In a sign of Americans’ schizophrenic approach to food (brown rice followed by a quick trip to Krispy Kreme? why not?), New York Times reporter William Grimes has now offered up a review of Taco Bell’s new Doritos Locos Taco.
For a paper whose most-emailed articles are frequently from the “Recipes for Health” column - quinoa, spinach, and mushroom salad; Swiss chard and rice soup - the review felt somewhat incongruous.
The Times, after all, is the home of Mark Bittman, high-end restaurant reviews, and from-scratch recipes for everything from “French potato and green bean salad” to “rose-scented berry tart with an almond shortbread crust.”
But, in truth, we all live with that sort of high-brow (be healthy, do the right thing), low-brow (soft serve is awesome) incongruity.
For example: I adore broccoli. Which makes me feel good about myself. But I particularly like it when it’s drowned in oyster sauce, so that the oily, excess liquid squeezes out of the florets when I bite down, like a soupy bonus.
Which, in a sense, brings me back to the Doritos Locos Taco - an emblem of our national ambivalence about healthy food. We love it. Except when the unhealthy stuff tastes better.
As the Times reported, Taco Bell’s new offering has turned out to be a blockbuster: their most successful roll-out ever, with customers crunching down on 100 million tacos between the beginning of March and the end of May.
And Grimes, who bit into the orange-colored shell for the sake of journalistic integrity, ultimately proclaimed it “pretty good” - which, I’m sure, felt heretical to a newsroom more inclined towards farmer’s markets than chicken nuggets or suspiciously-colored Mexican(ish) food.
Still, Grimes did suffuse the review with artistry, calling the taco “russet-colored” and “paper-thin,” and noting that the “clamorous spicing” of bagged Doritos chips was considerably more muted in shell form, preventing it from overwhelming the beef, lettuce, and cheese.
Salty, cheesy, spicy, orange-powdered, beef-filled.
You’re thinking about it, aren’t you? Wouldn’t hurt to try one. At night, preferably. Alone. Unaccompanied by friends who’d rather scare up some heirloom tomatoes.
Or maybe I’m just projecting.
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