled Prepare to be satisfied, not wowed, by Taco Bell’s Flamin’ Hot Doritos Locos Tacos
Photo: Allison Robicelli
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As for the Triplelupa, I found myself—you guessed it—underwhelmed. Part of me thinks this is because I’ve known about it for a month, and while I haven’t exactly been sitting at home daydreaming about it, the anticipation of getting to taste it has been steadily mounting. But as you can plainly see in the photo above, this is not a food meant to be eaten in a car. This item has been advertised as something you can share with your friends; when it is eaten alone in a Kia Soul, it tastes like loneliness. The chalupa shell was at once floppy and chewy, like the crust of a convenience store pizza, and while regular single chalupas often suffer from this problem, the individually cooked ones have a greater chance of being flaky and crispy on the outside. The filling had that classic Taco Bell meat taste we all know and love, but because the Triplelupa was designed for a dine-in experience (or at least intended to be consumed on a solid surface), about a third of that filling is now on my clothing. My cats were very happy about this when I came home, so they have given the Triplelupa very high marks. I, on the other hand, give it a C. Stick to a regular chalupa, which will give you the same flavor experience without the need to fish iceberg lettuce out of your cleavage.

Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, author of three books, and The People's Hot Pocket Princess. Questions about recipes/need cooking advice? Tweet @Robicellis.

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A few weeks ago I—The Takeout’s Chief Officer of Bad Decisions...

Off-topic, but Bad Decisions was a great bar in downtown Baltimore that closed a few years ago. Did you ever chance to visit? They were well-known for bacon. I was sad they went away for seemingly no good reason, especially after having been one of Esquire’s 50 best bars in America.