Inside Scoop – My colleagues at the Gate thought it would be fun for me to climb off the pedestal of high-end dining to review Taco Bell’s Naked Chicken Chalupa, introduced nationwide today.
What they didn’t know is that my pedestal isn’t all that high. I’ve mentioned previously that I loved Popeye’s fried chicken, and I also have an occasional hankering for Taco Bell tacos. Say what you will but you can’t beat the crunch of the shell, the coolness of the lettuce and the warmth and spice of the meat.
So I was actually looking forward to January 26 and showed up early at the Taco Bell Cantina at 3rd and Townsend to try this seemingly over-the-top invention, where a patty of marinated, hormone free (according to the company) white meat is breaded, shaped into a taco and fried. It’s then filled with avocado ranch dressing, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. The company says it’s $2.99, but at the Cantina it was $3.59 (hey, it’s San Francisco) and rang in at 440 calories.
It was clear the staff was still in the learning mode when I stepped to the counter. Three people were gathered around as one layered on the ingredients for the customer before me. After all, it was the first day.
On my first bite I tasted oil and wished the spicy coating had been a little crisper; on the second bite I didn’t care, and by the time I had polished it off I loved it. The tomatoes could have been a little riper, but when mixed with the hot shell, the crisp lettuce and the creamy dressing, it didn’t matter. I ordered a second one, just to be sure. Yep. I still loved it.
As I walked the mile back to the office, the buzz of the spices stayed with me almost the entire way. I’m glad the developers didn’t tone down the heat or sweeten up the ingredients to meet the lowest common denominator palate.
Hey, what’s good is good. No need to apologize.
If this chalupa had been served with a Manhattan at Comstock Saloon or an Anchor Steam beer at the nearby ballpark—even with a $10 or $12 price tag— it would be a sell out.
Image Source: tacobell.com