Taco Bell Food Review: Savior of Fast Food Availability for Both Vegetarians and Vegans

Taco Bell customer’s meal order before indulging in a burrito and Baja Blast soda during meal time at Taco Bell on Devon Ave., the closest to NEIUs main campus, in Chicago on Wednesday, February 28th, 2024, as the customer savors every bite for the purposes of achieving satiety.
    Taco Bell customer’s meal order before indulging in a burrito and Baja Blast soda during meal time at Taco Bell on Devon Ave., the closest to NEIU’s main campus, in Chicago on Wednesday, February 28th, 2024, as the customer savors every bite for the purposes of achieving satiety.
    Ananth Prabhu

    As a vast fast food franchise, Taco Bell is a behemoth when it comes to catering customizable meals and individual menu items that indulge creamy, salty, cheesy, savory, and sweet delights. Taco Bell serves aroma-rich meals with protein-rich beans, fatty cheese, and fresh veggies, and it is reasonably similar from one franchised location to another, so customers’ expectations can be met everywhere in the U.S. In other words, there ought to be no surprises when ordering the same menu item from a different location.

    Through the Taco Bell app, I purchased a Veggie Build-Your-Own Cravings Box for this review from the nearest Taco Bell location to NEIU, which is north of the main campus. It cost $5.99 plus sales tax. The name of the combo was a misnomer as the food was not presented in a box, rather, it came in a brown paper sack. This Cravings “Box” contained one specialty food item, one classic food item, one side dish, and a medium drink.

    One reason the combo meal is a far superior value is that a Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme costs $6.19 on its own, but the Veggie Cravings Box, four items costs $5.99. One of those items you can choose could be the Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme. Thus, the individual items aren’t the most practical. Taco Bell lists this particular Cravings Box as an Online Exclusive, which is available via a web browser or the official Taco Bell app.

    When I ordered the Box, I opted for a Black Bean Chalupa Supreme as the specialty item, the Bean Burrito as the classic item, a Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes Bowl as the side item, and a large Mountain Dew Baja Blast as the drink.

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    The chalupa has the same shape as a taco shell, but the similarities stop there. The shell of the chalupa is partly crunchy like a moistened cracker and partly soft like fried pita bread. The ingredients inside the chalupa contained black beans as a protein source, iceberg lettuce and tomatoes as the veggies, and sour cream and a three-cheese blend as the fat source. This chalupa gives an incredible mouthfeel and satisfaction bite after bite. It gave a unique combination of hot and cold ingredients. I used a squirt of fire sauce with each bite to add a bit of heat relishing in the cornucopia of piquancy.

    The Bean Burrito was one of the original items on the menu, and it contained pinto beans, cheese, onions, and red sauce all wrapped in a flour tortilla. Contrary to popular belief, the red sauce is not the same as the contents found in the mild, hot, fire or Diablo sauce packets. The Bean Burrito was very typical of a burrito that one may make at home whether using home-cooked pinto beans or the canned pinto beans from the Taco Bell brand. The Bean Burrito was warm and reminiscent of the original Taco Bell menu from decades ago.

    The Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes contained seasoned and cooked cubes of potatoes, nacho cheese sauce, red sauce, and sour cream. It was simple, yet full of gusto.

    One of my long-time favorite sodas from Taco Bell has been Mountain Dew’s Baja Blast because it is sweet and tangy, and the fountain version continues to be exclusive to Taco Bell. The Baja Blast sapidity of Mountain Dew was exclusive to Taco Bell for several years. Currently, bottles and cans are sold in particular grocery chains. Restaurant exclusivity of fountain drinks is often a perk, and it often makes customers feel special in some regards. Taco Bell continues to support free refills of any size soft drink.

    The entire combo package was appetizing and satisfying. Considering that an individual item could cost upwards of three dollars, the combo meal gives the most bang for the buck. For individuals with smaller appetites, it may be best to share a combo package with a family member or friend.

    On another occasion, I ate one of my favorite Taco Bell concoctions, the Vegetarian Mexican Pizza. The pizza uses two circular plate-sized chips, which are different from traditional tostada chips that are also found within the Crunchwrap. The Mexican Pizza’s chips are super thin, super crispy, and have a layer of pinto beans and sauce in between the two circular chips. The top is layered with tomato sauce, a three-cheese blend, and tomatoes.

    I opted to add a smear of guacamole on top.  It was a delightfully sloppy food to indulge in and it was absolutely a guilty pleasure. The pizza was cut into quarter slices for easier eating. It was creamy, lush, hot, and fresh, and I enjoyed every bite. Each bite gave a crispy texture from the chips, but it was lush with the hot and melted cheese. I always appreciated every bite of this one longtime specialty item at Taco Bell.

    I usually prefer ordering specialty concoctions when eating at Taco Bell given the classic items are easy to assemble and prepare at home, while the specialty concoctions require very specific ingredients and are time-consuming to prepare at home. Thus, I gladly pay the price of the specialty items at Taco Bell. Classic creations include burritos, tacos, tostadas, and cheese quesadillas and feel generic. However, specialty items include Chalupas, Gorditas, Mexican Pizzas, and Crunchwraps, and they involve more work, exotic compilations of ingredients, and more unique ingredients.

    I tried a Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme, which contains a large flour tortilla with black beans and nacho cheese on top of it. Then, a traditional tostada chip is layered on top of that to give a crunch to every bite. The lettuce, tomato, and sour cream on top of the tostada chip. The large flour tortilla is folded over six times to form a hexagon shape. The concoction gets placed in a panini press, and that aids the design of the entire concoction to be held in place for consumption.

    When eating the Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme, I cut it in half and ate it like a pita pocket full of its ingredients. I applied fire sauce to the open end, and with each bite, I felt softness, crunchiness, a little bit of heat, and a zestful explosion. It was fantastic, and unlike the Mexican Pizza, it was not sloppy at all. It was a delicate balance that fused the flavorful ingredients into one wholesome package. Unlike the sloppy pizza, napkins were not necessary to consume this colorful fusion.

    Just like making food at home and concocting new variations of food, the same can be done while ordering food from Taco Bell given they allow for endless customization of menu items at the forefront.  In other words, the customer can eliminate undesired ingredients, substitute them for preferred ingredients, or add individual ingredients on a whim.

    I made the Beefy Five Layer Burrito vegetarian, swapping the animal flesh for black beans.  The remaining ingredients were pinto beans, sour cream, cheese, and nacho cheese sauce. I added red sauce as a sixth ingredient. To veganize this treat, just click “Make it Fresco” in the app or a web browser, and all the dairy items will be replaced with tomatoes.

    Eating this burrito with two types of beans escalated it to an ultra-delectable tier. The sour cream, cheese sauce, melted cheese, and red sauce allowed it to be extremely creamy. It was an absolute delight as the hot and cold ingredients combined as a fusion for the overall mouthfeel. I used a squirt of fire sauce before I took each bite to experience just a spark of heat. The burrito definitely had more girth than traditional burritos, and it was completely gratifying.

    For my most recent Taco Bell experience, I felt like veganizing my order. I chose the Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito, made it Fresco Style, and added red sauce to it. It contained pinto beans, seasoned rice, tomatoes, and red sauce wrapped in a flour tortilla. I used a squirt of fire sauce once again because a lack of sauce would be bland. It was a delightfully simple food for only $1.29.  Taco Bell includes this food on the Cravings Value Menu because it is among the lowest-cost foods in the shop. It was tasty, and convenient, and satiated my appetite for that afternoon very well.

    Considering that vegetarians and vegans are the most creative individuals while modifying recipes in their kitchens, Taco Bell is a godsend for individuals of these lifestyles especially while making road trips across the U.S. Taco Bell shines, in terms of customizability and accessibility, as compared to other fast food chains. Vegetarians and vegans are able to find and eat scrumptious, affordable, and on-the-go food whether they are road-tripping, in urban or rural settings, or seeking casual comfort food.

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