My Meal Cost: $10.76. Health Rating A. Yelp 2.5 stars
Taco Bell is an old friend. I remember when the first one I was aware of opened in Glendora, where I lived, in the late '60s and ALL items on the menu were 15 cents! Tacos, bean burritos (red or green), refried beans and cheese cup, and tostadas. Small menu but at 15 cents each well worth it. So now my trek up Garey Avenue has brought me back once again to a place that is as different as it is familiar.
This is the current look of Taco Bell, but back in my day it looked like this:
A Mexican with a sombrero sitting on a bell. Almost as racist as when my friends would exclaim: "Notice you never see any cats around taco bell?"
Anyway, if it feels like I'm vamping to avoid getting into the actual review, yup. As with last week it's as hard to write about Taco Bell as it is to write about McDonald's. They're ubiquitous and everyone knows what they are and what they offer.
This location is a bright, clean location with plenty of both indoor and covered outdoor seating. Since all the furniture is bolted to the floor, there's not an opportunity to move back if you're a person of girth, but they seem to have taken that into account.
The staff behind the counter was friendly enough. The one draw back is that they seem to concentrate on the drive-thru and those of us who are inside get to wait an extraordinary amount of time to get our meals. My register receipt said that I ordered at 12:21 and they didn't call me with my order until 12:37. If you're only on a half hour lunch break you might want to skip this place as the fast food isn't very fast. 16 minutes is a long time for them to make my order.
I was feeling a little nostalgic (as you might be able to tell) so ordered something simple from a menu that has expanded to so many items that it takes quite a while to read through them all. Gorditas, soft tacos, Doritos tacos, quesadillas and doubledillas (cute), crunch wraps, rolled tacos, nachos, meximelts, chalupas, grillers, bowls, and lord knows what else. A looonnnggggg way from the original 4-5 menu items all for 15 cents.
My choice was a #1 combo which included a beef burrito supreme, a taco supreme, and a large drink (my only sugar free option was Diet Pepsi, sigh). To this I added one of my favorites, pintos and cheese (the original refried bean cup), as well as a new item that intrigued me, the chicken rolled tacos (2 to an order, with a choice of dipping sauce, I chose nacho cheese).
The pintos and cheese cup has gone down in size since I last ordered it by at least a quarter, and the price is $1.39, way more than that 15 cents I paid in the late '60s. Not sure why it couldn't have been included on their dollar menu which has the original taco and bean burritos. The burrito supreme was well made with plenty of ground beef, cheese, lettuce and sauce. A good filling burrito and what one would expect. The taco supreme was likewise what one would expect with a hard shell, ground meat, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and a bit of sour cream.
The new item for me was the chicken rolled tacos. I'm not quite sure what the difference is between a rolled taco and a taquito, but this one actually was better than any tacquito I've had. Chicken wrapped tightly in a corn tortilla, then deep fried, with the shell (tortilla) having a nice light crispness. If you use the dipping sauce, at least for me, you can't taste the chicken, but it is in there, I could see it.
All in all a normal trip to a fast-food joint that lives up to its roots and reputation.
UP NEXT: Sabor Mexicano
Next week I double back to a site that a friend told me I missed. It was described to me as the best Oaxacan food they had ever tasted. And since the LA Times last Saturday did a big article on Tyaluda, I knew it was time to do a backtrack and pick up a missed opportunity.