Today was a date with destiny.
After test-marketing the Waffle Taco, then rolling out a breakfast menu that did not include it, then rolling back that idea, Taco Bell staked out 3-27-14 about a month ago as the day they would bring back breakfast with the Waffle Taco, everywhere. Since then I’ve been hoping, and wishing, and praying they’d show me they care about my anticipation.
Imagine my surprise when there was absolutely no line at the drive-thru. Had not the rest of the nation been anticipating this in the same manner as I? Uhhh, no. Did they know something I didn’t?
I couldn’t wait to get home to find out. I knew I was probably quite misguided, but like the small-time hood with Dirty Harry’s Magnum to his head, I just had to know.
Now, some essential background here: I never liked the combo of salty and sweet things simultaneously as a kid, especially at breakfast. I heard Penn Jillette once say how much he hoped his pancake syrup would touch the bacon on his plate, and I was the exact opposite of that. If my breakfast plate had been a country, it would have been ’80s South Africa.
I should also note that the English-style “French toast” I grew up with was very different than here – it was literally toast dipped in eggs and then fried, and was 100% a savory dish. No sugar or fruit anywhere near that sumbitch. Anyway…
My take on a waffle is that it needs to be at least slightly crispy. Taco Bell’s vision is that it needs to be flexible enough to fold like a soft tortilla. We are at odds. Could they not have one that was more like a hard-shell Taco, maybe a little bit soft inside? Probably not – what am I thinking. So what they have is a grease sponge – designed to absorb syrup, it also sucks up every ounce of fat from the eggs and the cheese and the meat (sausage or bacon). There’s a slight maple aftertaste, but it’s not sweet – think the cooking-chocolate equivalent of syrup. But they do give you dipping syrup.
Cheese combined with syrup. Ecch. You can do something like this if you do it all fancy; I ate at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant once and one of the menu items was blue cheese with fresh honeycomb. That worked. This doesn’t, exactly, except in the basest possible way – since the taco doesn’t have much of a taste, the syrup kicks the asses of everything in it and makes it palatable.
Julia’s take on the bacon version: “Chewy. Tastes like nothing. At first my overriding sense is of the waffle, because it’s mapley…and after that, nothing. Meh. It’s food-like.”
The redemption factor for me is that the A.M. Crunchwrap is back, and they’ve introduced a new sauce: Picante “Salsa Del Sol,” which tastes like Pace Picante that’s been through a blender to get the chunks out. My wife, however, ditched her Crunchwrap after two bites, annoyed that I hadn’t brought back anything more normal.
This is a total, utter LIE
When I left the drive through, the smiling clerk said, “Hope to see you here tomorrow for breakfast!” His optimism was admirable, and I suspect it may take him far in life. It was not, alas, grounded in any reality whatsoever.