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Taco Bell Pre-90s Was Good - Do You Notice the Difference Now?

This can go in any board here for the various regions of the US but I' from the LA area so it will go here.

People often put down Taco Bell talking about how bad it taste and everything. I don't know if they really feel that way or feel it's cool to. Honestly I don't think Taco Bell taste good at all but that's not from a coolness agenda but because it really in my opinion does not taste good. But in the 70s as a kid and the '80s as a teen into my early '20s it really was good. I am not sure what year they changed the formula for the taco meat but it was once really good.

Yes I know it was very greasy in the old days and they probably changed it for apparent health reasons but I don't go to Taco Bell for healthy food, then or now. I go to TB about once ever three months. Why if it's so bad? Well sometimes I do have a hankering for Taco Bell so I go and most the time I regret it because I'm displeased with it. It's not so bad if they just made the meat and it's super hot but even at that it's not so good. Actually I stopped going and will go for other specialty items but none that have to do with the meat they make.

Here is the reason it taste different. One thing is I knew a guy who used to work there. I knew him from a recent job. He used to work there in the '80s and said they used lard in their taco meat but because of health concerns they stopped. That's probably not the only reason, they probably changed the formulation of the recipe in other ways too. I often try to make the taco meat at home like they did in the good old days of Taco Bell but it never taste right. There is a recipe on the net that claims to be like Taco Bell but there are two problems. Once it's based on the current Taco Bell meat which I don't care for and two their recipe not only doesn't taste like the current Taco Bell meat but it taste really bad, as bad as Taco Bell nowadays.

Do any of you who are in their early '40s or older like me taste the difference of the old and new Taco Bell recipe? Which do you like better? I contacted Taco Bell about this and they deny their meat taste different now than it did back then. Blatant lie. The fact that they stopped using lard is enough for it to taste different so they lie when they say it taste the same. The formulation besides no lard must be different too. I know you all might not want lard in your food but let's face it Taco Bell used to taste good with the old formulation and the current is pretty bad.

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  1. the nachos of today are nothing like the nachos of yesteryear.

    tomatoes, green onion, etc. i miss all of you.

    11 Replies
    1. re: ns1

      Same thing w/ the Mexican Pizza. The top of it used to be covered in olives, green onions and tomatoes. Now it's just cheese. But if they can save 1 cent per pizza . . .

      1. re: I got nothin

        "Same thing w/ the Mexican Pizza. The top of it used to be covered in olives, green onions and tomatoes. Now it's just cheese. But if they can save 1 cent per pizza . . ."

        the only thing I ever order from TB is the grilled stuft burrito, and it seems my decision was just validated.

        1. re: I got nothin

          They stopped using green onions because of e coli. Tomatoes got really expensive so they dropped them on some items as well.

          Taco Bell is TOTALLY different in many ways now than what it was in each decade. They use all soft flour tortillas, the chips are different, the beans are different and the sauces are different.

          I go there once in a blue moon any more.

          1. re: I got nothin

            I missed the old Mexican Pizza, now they cover it with some kind of BBQ sauce which I don't like

          2. re: ns1

            The nachos of today ARE the nachos of yesteryear!

            1. re: ns1

              When I was a kid in the '70's, Taco bell was still owned by Glen Bell, and the food was excellent. Taco shells were fried at the store in coconut oil; the higher-grade meat was cooked on a grill; and the non-dehydrated beans were prepared with lard.

              Now it's dog food and so over-salted that it's inedible. It's a shame, because they could be doing it right.

              1. re: stevel6

                Hi Steve16,

                You just concurred with what I have been saying for a long time. Yes TB was real ,healthy, and ecstasy to the tongue once upon a time. Coconut oil is very healthy, along with natural leaf lard.
                Today's TB is not Taco Bell. Far far from it. Ask the Korean owners.....

                1. re: HUNGRYMAN8

                  I tied to read the postscand like you noyiced they wete femoved. Anyway I told him his remarks and verbage resembled that of a PR consultant and with nearly 800 followers here that we cant be wing and the he should take our constructive criticisms bacck to his corperate hadlers and make the apropiate changes to their "recipes" if they want our buisness back

              2. I think I just didn't know any better when I was much younger in the '90s.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I wasn't sure either until I recently had a taco at Rick's Drive-In and realized, _this_ is the (gringo) taco I fell in love with in the early 90's, when the first Taco Bell opened in NYC.

                  1. re: Peripatetic

                    Note: Rick's Drive-In is a fast food joint in Pasadena, CA. I made the reference before this thread was moved from the LA board to Chains.

                2. I remember when back in the late 80's Taco Bell started to (re-)expand to the DC market. They a a ~$1 steak soft taco where the meat was recognizably steak. Similarly they had great chicken soft taco. I used to live near one and had to bring bags of these whenever I went to somebody's house. Ahh, those were the days. Now, not so much. Probably not all.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: bigterp1

                    I went recently and asked for a Fiesta steak taco. The woman says "you mean beef?", I said yes. I got ground beef. Online they are supposed to carry steak. Haven't felt like going back since, but if I do, I'm sticking to chicken.

                    1. re: libgirl2

                      Steak. Beef. Chicken. Three different prices on the menu.

                      Look at the cash register when they place your order. You will know what they charged for and what you will get.

                      Steak is on the menu.

                      1. re: libgirl2

                        The Taco Bell near me has steak. Surprised that the one near you does not.

                    2. I just wish they still had the bell burger/bellbeefer, I really liked those!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                        There is at least one in the LA area that still makes them. It isn't on the menu, but if you ask for it, you can get one.

                        1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                          The ex-Naugles 'bun taco' at Del Taco is very similar. You will have to ask for it (a so-called secret menu item :-\ ) and some locations may not make it. Tariff is about $2.

                        2. Definitely different. I'd probably go there once in a while if they still had olives and scallions.

                          3 Replies
                            1. re: ToxicJungle

                              I loved the Burrito Supreme as a kid - sour cream, tons of olives, tomatoes and green onions inside. Alas...

                              1. re: HillsofBeverly

                                Me too! This is why I make my own at home. Recipe below:

                                refrigerated flour tortilla (large) warmed in microwave under damp paper towel for 50 seconds on high

                                Place refried beans thinned w/water and heated with a teaspoon of lard on one side-amount to your liking. Then add seasoned real ground beef (recipe described in previous post), a few chopped sweet white onion, a little enchilada sauce drizzled, chopped tomatoes, then shredded lettuce, then shredded mild cheddar cheese, then some regular sour cream, then some sliced black olives. Roll and fold one side only in keeping one end open. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds if you like.
                                ENJOY!