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Fast Food Plant-Based

Taco Bell Gives In: Potatoes And Beyond Meat Are On The Way

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

For those who have been clamoring for Taco Bell to bring back potatoes, your wish has been granted.

After getting taken off of the menu as a way to streamline operations during the pandemic, the taco titan has confirmed that their beloved spuds will be returning to menus starting March 11th. You’ll be able to enjoy them in all the same ways as before.

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

Buried within the announcement of potatoes returning was even bigger news, however. After years of resisting the urge to pick a plant-based meat purveyor like Impossible Foods or Beyond Meat, Taco Bell has finally given in and chosen the latter.

For a long time, the chain has hung their hat on the beans, potatoes, and other inherently vegetarian options they had on the menu without the need to add a plant-based meat. They did launch an oat-based protein substitute, but that never made its way to US markets.

This year, though, Taco Bell will test a product nationwide that includes a collaboration with Beyond Meat. Like many other chains (ie. Del Taco or KFC), they’ll be making a custom protein that fits within the chain’s flavor spectrum, although whether that will be a beef substitute or not remains to be seen.

Taco Bell did mention back in 2019 that they were looking into plant-based alternatives. With Beyond Meat on board, it will be interesting to see if they include any vegan cheese, egg, or other animal product alternatives as time goes on.

Categories
Fast Food

Taco Bell Unveils Vegetarian Black Bean Toasted Cheddar Chalupa

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

Last year, Taco Bell debuted their Toasted Cheddar Chalupa. The menu item featured all the staples of a classic chalupa: lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, and customers’ choice of proteins along with a chalupa taco shell that was toasted with aged cheddar. 

The golden bells of comfort food and convenience have announced that the popular menu item will return to menus this fall and with it a new variation. 

Joining the return of the Toasted Cheddar Chalupa will be a vegetarian alternative to the popular menu item: The Black Bean Toasted Cheddar Chalupa

Certified vegetarian by the American Vegetarian Association, the chalupa features Taco Bell’s signature black beans in place of meat. The new item will join the Veggie Cravings menu, which boasts 13 existing vegetarian menu items.

Man, they already had me at anything toasted with cheddar. 

You can find the Toasted Cheddar Chalupas now at participating Taco Bell locations nationwide. 

Categories
Fast Food Restaurants

Viral LA Pizzeria Creates Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza Tribute

Last month, Taco Bell announced that their iconic Mexican Pizza would be leaving menus forever. When the news broke, fans everywhere mourned the loss of the beloved favorite.

One fan, Brian Nittayo of Rose City Pizza in Rosemead, CA, took the departure one step further by creating his own take on the Mexican Pizza to honor the beloved fast food item.

You may probably know Rose City Pizza best by the viral Birria Pizza and Al Pastor Pizza. The latest item to come out of their pizza oven is a double-decker pizza that features toasted tortillas as the crust. Then comes a layer of pinto beans, mozzarella, cheddar, Salsa de Arbol, and Salsa Verde.

Customers can choose their meat, including Birria, Al Pastor, Chorizo, Beef Chile, Corn, or Bean and Cheese filling.

Like every new pizza iteration on the menu, you can expect the Mexican Pizza to be a permanent menu item.

Those with a sweet tooth can also find a new Mazapan dessert pizza on the menu, inspired by Oscar Gonzalez of Foodbeast himself.

Categories
Fast Food

Taco Bell Brings Back ‘Steal A Base, Steal A Taco’ Promotion For MLB World Series

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

Major League Baseball started the year off with uncertainty thanks to the pandemic as with many other professional sports. Next week, however, the 2020 World Series kicks off, and with it comes Taco Bell’s annual free taco promotion. 

That’s right, the Steal a Base, Steal a Taco deal is back. 

Here’s how it works: if a player steals a base during a championship game, fans can claim a free Doritos Locos Taco at their local Taco Bell on Oct. 28

However, this year, fans can claim their free taco much sooner by getting a code through the Taco Bell app hours after the first base is stolen. They’ll then have to cruise over to their local establishment and claim their taco. 

Categories
Culture Fast Food Restaurants

As Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza Departs, Fans Protest In Attempt To Save It

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

Taco Bell’s farewell tour for the Mexican Pizza has already begun. Some locations have reportedly taken it off of the menu already, and a nationwide departure is expected to happen by November 5th.

As the pizza fades, its most ardent fans are rallying and protesting in a final attempt to keep the Mexican Pizza in restaurants.

r/TacoBell has been set to private. “This sub will remained locked until Taco Bell reverses their decision to remove Mexican Pizzas from the menu.” I suggest checking the discussion at /r/LivingMas (which is also a better Taco Bell sub). from r/fastfood

The Taco Bell subreddit, one of the largest communities of fast food fans the chain has, has privatized and locked out any public-facing posts in protest. “This sub will remain locked until Taco Bell reverses their decision to remove Mexican Pizzas from the menu,” a statement reads on the larger “Fast Food” subreddit.

Additionally, a petition has begun to circulate that highlights the importance of the Mexican Pizza to communities in the country. Started by Krish Jagirdar on Change.org, the “Save The Mexican Pizza” petition has over 65,000 signatures to date.

In Jagirdar’s petition, text states that the Mexican Pizza is “an item loved by many, especially the South Asian community. Losing this item would not only be the loss of one of our favorite foods but a piece of our childhood & heritage as Indian Americans.”

This is something that has been previously explored by Foodbeast Virali Dave, as well as others. The ability to easily go vegetarian on a budget at Taco Bell, not to mention a symmetry in flavors, especially when it came to the hot sauce packets, has made the chain a favorite for South Asian and Indian Americans. A Mexican Pizza, with the beef substituted for beans, was one of the cornerstones of that experience.

For those who felt similar about the entree, losing the Mexican Pizza was more than just seeing another fast food item fall by the wayside, thus the inspired uprising against discontinuing the Mexican Pizza.

As of right now, plans for the pizza to leave menus are still in motion. Even if protests to save it are unsuccessful, however, it could always return as a limited-time offer in the future. Not the same as always being there, I know.

Categories
Fast Food

Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza Is Officially Being Retired

Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza has been a fixture on the menu since 1988, meaning it has graced the mouths of millions over the past 32 years.

Sadly, that run has come to an end, as Taco Bell has officially announced that the Mexican Pizza will be retired from its menu.

Mexican Pizza’s retirement comes amidst a lengthy overhaul of Taco Bell’s full menu over the past couple of months. As the menu has simplified, over a dozen menu items have been deleted, including fan favorites like the chain’s potatoes.

The reasoning behind letting go of the Mexican Pizza is, surprisingly, environmental. Packaging for the taco-pizza hybrid amounts to over 7 million pounds of paperboard material per year in the US, according to Taco Bell, so getting rid of the Mexican Pizza will help the chain use less packaging overall.

Other changes to Taco Bell’s menu include a removal of Pico de Gallo (to be replaced by fresh chopped tomatoes) and shredded chicken (grilled chicken is still a menu option, however).

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

With the removal of some menu items, however, comes the chance to bring others back. The Quesalupa, for example, will be getting a test run in Knoxville, TN starting September 24th. Hopes are that successful testing will lead to a nationwide return some time in 2021.

Taco Bell’s Green Sauce is also getting a new and improved version made with jalapenos and Hatch chilies. Select regional markets will be able to get it starting November 5th.

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

Taco Bell is also adding new items to its menu nationwide. The new limited-time Dragonfruit Freeze, for example, is on menus starting today, and a $1 Chicken Chipotle Melt will be available starting November 5th.

Still, the loss of the Mexican Pizza is one that will sting with longtime fans of the iconic item. There are plenty of copycat recipes out there, however.

Categories
Fast Food What's New

We Found A Taco Bell Location Testing CRISPY CHICKEN WINGS

While Taco Bell has begun phasing out some parts of its menu, that change also means there’s the potential for some unique new items to arrive at the fast food giant.

Photo: Elie Ayrouth // Foodbeast

Foodbeast has come across one of those potential test items, as fellow Foodbeast Elie Ayrouth found a location in Fullerton, California that had Crispy Chicken Wings on its menu.

Served in a box of five with a side of Spicy Ranch to dip into, these wings came in at a cost of $4.99 each. These weren’t boneless wings, either: as you can see in the above clip, Elie was able to get all of the meat off the bones in one single bite, choosing from a selection of drums and flats.

Photo: Elie Ayrouth // Foodbeast

He told me that the wings themselves were “very crispy,” and had a mild Taco Bell seasoning flavor to them. “I would have loved something like their Volcano Sauce mixed with the ranch, or the Volcano Sauce on its own,” he mentioned.

Still, to him, “Taco Bell nailed it on what they’re good at, textures. The flats did what they needed, the drums were crispy, had a fair amount of meat.”

Elie also recommended adding some packets of Fire or Diablo sauce to your order if you want to turn up the heat on this chicken. Combining the hot sauce, ranch, and wings together were the best bites he had, in his opinion.

Photo: Elie Ayrouth // Foodbeast

We’re naturally curious to learn more about these wings, so we’ve reached out to Taco Bell to get a deeper insight on this possible test item. They’re not sharing too much as of yet, saying that “We’re always innovating and listening to our fans, and chicken is just one category that we’re excited to explore further and put our Taco Bell spin on.”

It also seems that Taco Bell is ramping up their food innovation efforts, according to a recent article from Forbes, with chicken as a key focus, so there’s a good chance we’re gonna see some more exciting items come from them in the near future.

Photo: Elie Ayrouth // Foodbeast

For those looking to try the Crispy Chicken Wings in the meantime, the location we found them is at 131 E. Orangethorpe Avenue in Fullerton.

Categories
Fast Food

Taco Bell’s Grilled Cheese Burrito Officially Launches Nationwide

In late 2019, Taco Bell tested a Grilled Cheese Burrito, which consisted of a burrito wrapped in a shell of crispy, melted cheese. That test appears to have done well, as the burrito has now made its way onto menus nationwide.

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

The cheese-crusted burrito is filled with rice, red crispy strips, a three cheese blend, reduced fat sour cream, chipotle sauce, and a choice of seasoned beef or beans.

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

Taco Bell’s newest item may be inspired by the cheese-crusted breakfast burritos of Los Angeles, where spots like Burrito Bomba and Low Key Burritos have taken over social media for their own cheese-crusted renditions.

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell

Grilled Cheese Burritos will be available for a limited time. They’ll be sold on their own for $2.99 each or as part of a $5 box that includes Cinnamon Twists, a crunchy taco, and a medium soda drink.