Review: Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos from Taco Bell
In my Doritos Locos Tacos review from last year, I mentioned how Taco Bell has reinvented the taco. Fast forward a year later with plenty of Doritos flavored taco shells under my belt, has the novelty worn off? That’s what I aimed to find out with Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos. Taco Bell describes their Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos like this:
A crunchy taco made with premium seasoned beef, crisp lettuce, and real cheddar cheese, in a shell made from Cool Ranch® Doritos® Chips.
To get a feel for whether this taco works better in “Supreme” form (added diced tomatoes and reduced-fat sour cream) I grabbed one of those too. But all in all, it’s basically just a typical crunchy taco with a Cool Ranch Doritos flavored shell. There is absolutely nothing new besides the shell. Taco Bell hopes the shell, which is normally void of much flavor, will define the overall taste of the taco. Well there’s some good and some bad where Cool Ranch is concerned.The good: It’s still just a taco. It’s everything familiar to you (except the flavored shell) when it comes to a crunchy taco… and who doesn’t like a crunchy taco? It’s a simple mix of seasoned beef and cheese nestled in a crispy corn shell. I can eat these by the box-full. Major points go to just the fact that I really like the idea of Doritos Locos Tacos. Toying with a shell flavored by one of the most popular American tortilla chip brands is something that could easily have been executed all wrong. This is a product I respect Taco Bell for offering because it’s a good example of their fast food identity. Enough with trying to be like Chipotle (Cantina Bell menu) because your wacky Americanized-Mexican food creations are what makes you the leader in your category. The bad: I was expecting to like Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos more than the original, but something went a little wrong. There’s something that is a tad off with the Cool Ranch flavor. The same sour kick with a subtle cool, creamy finish I’ve come to love from Cool Ranch Doritos chips was not completely there. It’s as if the flavor is slightly reminiscent when it first hits your tongue, but kind of just gets lost after that. Even when breaking off a piece of the shell to sample, I felt Cool Ranch flavoring was too weak. The flavor is a decent attempt, but just didn’t follow through enough with an arc of savory hints of garlic and onion powders. I came away a little shocked at how the original nacho flavor of Doritos Locos Tacos worked better than Cool Ranch.I gave the original Doritos Locos Taco an 8.25/10 because I felt it was truly an original idea and not just a recycled mix of familiarity. While I wasn’t blown away by it, I felt it made a solid enough impact to be a great new addition to the Taco Bell brand. I personally prefer the taste Nacho Cheese Doritos chips over Cool Ranch, but the idea of these flavors in a taco shell had me thinking it would work a lot better with Cool Ranch. In taco shell form, the Nacho had a more pronounced, saltier flavor that blends well with the taco ingredients. The Cool Ranch was decent, but fell short of making enough of an impact with me. Even with sampling both the regular and the Supreme, I didn’t notice that one stood out much over the other.The Cool Ranch taste is there, just not all the way there. The biggest issue most people will have is with the price. The regular Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco was priced at $1.39 while the Supreme was $1.89. Sure, anything under the 2-dollar mark will draw your eye and not really have you over thinking the purchase, but a flavored taco shell shouldn’t cost 50 cents extra. The Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos falls under the “decent” category for me and I’m having trouble deciding if the original novelty has already disappeared. The Flamas flavor is next in line and maybe it will be the tie breaker to convince me the novelty is alive and still kicking.
Pros: It's a new flavor of taco shell. Ingenuity in fast food. Taco holster.
Cons: The impact of the Cool Ranch Doritos flavor missed the mark a bit. The only thing difference from this and a regular taco is the shell and it's about a 50 cent upcharge.
Grubbing on-the-go: 5.50/10
Price: $1.39 for regular, $1.89 for supreme
Overall GrubGrade: 6.75/10
More Info: http://www.TacoBell.com
Regular - 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 350 milligrams of sodium, 13 grams of carbs, 8 grams of protein
Supreme - 200 calories, 12 grams of fat, 370 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbs, 9 grams of protein