Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Back to Basics: The Crunchwrap

It's been a whirlwind of a week, I know: two nights of new Grey's Anatomy, Dubya taking to the airwaves, and The Onion blowing it up last week.

So I am going to take a deep breath and remember what this blog is all about. Breathe in. Bean burritoes. Breathe Out. Crunchwrap. In. 7-layer burritoes. Out. Mild Sauce. In. Beans. Beans. Beans. Out. Cheese Cheese Cheese.

Feeling better? Feeling hungry?

okay. so has the tagline "serious about snacks". they ain't joking. i want to freelance for them, too, but it probably doesn't pay. hmmm....i should look into that.

anyway, here is a review on the crunchwrap--written soon after the reintroduction of the crunchwrap. Reviewer Keith Shaw, secretary of snacks, gets some things just right. but others--not so much. we'll discuss. first:

Geometry and tacos together at last
By Keith ShawSecretary of Snacks


I used to think that Taco Bell tries too hard to find new ways to present new variations of either the taco or the burrito. I mean, really, do people need to eat a Gordita?

But with last year's Crunchwrap Supreme, they hit a home run by taking a basic Taco Supreme (taco meat, lettuce, tomato, sour cream), replacing the grated cheese with nacho cheese sauce, adding a crunchy taco shell and then wrapping the whole thing up in a flour tortilla. But the flour wrapper isn't just a pretty covering — it's actually folded into a nice hexagon and then "grilled" so that the shape holds its form.

I had two experiences with the Crunchwrap Supreme when it first came out — one good and one bad. The bad experience happened when the people at the Taco Bell overgrilled the flour tortilla and it gave a burnt taste to the whole thing. (Advice: If the tortilla looks burned, ask for one that isn't grilled as much.)

But then Taco Bell stopped selling the Crunchwrap, causing us great grief for a few months.

Luckily, the item is back at Taco Bell restaurants (as well as the KFC/Taco Bell, our favorite fast-food marriage of companies). But we don't know for how long, so if you've got a Jones for one, better head out now.

So why do I love the Crunchwrap Supreme? Generally, I've always enjoyed the regular Taco Supreme, as it's basically a taco with the addition of sour cream. With the Crunchwrap, replacing the regular grated cheese with a nacho cheese sauce was brilliant — more cheese equals more enjoyment in my book.

Secondly, holding the Crunchwrap Supreme in your hands is pretty easy to do, you basically start at the top and work your way down. This also holds has more structural integrity than a regular taco — I've yet to figure out a way to eat a taco from the side without having the filling spill out onto my plate. It's easier to keep all the meaty and cheesy goodness inside the protective tortilla wrapper without having everything end up on your tray.

Now, Taco Bell suggests in its advertising that the hexagon-shaped Crunchwrap Supreme is "Good to Go," which means you can take it on the run with you (and eat it in the car). I'd warn against that — the Crunchwrap is really too big to hold in one hand without risk of the filling spilling out. Take my advice — eat with two hands, and slowly work your way from the top downward.

One last bit of wisdom: Don't make the rookie mistake of ordering something else too, unless you're really, really hungry. The first few times, I ordered the additional items of nachos or an extra taco to go with the Crunchwrap Supreme. I was full before I got to the halfway point of the hexagon. If you finish the 569-calorie Crunchwrap Supreme and are still hungry, then go up and order the other food items. It would be tragic to have to throw out any leftover Crunchwrap Supremes.

Bonus item: If you love the Crunchwrap Supreme as much as I do, you'll want to show the world your love by creating your own T-Shirt. The Taco Bell Interweb site has a design that lets you create such an item.

Reasons I would be friends with Keith Shaw (if he didn't have such a terrible first name):

1. he called it: you cannot eat this sucker in the car, whilst driving. I can barely eat a simple bean burrito in the car without napkins in full force. as previously discussed, one handing the crunchwrap is impossible. we don't even need to consider doing this while at the wheel.
2. along with this notation, keith explains how to eat a crunchwrap. this advice might seem odd to people who haven't had the crunchwrap but those who have can appreciate the inclusion of instructions.
3. he admits the packaging of the crunchwrap, tortilla style, is "pretty".
4. he calls TB out on the foolishness of the "gordita". who eats that?
5. he did some research (i.e. the t-shirt)
6. he likes cheese a lot.

Reasons I am okay with not knowing Keith:

1. he likes the nacho cheese more than the shredded cheese. this calls into question his proclamation of the more cheese the better. he's a quanity, not quality person. yikes.
2. he thinks the TB/KFC pairing is great.
3. he's a wimp: one crunchwrap isn't going to be enough. that's not jonesing on the crunchwrap--it is wonderful but please. you CANNOT order one item at Taco Bell and think you've had a full meal. even if you are full, you CANNOT order one item because there is too much goodness to order. quality and quanity, keith. come on now. you are living up to your name.


Blogger anne altman said...

forgive me, but who is keith shaw again?

brava on a great and thorough post. honestly, i had no idea that beans, sauce, cheese,etc. could fill the pages as remarkably as they do.

incidentally, i found the picture you took of me and whipcreamy, maybe sabs, at Taco Bell Burlington VT. Might be post worthy.

12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

hell yeah! the only TB in vermont--the one that is going to cater erin's wedding--the one that has brought us quite a few thought provoking moments--definitely worth posting.

keith shaw is a nobody. i hate the name keith, as you know. i just made him a somebody, i guess.

1:15:00 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

Speaking of TB/KFC... have you seen the heart attack in a bowl KFC is promoting? I am Southern and I love junk food but this thing makes even me get ill just thinking about it. I wish I knew the name but It is something like mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, maybe some meat on top with cheese and gravy. Arguhhhhh.
P.S. I feel I know Anne Altman now. Hello. Your sister Erin is fantastic.

3:14:00 PM  
Blogger anne altman said...

why thank you, ashley! i think so too.

3:32:00 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

anne, rememeber when i told you that one morning, i was sitting around with some friends and we got to talking about upstairs neighbors and all had read somewhere about a neighbor who vacuumed all the time but were stumped as to where we all read this bit and what exactly we read but knew it had been funny. ashley was one of those friends.

3:33:00 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

Right - I had read your blog. Don't worry, I'm not scary. Just bored at work. Actually I just caught up on Erin's blog. The poop one got pretty gross and graphic. I gotta respond.

3:39:00 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

i need to add--that vacuum thing was anne's bit, of course.

blog friends!

3:50:00 PM  

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