Taco Bell's new sauces take the "urrrr" out of "Fourthmeal"
Who needs mild when you have fire-roasted and verde?
Taco Bell's menu has changed over the years. There was once a Zesty Chicken Border Bowl, the bright spot on a menu that was otherwise cheap, greasy, sloppy, over-seasoned, and about as tasty as tongue-plundering a piece of newspaper from the floor of a dog kennel.
Taco Bell no longer has a Zesty Chicken Border Bowl -- but it has new sauces, which display an enterprising (and unexpected) sense of creative ingenuity. In addition to the previous selection of mild, hot and fire sauces, Taco Bell has added fire-roasted salsa and salsa verde to the condiment packet pantheon.
My tasting notes are as follows:
The fire-roasted salsa has a medium mouthfeel, and is the color of old bricks flecked with what I thought were black fire-roasted flecks of tomato, but detailed examination showed the bits to possibly be rehydrated oregano. The aroma has top notes of ketchup and base notes of cigarette butts, and the taste that begins on the palate as canned tomato sauce with a hint of wet leaves finishes as garlic and exhaust fumes.
The salsa verde has a lighter viscosity, and is the color of angry snot with a fine sprinkling of minuscule tomatillo seeds (or possibly bird feed) and a bit of that suspicious black oregano substance. The aroma has top notes of vinegar, with base notes of rusty lime skins and vinegar, and the taste starts out on the palate as vinegar, but slowly leads into a sugary green bell pepper/moist, fetid onion finish.
So how do they stack up against the traditional trio of red sauces? They have different colors as well as extra little chunks of things, and they come in super-awesome green and red packets. But otherwise, the new sauces are consistent with the quality and flavor profile that Taco Bell's clientele have come to expect, and at least those loyal drunk/stoned/poor/tweenage/manic depressive/desperate customers have two other options when the stores they eat at run out of mild sauce...again...urrrr....
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.