One year ago, Donald Trump sent a now-infamous Cinco de Mayo tweet.
“Happy #CincoDeMayo!” the tweet read. “The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!”
There is a lot to unpack here.
We could start with a history lesson on Cinco de Mayo, which is a Mexican holiday, not one celebrated by all Hispanics. Or, we could dig into Trump’s relationship with Hispanics and his plan to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
However, as food reporters, we will stick with what we know best — the food.
Last December, we ventured to Trump Grill — or Grille, as it’s spelled on some of the restaurant’s signage — to try its taco bowl, along with other items on the Trump Tower restaurant’s menu.
The first thing that we noticed was the price. This casual Tex-Mex classic seemed out of place in the gilt-laden grill. However, the price matched the over-wrought glitz — at $US18 it was the most expensive taco bowl either of us had ever witnessed. Today — five months and one new president later — the price has raised to $US19.
For the “best” taco bowl, we would be willing to pay the big bucks. So, we ventured on.
On first chomp, it seemed that Trump’s tweet may have held some truth. The crunchy bowl seemed to have come fresh from the deep fryer, pleasantly warm and crisp.
However, inside, things were more pedestrian. The Trump Grill taco bowl contains ground beef, pico de gallo salsa, guacamole, iceberg lettuce, sour cream, and cheddar.
A taste of each ingredient within chipped away at our golden first impression. The guac was bland and goopy. The pico de gallo only served to make the bowl soggy, instead of adding some much needed pep. The ground beef was tolerable, but underseasoned. The cheese was straight from the bag — classic shredded cheddar. And iceberg lettuce? Even most fast-food chains have ditched that watery mistake. Sad!
The taco bowl perfectly epitomized the problem we found with most of the items on the menu at Trump Grill. The level of quality promised by the elevated prices and the aristocratic atmosphere — not to mention Trump’s own rave reviews — simply did not match the actual quality of the food.
For $US18, we wanted something fresh and exciting. Instead, we got bamboozled into paying more than twice as much for something that Qdoba does better.
Was it terrible? No. It was passable at best, mediocre at worst. But, one thing is for certain: it was not the “best.”
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