The day has finally arrived. After more than a year of teasing, Taco Bell has unleashed their new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco on the fast-food loving public. Should you buy a bigger belt now, or will you be able to avoid weekly Taco 12-Packs?
I crossed the border on March 6th to celebrate the arrival of the Cool Ranch DLT. Taco Bell advertised that they would be available a day early if you asked, and I took them at their word. Instead I was finger-wagged by Dikembe in a hair net. It turns out that I was hoodwinked by the “at participating locations” fine print. To make the most of an embarrassing situation (I took a bus just to get there), I picked up a Shamrock Shake across the street. Not deterred by the rejection, I returned today to bask in the Cool Ranch glory.
Panic set in as I unwrapped my taco. It was the old Nacho Cheese Doritos cardboard package. Had she misunderstood when I said regular? Am I about to be 0 for 2 already? It turns out they just split the packaging in half, with one side dedicated to Cool Ranch and the other to Nacho Cheese. I’m an idiot. The shell being standard yellow instead of orange should have been a dead giveaway.
From the first bite my tongue is overwhelmed by the flavor dusting that’s on the outside of the shell. Unlike a normal chip that’s contoured to limit how much immediately coats the tongue, this shell is as flat as…well the side of taco shell. Not that Taco Bell beef is anything to write your local congressman about, but I’d at least like to be able to taste it. I can feel its texture, but it could be tofu for all I know. I’m getting a full-frontal assault from the shell’s flavor.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a soft-shell kind of guy. What can I say, I drink a lot of whiskey. Wait, what? Like I was saying, the shell is more dense than the Doritos to which you are accustomed. While this is understandable to avoid it immediately crumbling, the airiness of the chips are part of the reason they are so delicious. The shell is thick and crunchy instead of light and crisp. It’s very much a taco first, and no one would kick back and eat these shells as a snack.
If you don’t have shell shock like me, and you love the Nacho Cheese version, you’ll like these. The Doritos flavor definitely comes through, and while many were skeptical, Cool Ranch was a great pick. It’s not just that the blue bag is the second most popular either. The ranch seasoning works well with the meat (I ripped half of the shell off for a better taste test). Throw on the fire sauce, and you’ve got a perfect blend of flavors. I’d highly recommend upping it to the supreme taco because, if allowed in the state of Illinois, I’m certain that sour cream and ranch seasoning would be married. They are perfect together.
Unfortunately I can’t get past my issues with the shells, at least not sober. It’s back to Enchiritos and Chili-Cheese Burritos for me. The DLT is well worth trying at least once, even if just for the excuse to Instagram your lunch. And as I said, if you’re a fan of the original Doritos Locos Tacos, the Cool Ranch iteration will be right up your alley, albeit briefly.