Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The All New Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos - - REVIEWED!

Finally, this otherwise worthless trifle we call “life” has meaning again…


Last spring, Taco Bell gave the Doritos Locos Taco -- a popular Southern California delicacy -- a national release. The outcome was a coast-to-coast phenomenon, with the item going on to become the fastest selling menu offering in the fast food chain’s history.

To commemorate the one-year anniversary of the highly popular hard-shell product, Taco Bell recently unveiled its spiritual “sequel” to the original Doritos Locos Taco - - the all new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco. Much rejoicing…and with it, corresponding bean sauce-stained pants…followed suit.

As a consumer, you may be asking yourself if an item of the like is truly necessary. I mean, it’s not like the product can taste that much unlike its predecessor, right? Well, talk of the like is clearly the Satanic prattle of commie sympathizers; it’s our divine right as Americans to have as many co-branded, probably-unhealthy fusion snack-fast-food abominations as financially feasible, and the only downside to the matter is that there aren’t more Doritos flavor-flavored tacos out there on the market place. If Benny Franklin were alive today, he’d probably be down at the local TB, two-fisting the new DLTs while singing the praises of modern capitalism. Well, that, or complaining about not being able to own slaves anymore, I guess.



The first thing you need to note about the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco is the packaging. As you can see here, the wrapper scheme is mostly white and blue, indicating a certain “cool” vibe that the marketers behind the item clearly wanted to communicate with would-be consumers.


Additionally of interest is the text printed on the wrappers. There are a lot of “in-your-face” messages scrawled on the packaging, sort of a throwback to the 1990s style of advertising that tried to threaten you into purchasing foodstuffs out of fear of getting your ass kicked. I especially dug all of the hash tags sprinkled liberally around the wrapper. Clearly, this new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco is intended to be something more than a lunch time purchase; it’s truly intended to be the first ever SOCIAL MEDIA TACO, a multimedia experience much more than a dining one. Based on advertising alone, the intent from Taco Bell is clear; you’re not just supposed to EAT the new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco, you’re supposed to TWEET the new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco. But, uh, I would probably still advise NOT taking a picture of yourself naked eating the new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco and uploading it to SnapChat, though.


I suppose that, in some ways, it can be considered environmentally unwise to wrap an already wrapped-in-cardboard foodstuff in a fairly needless second protective barrier, but I disagree, for the most part. The translucent wrapper “clues” you into the contents of the thing you already bought, with the cardboard Doritos Locos Taco holder shining underneath the translucent exterior packaging like an ethereal spirit. It gets you excited for not just a dining experience, but in some manifestations, a spiritual one, as well.


The cardboard taco holders are actually flip-sided, with one side - a dark blue hue - reminding you that you are eating a new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco, while the opposite side - this, a red hued one - informs you that the original Doritos Locos Taco is still available for purchase.

There isn’t much to say about the newfangled Cool Ranch wrapper, other than the fact that it a.) has the name of the product emblazoned upon it, b.) it is mostly azure in appearance, and c.) you can conveniently fit a taco inside it. Courageously artistic, this design choice may not be, but you really can’t fault the thing for it’s functionality, I suppose.


As before, the Bell has granted us two varieties of Doritos Locos Taco; for a smaller fee, you can acquire a standard Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco (pictured here), and for a couple of extra cents, you can obtain a “supreme” version, which in addition to shredded lettuce and cheese, also contains a fair amount of sour cream and diced tomatoes.


As you can see, there’s quite a bit of difference between the two products. What I found most perplexing, however, is that despite the additional contents of the supreme iteration, it’s still very much the same shell size as the standard DLT. It even fits in the same cardboard holder, in something of a minor affront to how physics work. I would probably advise chipping in the extra quarters for the supreme version, if you have to make a choice between the two; hey, a couple of really big tomato chunks are worth it, I say.


As for the shell itself? Unless you have the world’s least impressive Mutant Power, you probably won’t be able to distinguish one of the new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos from a standard taco, unless you are up close against the item and witness the gleaming Cool Ranch speckles that are lined around the top of the taco. Unlike the previous DLT, your hands don’t become as coated in junk food dust as soon as you touch one of the shells, so here’s to the R&D techies at Taco Bell University for remedying the absolute largest complaint anyone could have about the first wave Doritos Locos Taco.


Now, as for how the newfangled DLT tastes? I actually preferred this one quite a bit to the original model. As stated before, the fact that one’s hands don’t turn the same color as a sunburned Oompa Loompa by grazing the product is a major boon, and I think the subtler Cool Ranch taste is much preferable to the kinda’ blunt, super corn-chip taste of the DLT 1.0. As yummy as the product is, however, I was still a little disappointed by the general vibe of the product; yeah, you do get something of a Doritos taste when you bite into one, but beyond that? It’s just a standard taco, with all of the regular taco fix-ins. As a HUGE fan of the Loaded Grillers released earlier this year, I was anticipating a little more innovation from the almighty Bell, and while the new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco didn’t leave me unsatisfied to any large degree, I still would’ve liked to have seen TB take this gimmick to the next level. How about throwing in some Fritos-flavored croutons or any awesome, proprietary guacamole sauce next time around, guys?

That said, the stuff, as expected, is pretty edible, filling, and worth at least one taste-test. Will the Cool Ranch new breed set the world afire the same way the first round of Doritos Locos Tacos did? Eh, probably not, but if you have a hankering for something grossly-tantalizing at 2 in the morning, it’s an ever-present option, I suppose…

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