I wanted to be excited.
My appreciation for the Doritos® in which I no longer indulge regularly but nonetheless enjoy on occasion, coupled with my appreciation of the taco in all its crunchy glory, made me want to get my hopes up. The commercials, peppered with alleged Twitter statements from people having tried Taco Bell’s new Doritos® Locos Taco, likened it to “kissing a unicorn on a pot of gold” and if the commercial is to be believed, it moved at least one Tweeter to tears.
I truly wanted to get excited.
But I knew better. Having kissed my share of unicorns, I knew enough to bar expectations from my first encounter with this product that recently offered me an anti-climactic tasting experience somehow worth writing about.
The Doritos® Locos Taco, a standard Taco Supreme but for the outer tortilla shell made of Nacho Cheese Doritos® chips, is visually engaging on first sight. The orange color of its shell will doubtless be familiar to anyone who has ever enjoyed the eponymous chips. However, with its light, crunchy tortilla filled with ground beef, lettuce, and all the usual tasty suspects, any credit for this taco’s merits is due the contents of its shell rather than the shell itself, powdered cheesiness notwithstanding. The Doritos® flavor is evident only during initial contact between tongue and tortilla, a phenomenon that lasts for but a second. Any value it adds to the experience diminishes almost immediately, as the taste of artificial nacho cheese vanishes after a chew or two. This prompt departure I attribute to the wealth and spectrum of flavors pre-existing in even a mediocre crunchy taco. From the spicy heat of ground beef to the cooling refreshment of chopped and shredded vegetables and sour cream, there’s simply too much already going on, too much synergy inherent in the concept of the taco for a light dusting of cheese-flavored powder to be relevant. It robs the addition of the power to affect the product for better or worse.
Having said that, I do thrust two orange-dusted thumbs way up for Taco Bell’s marketing strategy that targets the younger end of the Twitter demographic and their largely disposable income with advertisements whose major selling points seem produced by, for, and about them. As for a more satisfying method of blending the best characteristics of “cheese” sprinkled tortilla chips with that of the hot, meat-filled corn shell, I would sooner stuff a regular beef taco with Doritos® and be done with it. Then, brimming with personal pride in my respect for the direct approach, I would eat every artificial nacho cheese-laced crumb and enjoy my meal without tweeting a living soul about it.