Taco Bell has been an integral block of my food pyramid for almost two decades. Here is where things get a little odd though -- rarely do I stray from the regular. In the beginning the order was always the same -- three Soft Taco Supremes and three regular crunchy tacos -- with an occasional Grilled Stuft Burrito with beef. Boring but always delivered.

The specialty items never appealed to my palate. I'm not a volcano menu guy because I prefer not to sweat during my meals, Cantina Bowls sound like something I'd puke in at a Cinco De Mayo party and the thought of getting Taco Bell for breakfast doesn't appeal to my appetite nor my desire to look like a rational adult. Seriously, if you're hitting Taco Bell for breakfast you either hate your body or are passing Taco Bell on a "walk of shame," and want to put a greasy cherry on your self-hatred sundae.

Doritos Locos Tacos were the first specialty item by the 'Run For the Border' banditos that actually piqued my curiosity. I love Doritos. I love tacos. I love warm underwear. That's got nothing to do with tacos I just couldn't stop professing my love. I love Doritos Locos Tacos, and after ten in one sitting I love the option of wearing sweatpants to work. I knew it was only a matter of time before Cool Ranch joined the fracas. When the day finally arrived, I dragged my friends Jackie and Nick to Taco Bell for a little Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos feast. The word "dragged" might be an exaggeration since both had their coats on before I finished my idea.

The Taco Bell location closest to our office isn't quite the typical Taco Bell experience. It's branded an Express because it's hidden in the back of a deli. The sign out front says Taco Bell, but one step inside will confuse anyone. "Isn't this a Taco Bell? Why is there a deli counter? Is that a Cornish hen? What did I smoke today?" This run for the border involves a quick sprint past Kosher meats.

Deep in the back of the deli, if you make it far enough without turning back at the door thinking you've officially lost your mind, is the Taco Bell counter. It's never usually too busy, even for New York. Yesterday, it was bumping son!

Taco Bell Visit

The line moved quickly. I tried to get an idea of how many people were there just for Cool Ranch tacos but it's not really polite or even a good idea to eavesdrop while people order their lunch. It's probably worse than actively listening to a person talk on their cell phone, which I only do every single time someone is near me on a cell phone. I wanted to take a vote, but it's a small place and I'd forgotten a privacy curtain for the voting booth. Actually, the curtain was currently being used as pants since I'd forgotten my sweats at home.

"Ok, who should carry the bag?" I asked Nick and Jackie on our way out of the Taco Deli. "We might get mugged for this stuff."

"I'll hold it" Nick offered, but I'd seen one too many cartoons where the crook offers to hold the loot and then makes off with it, and yes I just compared him to Daffy Duck.

I held the bag tightly until we were safely in the office. The loot was divided into our orders -- two for Nick, two for Jackie, three for me and one extra for all of us to fight over Gladiator style.

It was quiet for roughly twenty minutes while we ate in our cubicles, the crunching of our mouths occasionally drowning out the 24-hour toga party going on in the sales office.

"We're going to have to review these for the website," I said, but like, with a mouthful of tacos so it sounded like "weregownahaftareveredeeseforvawepseyetit."

And now those reviews:


Much like the original Doritos Locos Tacos, the Cool Ranch flavor is subtle, and does not overpower the other ingredients. You'll know it's there, but you wouldn't use the word "Extreme" to describe it (but really, would anyone still use that word to describe food in 2013?) The differences lies in the taste; the tangy bite of Cool Ranch Doritos reminds us so much of middle school that we feel naked without our Jncos, and so there's no mistaking it for any other flavor. You can also tell they're the real deal because of the rainbow colored "flavor dust" on the shell of your taco. My second one was cold, because "I eat slow" which Chris thinks is "very funny," but no one was laughing when I was still eating tacos and they were already missing them. My only complaint: The tacos did not come in the advertised paper shells that look like Dorito bags. When I eat a disgusting  taco with a junk food shell, I want full disclosure.


I was more excited than anyone to get a taste of those Cool Ranch tacos, hurrying my coworkers along to the shady Taco Bell in the back of a Midtown deli, but I was ultimately underwhelmed by the experience as a whole. I don't know what I was expecting, really. They needed more…what's it called? … "Cool Ranch" as Chris called it? As a lazy SOB when it comes to food, I need instant satisfaction with little-to-no effort, and these new Taco Bell creations skimped on that famous Doritos flavor, leaving bare patches of Dorito shell un-smothered with ranch. Plus, as with the original Doritos Locos, the shell turns mushy if you don't scarf it down by the five minute mark. I guess they still have yet to master the Doritos Locos technology. Maybe they can get Chef Lorena Garcia to spearhead development.


The Cool Ranch Locos Tacos are just what you'd imagine -- Cool Ranch chips with taco meat but the actual Cool Ranch flavor seems a bit muted. After each taco I found myself thinking "there isn't enough Cool Ranch" taste but perhaps it's for the best. The Cool Ranch would probably overpower the rest of the taco. Maybe the taste-makers at Taco Bell know better than the guy who claims "everything tastes better with ham." I'd give the Cool Ranch Locos Tacos the slight edge over the original Doritos Locos Tacos. After three I was ready to Fight Club for the extra taco while after a couple Doritos tacos I'm usually coherent enough to go "that's about enough of that for today."

Overall, the Cool Ranch Locos Tacos get a decent review from the three of us. I've got little doubt that we will be in that Taco Bell again, soon enough. I'll wear my roomiest pants in preparation.

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