Quality fast Tex Mex food at Del Taco. I used to love eating at Taco Bell, even after working at the Taco Bell drive thru and making thousands of tacos there as an employee, I still have an appetite for their menu. Growing up, my two favorite menu items were the burrito supreme and the enchirito. The enchirito used to consist of taco meat and beans stuffed inside a thin corn tortilla and sprinkled with finely grated cheese, doused in red sauce, and topped with olives. But something has happened at Taco Bell over the years, and I can’t say that I agree with the changes that they have made, which haven’t suited my tastes.
While the enchirito was removed from the menu, and then miraculously put back on the menu due to popular demand, it is not the same enchirito that I knew from childhood. Instead of a corn tortilla, Taco Bell uses the regular flour tortillas that they wrap their burritos in, and believe me, the taste of these tortillas has decreased over the years such they are very bland these days. The cheese has also changed, while it is no longer finely grated cheddar, the bigger cheese shavings that they use just taste all the more bland. In fact, my enchirito is just a shadow of its former self. Maybe my taste buds have become less sensitive as I grow older, but food from other places tastes about the same as always.
Another one of my past favorites at Taco Bell, the burrito supreme, also tastes all the more bland. I can’t really specify what ingredient was removed or added, but it’s just not as flavorful. Maybe the red sauce isn’t what it used to be? Not even adding extra mild or hot sauce will improve the taste. I had given up ever reliving my childhood and tasting a really good fast food burrito again, until I happened to try a macho beef burrito at Del Taco. Del Taco looks very similar to Taco Bell on the surface, though they do offer hamburgers and fries in addition to Tex-Mex tacos and burritos.
For a variety of reasons that seem due to mostly chance, Del Taco doesn’t have quite the national presence of Taco Bell, although I hear they recently opened a store in Florida. I have seen a couple Del Tacos sprout up near me in recent years, and I always assumed that they sold sub-par Tex-Mex food. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find their macho beef burrito, which is gigantic, tastes very similar to how the burrito supreme used to taste years ago at Taco Bell, and perhaps even better. Even the tortillas that Del Taco uses taste much more flavorful that anything thatcomes out of Taco Bell, and the sauce that they cook their ground beef in taste much tastier than Taco’s Bell red sauce.
While the menu at Del Taco doesn’t feature enchiritos or meximelts, or one of the many specialties that Taco Bell offers and is famous for, mostly just beef tacos and beef burritos in addition to some chicken versions at Del Taco, I find myself driving out of my way just to get a Del Taco beef burrito. As I munched on what must have been my twentieth Del Taco burrito, I noticed that on the inside of the Del Taco are posters attesting to the quality ingredients that Del Taco uses, which they point out are better than those used by their competitors, i.e. Taco Bell. I hang my head in shame as I realize that my former employer may be using cheap ingredients to boost profits.
Could this really be why I prefer Del Taco’s menu over Taco’s Bell? Is it really the better ingredients? I must admit that Taco Bell may be a little cheaper than Del Taco. However, I recently ordered two tacos from Taco Bell, and they were barely filled up with beef and had a smattering of lettuce, and hardly any cheese. While the tacos at Del Taco may be more expensive, they are always filled high with ingredients that often taste much better than Taco Bell’s, and therefore I feel that I get my money’s worth at Del Taco. I was surprised at how big Del Taco’s classic tacos are, as I know we certainly never made them that big when I worked at Taco Bell.
Not to beat up on Taco Bell, I do still get a taco or two there if I am in a rush and nowhere near a Del Taco. And Taco Bell’s specialty items such as meximelts make a trip to Taco Bell worth it for that special snack not available elsewhere. Filling and sufficiently tasty makes Taco Bell food “OK” as far as I am concerned. But given that I am willing to go out of my way, by several minutes when I have the time, to get a Del Taco burrito instead of settling for Taco Bell, this can’t bode well for Taco Bell’s investors. As more Del Tacos are built closer to Taco Bell’s, more taste conscious consumers will undoubtedly prefer a Del Taco burrito over a similar burrito at Taco Bell. Del Taco even offers a variety of family pack deals, which seem very reasonably priced, perhaps even similar in price to Taco Bell although the individual food items are larger at Del Taco.
Hopefully, Del Taco’s success and tasty menu will spur Taco Bell to add back some of the quality ingredients into their products, if that is what is accounting for the bland taste, and we can all enjoy the benefits of competition.