In the spring of 2007, I first laid my feet on the American soil. I was young, fresh out of undergrad college and dreaming of a bright future in the field of Computers. It was right at that time that my love affair with Taco Bell started. I still remember the first time I went there. Arlington, TX was really cold that year and people reported that it had snowed in Texas after ages. I had 3 roommates that shared a small apartment with me in Forest Glen, the housing unit of college itself. It was the first time I was away from home and nobody to look after me. My roommates cooked some good food everyday but I had always been a foodie and after munching on the same lentils and rice, I desperately wanted to go out and eat. I gathered my roomies, we put on our bulky jackets and started walking in the snow to get to the nearest Taco Bell that was a mere 0.5 miles from our residence. I had heard from my cousin that it was the cheapest food that a college student with limited bucks could gorge on. We were excited and nervous about what we would order and talked about the faint knowledge that each of us had about mexican food.
This Taco bell on 1316 S Cooper St was pretty huge with a large parking lot in the front. We walked in and were greeted by the person at the cash register. I fumbled with the cash in my pocket, trying to decide what to pick from the list of combos. Finally, I decided on a combo with chalupa, large drink and ordered a side on Cheesy Fiesta Potato. It was funny as I walked to the cash register and the person is like “For here or To go?” and I was like “Yes”. He again asked the question and finally gave up thinking it is better to just hand us the trays as I’ll never be able to understand what those terms are.
We filled our drink cups and that was the first time I was alone with a large cup of soda. The notion of free Refills was difficult to digest as a small glass of soda in India seemed really costly with no refills at that time. I applied Fire sauce on the insides of my Chalupa and boy was it good… After a week of eating the same food again and again or cooking up some dismal dishes at home, this was such a welcome relief. The cheesy fiesta potatoes were so good and just a buck!! Needless to say, I also filled up my drink on the way back and had to keep switching hands because the cold would freeze my fingers holding the cold container.
Later on, Taco Bell was my retreat from boring home cooked meal, taking my to-be wife for the first time on a date at 8:00 am after playing cards all night or when I just craved some good hot mexican food. One fine day, Taco Bell introduced Volcano sauce and man that volcano burrito is the coolest thing on the Taco Bell menu. I have tried almost all of the veggie offerings on the menu and some are interesting where as some are just plain torture… I love the volcano burrito, Crunchwrap supreme, Nacho Cheese Chalupa, Mexican Pizza, Apple Empanada or their cheese Quesadillas… I keep switching between them but I still love to go there once a week or more often. People drift away from Taco Bell once they start earning or just stop loving it, however I am still a loyal fan of the joint. They keep amazing me with stuff e.g. cheesy gordito wrap which consists of a thick chalupa wrapped outside a hard taco shell… I have never been good at eating Tacos as once you take a bite, it would start breaking, spilling stuff all around and ending with messy fingers. However, this soft but thick shell outside the taco meant less spills and no breakage in the taco within… EUREKA!!!!
I do have noticed that Taco Bell is pretty inconsistent with their quality unlike the other big chains… I ordered a volcano burrito 2 weeks ago in San Bruno and there was no crunchy chips nor proper volcano sauce and the tortilla just felt empty. I had one at the same joint and today it was a completely different story, tasted much better, seemed fresh and was filled really well with the ingredients. Also, when Taco Bell and KFC are at the same outlet, it is usually a mess and I avoid going to that Taco Bell… It would be stinky, dirty and overall a dirty place but like I mentioned earlier they do tend to be really crappy in enforcing proper franchise rules and regulations. I hope they keep coming up with more spicy and tasty mexican treats ending up with better look and feel of the franchise stores 🙂