Monday, January 25, 2016

Taco Bell's EVEN NEWER Crunchwrap Sliders!

I hope you like semi-spicy, junk-food-laden Hot Pockets variations with contents that resemble vomit!

By: Jimbo X

Even when Taco Bell isn't that great, it's still fairly enjoyable. Granted, the products have a tendency to run together due to their textural and mouthfeel similarities - if you told me to describe the difference between a Sriracha Quesarito and a Daredevil Loaded Griller (any of those motherfuckers), I don't think I could - but who cares if everything on the menu is fairly indistinguishable? What matters is that the Bell, even at their lowest level, is still affordable, filling and gustatorily satisfying enough to warrant indiscriminate nom after indiscriminate nom. Their almost-monthly product variations may not be getting any points for originality, but they score plenty of points when it comes to consistency

When I first started working on this article, I totally forgot that I had already covered the first wave of Crunchwrap Sliders last year. As such, I assumed that I was ordering four all-new products, but in reality, just two of the Sliders you can pick up at the Bell in early 2016 are original items. So if you are wondering about the quality of the two returning offerings - which are modeled after breastaurant sampler menu favorites, thematically - do yourself a favor and click this link right ' chere.

The Sliders themselves are pretty interesting little menu offerings. They aren't quite burritos, but you can't really call them tostados, either. Instead, they remain in this weird fast food interphase, as if a quesadilla and an enchilada were locked inside the teleportation machine from The Fly. That they come in paper pouches more befitting bread sticks just adds to their offbeat uniqueness. 

Aesthetically, they ain't much to look at. They are just slightly toasted tortillas wrapped up in a pseudo-pentagon shape, with a whole bunch of weird shit sealed inside them. They are fairly bulky, though, and their misshapen forms - you ever try to wrap up chunks of chicken and Frito's without the end outcome looking bumpy? - give the Sliders a certain eccentric charm. 

As far as our new dining options are concerned, we've got two new items to chew on. First, let's take a gander at the Sriracha Chicken Crunchwrap Slider, why don't we?

You know, it is a good thing these products are wrapped up tight, because if anyone saw the internalized contents displayed all open-face-like, dry heaving would probably ensue. Make no mistake, this stuff is uglier than homemade soap; the blend of puréed chicken, corn chip fragments and neon orange sauce looks less like something you would eat than something someone has already digested and barfed right back up.

Alas, if you can overlook the fact the product looks like ginger sauce-soaked cat food dumped inside a tortilla, you'll discover a fairly enjoyable fast food offering that is actually quite a bit spicier than most Taco Bell selections. The chicken is a little watery and the Fritos really don't add much at all to the formula, but the sweet chili flavor definitely makes everything come together. It is an odd mishmash of  textures and shapes, to be sure, but all in all, it is not a bad little novelty burrito. 

So there is already a Beefy Cheesy Nacho Slider out there, but the SPICY BEEFY NACHO CRUNCHWRAP SLIDER ups the ante by, uh, making it spicy? Yes, yes it does, indeed. And not unlike its Sriracha Chicken cousin, this thing looks all sorts of disgusting inside the tortilla. Shit, I'm half-tempted to post an up close photo of an open sore or my latest bowel movement; I highly doubt anyone would be able to distinguish them from the utter grossness of what the foodstuff actually resembles. 

Fortunately, although the product may look like diarrhea spray squirted all over a soft taco shell, the product itself is pretty yummy. This is definitely one of the spiciest Taco Bell products to come out in a long time, with the molten-cheese-soaked beef and Fritos chunks doused in a savory, smoky, Jalapeño ranch dressing that I am pretty sure the company has never trotted out before. Sure, it is no Lava Sauce, but it definitely does the trick. Overall, this thing may be nothing more than just a slight tweaking of a pre-existing product, but hey; at least it is one hell of a re-tweaking, no? 

OK, so these newfangled Crunchwrap Sliders aren't exactly going to set the fast food world on fire. Yes, they are rather formulaic and hardly adventurous remixes, but when the end product is so sinfully delicious, who cares? Simply put, the two newest Sliders - despite looking like rolled up barf - are really, really tasty, and at just one dollar a pop, you can scarf down enough of them to give you gastrointestinal regret for less than it costs to buy a decent spiral-bound notebook. It's classic Bell, through and through; familiar, affordable, aesthetically revolting, probably unhealthy as hell and unquestionably delicious. 

When it comes to drive-thru dining, looks and originality are both vastly overrated. While other fast food giants try to church up their line-up with pretentious, overpriced "premium" offerings, the Bell continues to excel in economical, on-the-go nomming, with these latest Sliders demonstrative of the franchise's formulaic greatness. They may not be the prettiest or most creative foodstuffs out there, but ultimately? I reckon I'll vouch for such satisfying, cost-effective sameness over pricey, ostentatious "innovation" any day of the week.


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