Sunday, July 28, 2019

I Tried Burger King’s Crispy Taco …

… and I didn’t hate it. That much.

By: Jimbo X

Burger King’s Crispy Taco is what we in the fast food industry call “a stealth launch.” There was no hullaballoo, no hype, no pre-fab fanfare. They literally just started selling the shit one day, and caught us all off-guard, seemingly, just for the LULZ. 

Now I am almost CERTAIN that BK has sold tacos in the past, and the immediate past at that. Or maybe I’m confusing it with the Whopperito, which I’m pretty sure you totally forgot was a thing until I just reminded you. Regardless, the almost subversively-blandly- titled “Crispy Taco” nonetheless made quite the impact when it came virtually out of nowhere earlier this summer, and for the most part, the publicity … well, it wasn’t exactly overwhelmingly positive.

Sure, sure, there are SOME positive reviews of the product out there, but by and large, the Crispy Taco appears to be about as popular with contemporary society as a nice batch of herpes on your upper lip. 

And some white guy who looks like Bubba Ray from The Dudley Boys who has blue checkmark on Twitter for some reason said it was “the worst fast food item” he’s ever eaten, and considering he’s pretty fat, I’m assuming that covers a pretty wide swath of fast food items.

OK, OK, so we all knew the BK Crispy Taco wasn’t going to be gourmet cuisine going into it. I get that. But is it really AS BAD as some people on the Internet would have you believe? Well, I decided to give the $1 menu item the old test taste treatment, and here’s the OFFICIAL IIIA party line on the matter.

There's about four or five things I'd think this is before I successfully guessed "taco."

First things first, the Crispy Taco I received from Taco Bell was neither crispy nor a “taco,” in the strict interpretationist sense. The shell they gave me was like some sort of transitional state between soft-shell and hard-shell, this taco mulatto that had no proper home on either side of the tortilla battle lines. Furthermore, the taco wasn’t an open systems like we’re used to, but more like a giant Mexican-style Wonton dumpling. Basically, the product looked like somebody stuck a meatball in an envelope and licked that sumbitch shut, which not only is the most accurate way to describe its aesthetics, but pretty much the only way to literarily get the point across.

I’ve heard some people compare the taco to the ones sold at Jack in the Box, but I’ve never actually ate at one of those establishments before, so like fuck I know how it compares to BK’s product. I will say, however, that the overall texture reminded me a lot more Del Taco than Taco Bell, although the holistic item genuinely felt more like a soggy piece of crab rangoon than any pseudo-Tex-Mex fast food I’ve ever eaten before.

As for the interior, well … you’re getting what you pay for here. You’ve got a small bulge of ground beef (which I think is just regular Whopper meat, only sopping wet with artificial chili seasonings), some goopy refried bean paste, a couple of chunks of cut-up lettuce, some half-hearted shredded cheddar and this water, moderately spicy taco sauce haphazardly sprinkled over everything. All in all, this has to be the most elementary school cafeteria, circa 1993-looking fast food product I’ve seen in a LONG time. This taco, simply put, looks like something from a different realm, an entirely different point in the space-time continuum itself. Aesthetically, it just plain doesn’t look like it should co-exist in the same universe as Burger King, let alone be the anchor point of a multi-million dollar marketing ploy in the year 2019.

Del Taco, as directed by David Cronenberg.

But as fugly as the taco is, at the end of the day, I suppose the only thing that really matters is what it tastes like and — at least partially surprising — the BK Crispy Taco isn’t as bad as it appears. That’s not to say it’s good by any stretch, but you’ve certainly had worse tacos in your life, for sure — although, off the top of my head, I can’t really think of a worse fast food taco I’ve had elsewhere in my lifetime. I mean, I’ve certain had WORSE tacos at gas stations before, and I’m pretty sure I went to at least one or two friends’ houses back in my youth whose mamas didn’t know how to brown beef worth a fuck, so don’t let my statements come off as too much of a backhanded compliment here.

Ultimately, the BK Crispy Taco is one of those instant nostalgia offerings that just plain doesn’t appeal to the zeitgeist. There really wasn’t a large contingent out there clamoring for Burger King tacos the same way there are folks, for example, demanding the resurrection of the Taco Bell Beefer, or the Pizza Hut Priazzo pies, and the whole thing just comes off as forced and half-assed. It’s almost like BK’s “stealth” launch of the item was a veiled admission of its conceptual failure, where the suits knew they had to earn at least SOME of their money back even though the whole thing was about as well thought-out as a slumber party at Jeffrey Epstein’s house. Really, next to the revamped Yumbo from a few years back, I can’t recall a modern Burger King item that took a shit and fell on its face (figuratively, of course) as much as this one. And considering Burger King spent millions of dollars trying to sell us a hamburger whose SOLE marketing hook was that it looked like Swamp Thing’s ballsack and would give you nightmares FOR REAL just a few months ago, that’s probably saying something.

Prepare to kiss the mouth of hell ... with extra refried bean paste.

But, again, it’s summertime ephemera, and I’ll never bitch and bellyache about that too much. If the BK Crispy Tacos were released at any other time of the year, I’d probably be a lot more caustic in my criticism of the product. But since they launched these things in the middle of summer — where there’s nothing on TV and the only real sports attraction going on is boring ass baseball — I actually kinda’ welcome the inherent pointlessness and triviality of the product as somewhat refreshing. I mean, shit, here we are barely a month removed from when the item was launched nationwide and people have already forgotten it was a thing. Considering how fast the mass media/mass consumerism vacuum pumps itself nowadays, by the time October rolls around our collective cultural reminiscences of the product will be about as vague as the Burger King hot dogs from a few years back (you DO remember those, don’t you?)

So, all that to say, the BK Crispy Tacos are mediocre, but the best kind of mediocre — the kind of mediocre that gives you a mild diversion from the inherent inertia of the summertime doldrums, that has just enough of a WTF-factor to it to justify spending a dollar and some change to experience it just for the hell of it. So if you haven’t gotten around to trying it yet and you have even the slightest, teensiest bit of curiousity about the product, I’d recommend high-tailing it to Burger King and throwing your debit card at the cashier pronto; I mean, it’s only a matter of time until this thing becomes nothing more than another fleeting memory, forever lost somewhere amidst our communal recollections of the Mueller Report and that FaceApp feature that made you look like an old fucker.


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