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Jan 18, 2009 10:18 AM

Taco Bell quality

when I was a kid Taco Bell was the best (at least for what I knew at the time). I won't eat there now unless there is nothing else around (or open). Just wondering when the quality went away. Del Taco is closer to what Taco Bell used to be. I remember ordering the burrito supreme and you could actually see the lettuce and sour cream in it. now you can kind of tell the sour cream is there and the lettuce because I saw them put it in when they made it, but it just seems to be a mixed up mess when you eat it (and now it's not much bigger than the regular bean burrito). I don't know but it used to taste a lot better too.

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  1. I know here in Dayton, Ohio the Taco Bell quality went down several years ago. The ground beef mixture is always so salty now days. The last time I went (several months ago) I got 3 chicken soft tacos and there were 2 pieces of tiny chicken meat on each of the tacos and the tiniest amount of cheese. I made my mind up then not to bother going any more. I understand they have portion control in place to make money (which is normal) but this if I wanted a lettuce taco I would of asked for one.

    2 Replies
    1. re: pamelakrest

      Which ones have you gone to? I've never really had any issues with the one on Dorothy Lane in Kettering.
      While we aren't in LA, some local places are springing up that have some good and authentic mexican for cheap. Try La Mixteca Taqueria on East Third or Taco Loco on Spinning and Kemp.
      Del Taco is better. I don't think we have any in Ohio.

      1. re: pamelakrest

        Taco Bell was my forst job in 1982. I am also in the Dayton area, and I opened the store by the Dayton Mall. Back in the day, we cooked our own beans from dry pintos, the shells were all friedn in the store. The lettuce and cheese was shredded in store, and the onions and tomatoes had to be cut as well. The meat was real hamburger that we cooked in giant pans to which we added sauce that we made in the store. In short, it was real food then. It all comes in bag now, and the sour cream isn't even a real dairy product. Processed=bad

      2. You're kidding, right? Living in LA and eating at Taco Bell or Del Taco is like living in Tuscany and searching out the closest Olive Garden for dinner.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JeMange

          just curious about Taco Bell. Del Taco is good when I need quick food to eat at the office (close by too).

        2. [Edit: As JeMange notes, its easy to] understand why people in some parts of the country might flock to Taco Bell, but, aside from nostalgia for the old days, why would anyone in Los Angeles patronize such a place, with so many great (and cheap) little stands and trucks within shotgun range? The survivor's preference for the boringly safe? Fear of the lard?

          7 Replies
          1. re: sbritchky

            not making a run for the border, just curious as to what happened.

            1. re: sbritchky

              Not to mention supporting a local business as opposed to feeding cash to an international "food" conglomerate.

              1. re: JeMange

                Yes, because nobody local works at the international "food" conglomerate franchises, right? The food might not be very good, but chains probably hire more local people than the local restaurants do.

              2. re: sbritchky

                While I don't dispute that living in LA gives one a plethora of fine Mexican choices, I can understand why sometimes people might flock to Taco Bell (or Del Taco).

                1. Los Angeles is a large place, and those tasty cheap little taco stands or trucks are not ubiquitous. Try finding a decent taco truck in say Palos Verdes or Hancock Park, for example. Hard to do, but you'll find a convenient Taco Bell.

                2. Ease of access by car. Lots of taco stands and trucks aren't easily accessible by car because there's no convenient parking (or it's otherwise metered). Taco Bell's generally have their own (free) parking lots.

                3. Taco Bells are open late (if not 24 hours). If you're drunk and can't find a good Korean hangout, then Taco Bell might be the next best alternative.

                4. That red sauce is might tasty ... :-)

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Actually, I live in Hancock Park and I just went last week for the first time to the taco truck parked on the southwest corner of Olympic and La Brea. It was great, we can't wait to go back, they get there around seven p.m. Alternatively, my hubby sometimes wants some taco bell just because it is fast and cheap. We go to a lot of great mexican restaurants here, but sometimes you want some junk food. Personally, I prefer Jack in the Box tacos with onion rings on the side. I know, I know.

                  1. re: rworange

                    I think what someone else mentioned in this post is probably true -- i.e., that people go to Taco Bell for "Taco Bell food" and not for Mexican food.

                    Taco Bell is no longer competing with taco trucks, tamale vendors, etc., but rather with other Americanized Mexican joints like Dell Taco or Qdoba.

                    It's like Taco Bell has carved itself its own little niche in the culinary universe.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      It's the same thing with pizza where I grew up in suburban New Jersey. "Going out for pizza" never, ever, EVER implied Pizza Hut, Domino's. etc. it always meant the local mom and pop pizza joint (usually named "Antonio's", "Attilio's" or similar Itialin name). Pizza Hut was a whole other niche.

                      Once I left New Jersey (went to school in Missouri) and realized that people outside the NY metro area actually think of Pizza Hut and Domino's as actual pizza (because there are much fewer, if any, local alternatives), my world perspective came crashing down.

                      Mr Taster

                2. I think it must be the location. Or the people working. Maybe the time of day you have gone. If there are only 3 people working and the line of orders is long, the workers may be just churning the orders out...

                  Then again, I usually only get a bean burrito and sometimes an enchirito. I do like Del Taco for the cheddar quesedilla. I always try to not go near noon or 6 p.m. If the line at the drive through has more than 3 cars, I know they are slammed.

                  (Re: sbritchky: It is not taco shop food, nor is it Mexican. It is Taco Bell food that we grew up with and is its own flavor.)

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Cathy

                    agreed - you go to taco bell for taco bell food, not mexican food. That being said, I am really disappointed they haven't brought green onions back, and the last time I ordered a bean burrito it was so underfilled the tortilla was folded over twice. yuck!

                    1. re: cheetobrain

                      This is going waaay back, but taco bell used to have a pita pocket sandwich that my friend adored. He was so disconcerted when they axed it. I can understand why they discontinued the tostada, but how I used to enjoy a bean tostada from taco bell, with or without hot sauce. Back in the day it had visible lettuce and shredded cheese on it. A girl I worked with taught me that the tostado was tasty even at room temp. At least the cinnamon crispa thingies are still addicting. I'm usually driving when we make a run for the border, so I've learned to get two orders of the crispa thingies in self defense. They put them iight on top so they don't get crushed and whichever friend is riding shot gun and holding the bags seems to make the crispas "disappear" before I can get them home!

                      1. re: givemecarbs

                        In order to get a Taco Bell "tostada", I've resorted to ordering a taco, no meat, add beans and breaking it in half. It's a decent substitute.

                        1. re: swissgirl

                          when we lived near a taco bell/long john silver combo restaurant I used to order a supreme taco, no meat and then a plank of fish from ljs and put it on the taco :) It used to drive them crazy, but I figured if they couldn't offer me what I wanted i would build it myself!

                      2. re: cheetobrain

                        I adore Taco Bell. I also adore Taco and Burrito KIng, and Fronteria Grill. One is fast food, one is good food fast, and the last is upscale regional Mexican food. Are they remotely alike? No, but at two in the morning, I want Taco Bell, not Rick Bayless's finest creation.

                        1. re: lulubelle

                          I completely agree. I don't go to Taco Bell for fine cuisine, I go there because I want a deliciously horrible "Mexican Pizza." It was my comfort food as a high schooler and still occasionally stop when I'm feeling it. I'm eating more non-chain food now that I have access to it, but there are some chains I just can't let go of and I don't want to.

                          1. re: TampaAurora

                            I live in an area with many Taco Bells and many outstanding, authentic taquerias. I love Taco Bell for what it is but I would never confuse it with authentic Mexican. Ironically, whenever you have lunch at a local Taco Bell, more than half of the customers are Mexican blue collar workers. They certainly know the difference between the two and have access to both but many apparently like Taco Bell for what it is, too.

                    2. I still find Taco Bell to be very tasty. Back in the day, when it was a new product, their Mexican Pizza was da bomb. Yeah, I capitalized Mexican Pizza. What? As the product was being rolled out, they were careful with their prep, and it had plenty of toppings.

                      Now that it's a "staple item", it's produced in extremely careless fashion. It also seems like the amount of toppings and fillings have decreased dramatically.

                      It's a real tradeoff. The spicy meat, the cheese, the lettuce, all taste great to me. Then, you see that bright, dark orange mix of grease and chili ooze out like an oil leak every time you tilt your taco a few degrees, and you think, this is something truly nasty.

                      These days, I'd much rather make a run to Pita Pit than to Taco Bell late nights.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: NewDude

                        I've never been to a "Pita Pit", but when I hear mention of it, I think of the Pita business Edna Krabapple, Gladys Skinner, Maude Flanders and Milhouse's mom franchise in The Simpsons. Falafal means "crunch patty".