- Taco Bell is one of the many fast-food chains that supposedly has a secret menu – a list of items online that customers can order with substitutions or changes to the chain’s standard menu.
- I tried to order eight items from the secret menu but ended up getting only around four.
- The Taco Bell Cantina location I went to didn’t have many of the ingredients, and the cashier didn’t know what I was talking about at all. I had to order each item by describing its ingredients, and I still didn’t get what I wanted.
- I taste-tested the items I managed to get, but everything kind of tasted the same because Taco Bell’s menu is essentially slight variations on the same five ingredients. Still, everything still tasted pretty good.
- I definitely wouldn’t try to order from the secret menu at Taco Bell again, although I might break that rule for the Enchirito because it’s such a legend.
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Taco Bell’s secret menu is the stuff of urban legend.
It’s where college kids and intrepid midnight munchers can order the Tex-Mex chimeras of their dreams. It’s also where discontinued fan favourites live on eternally in secrets whispered over the counter or through the drive-thru window.
As the cold winds begin to descend upon New York City, I decided to brave the elements in search of Taco Bell truth. I headed to the nearest Taco Bell, which is a Cantina location. That may have been my first mistake.
I tried to order everything off of Taco Bell’s secret menu, including the “Cheesarito”, the Enchirito, the Superman, the chilli cheese burrito, the Hulk, the Incredible Hulk, a double-grilled quesadilla, and verde sauce.
But like most self-proclaimed ghost hunters and monster trackers, I came up mostly empty-handed. Here’s how it went:
I was foiled from the get-go. I was told that this restaurant didn’t have the ingredients for the Cheesarito or the Chilli Cheese Burrito, and it didn’t have verde sauce, although it had spicy ranch.
I tried to order an Enchirito by describing it: a burrito with cheese, beef, and beans, topped with red sauce and more cheese. I got enchilada nachos. While I have nothing against nachos, this was certainly the most disappointing failure.
Another problem I immediately encountered was that none of the burrito-based items were distinct from the outside.
They just all looked the same.
So I selected one at random and dug in.
This was one of the two smaller burritos. It was lightweight and squishy. My guess was that it was the Hulk, which is a bean and cheese burrito with guac.
And indeed it was. Inside this tiny tube was beans, cheese, guacamole, and a bit of sour cream. It was tasty, yet mild.
The contents were all mushy and pleasant. The guac flavour didn’t really come through, though, and this was more of a bespectacled Bruce Banner than a raging Hulk.
Next up: small mystery burrito number two. This was either the Superman or the Incredible Hulk.
I’d thought both would be larger burritos, so not only was I confused, but I was also disappointed.
At first bite, this tasted exactly the same as the last burrito. I checked my receipt to make sure they hadn’t made a mistake. They hadn’t. This was the Incredible Hulk, a 5-layer burrito with guac instead of nacho cheese.
I gotta say, I didn’t taste the beef. The only distinguishable differences between the Hulk and the Incredible Hulk are the latter’s addition of onions and taco sauce. Otherwise, one can see why the names are so similar.
Next, I decided to try the double-grilled quesadilla before it got soft. The idea behind a double-grilled quesadilla is that the extra grilling time makes it crispy and delicious.
Alas, this quesadilla looked and felt single-grilled-squishy.
I’m not sure if the crisp was always a lie, or if the Taco Bell had simply single-grilled my quesadilla, but there was no crisp. There was just melted cheese and sad, sad chicken chunks.
I dipped my slice in the spicy ranch to see if it would taste better that way. The spicy ranch added a nice creamy kick and tempered my disappointment.
Finally, it was time for the biggest burrito, which, by process of elimination, I figured was the Superman.
The Superman is usually made with a cheesy double beef burrito and potatoes, sour cream, guac, and tortilla strips.
Apparently, the double beef burrito no longer exists, so I was given a burrito supreme with… some of the things I’d asked for.
I could taste the potato in the first bite, but the potato was quite dry. I wasn’t sure what value it added to the burrito other than volume.
This one overall felt more balanced than the others, but it also had lettuce and tomato. I wondered why they couldn’t have just made me a cheesy double beef burrito, seeing as it’s just tortilla, beef, cheese, and rice — all ingredients that were available.
OK, so I failed to buy an Enchirito, What I got instead were nachos. I was more than a little salty, but the nachos were pretty good.
Plus, I felt like I’d actually discovered a secret menu item.
By substituting beef for chicken in a chicken enchilada nacho box, I’d created a tasty new off-menu treat: the beef enchilada nacho box. I was surprised it didn’t already exist.
At the end of my meal, I found myself frustrated but full. I mean, everything tasted good. It just wasn’t quite the secret menu experience I had expected.
And everything I’d ordered had pretty much tasted the same. Taco Bell’s normal menu already recycles the same 5 ingredients in different combinations. These secret menu items, or at least what made it onto my table, were no more interesting.
I’d even taken the time to spell out my order ingredient-by-ingredient. Yet in the understandable confusion, they’d still gotten so much wrong. Was it even worth the effort?
I’d say it was not. I’d just as soon get any old item off of Taco Bell’s regular menu and modify it to my liking than try to make things more complicated than they need to be. Except the Enchirito. I still badly want to try an Enchirito, but for now, it’s my white whale.
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