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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Doritos Tacos at Taco Bell (now with "Cool Ranch")

The Saga Continues

IMPORTANT NOTE: This entry has been updated several times and reads in reverse chronological order.

UPDATE (March 7, 2013): Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos are available today at Taco Bell, presumably all locations.

UPDATE (February 13, 2013): Have just been sent info from Taco Bell that the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos will be available in all (or most?) locations on March 7th.

Description: TB_Stacked_B&W for Template Docs   


THIS IS HAPPENING: COOL Ranch Doritos® locos tacoS TO arrive in taco bell® restaurants MARCH 7

Fans Asked For It – and Now Taco Bell’s Most Successful Menu Item Ever
Will be Joined by Fan-Favorite Cool Ranch

IRVINE, Calif., Feb. 13, 2013 – When Taco Bell® launched Doritos® Locos Tacos in 2012, it quickly became the company’s most successful product launch ever, selling more than 350 million in less than a year. While Taco Bell lovers couldn’t get enough of the Doritos Nacho Cheese taco shell combined with the company’s classic crunchy taco ingredients, it wasn’t long before fans turned to social media and asked “when is Doritos Cool Ranch coming?”
On March 7, 2013, Doritos Cool Ranch fans won’t have to wait any longer. Today Taco Bell announced it will launch another soon-to-be blockbuster Doritos flavor to the Doritos Locos Tacos line-up: Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos. The announcement was made today directly to Taco Bell’s most ardent fans across social and digital media channels, and via a six-second Vine video announcement, the first-ever product announcement made by Taco Bell using the Vine platform.
            “There has been enormous interest in the new Cool Ranch flavor of Doritos Locos Tacos and people are wondering why it took so long,” said Greg Creed, chief executive officer, Taco Bell Corp. “Originally we had planned to launch the Cool Ranch flavor in the same year as the introduction of Doritos Locos Tacos. However, the demand for Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos was so strong that we worked closely with our partner Frito-Lay to increase our capacity and meet the needs of both Doritos Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese fans.”
Taco Bell plans to support the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos launch with its largest marketing campaign in history, topping the launch of the original Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos. Specific details of the marketing campaign will be released in the coming weeks. To gain consumer feedback and ensure the taco shell delivered on the same Cool Ranch taste and crunch consumers expect from Doritos, Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos were tested in select restaurants in Toledo, Ohio for more than six months. To join in the conversation and keep in-the-know about Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos, fans can tweet @TacoBell using #CoolRanchDLT and by staying tuned to
About Cool Ranch Doritos® Locos Tacos
Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos features a shell made out of Doritos Cool Ranch chips on the outside, filled with the classic tastes of the Taco Bell crunchy taco on the inside: 100 percent premium seasoned beef, crisp shredded lettuce and real cheddar cheese. Available exclusively at participating Taco Bell restaurants nationwide beginning March 7, 2013, the suggested retail price for the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos is $1.39 (160 calories; 10g total fat) and $1.69 for a Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme (200 calories; 12g total fat) with reduced-fat sour cream and diced tomatoes. A Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos $5 Buck Box will include a Doritos Locos Taco Supreme, Burrito Supreme®, Crunchy Taco and a medium fountain drink. For people looking for lower-calorie, lower-fat options, Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos will be available Fresco Style with 140 calories and 7g total fat. For complete nutritional information after March 7, visit
About Taco Bell Corp.
Taco Bell Corp., a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., (NYSE: YUM), is the nation's leading Mexican-inspired quick service restaurant. Taco Bell serves made to order and customizable tacos, burritos, and specialties such as the exclusive Doritos® Locos Tacos, gourmet inspired Cantina Bell® Menu and lower calorie Fresco Menu. The company encourages customers to “Live Más,” both through its food and in ways such as its Feed the Beat® music program and nonprofit organization, the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens. Taco Bell and its more than 350 franchise organizations have nearly 6,000 restaurants across the United States that proudly serve more than 36 million customers every week.
Follow:           @TacoBell

UPDATE (Late late March 8): Oh, man, this nutty Doritos taco saga just isn't ending. One of my brothers texted me about an hour ago and asked if I knew that I had been on TV. I thought he was just talking about seeing footage on the Register website but it turns out that that footage made it to Jon Stewart's Daily Show on Comedy Central where my statement at the launch party last night was featured as the nightly "Moment of Zen:"
My take on this is that I had actually had these tacos about a year and a half ago so I already knew what they were like and you can see below what my description is. The long and the short of it is that these things are Taco Bell tacos where the shell tastes like a Doritos chip. That is it. If you know what both of those taste like then you know what this new taco taste likes. So, a few days ago Nancy invited me to the launch party and I figured I would go. Two free tacos? Sure, I'll stoop to that. Free t-shirts and beanies at the end? Yeah, I'm fine with that too. When I arrived a videographer from The Register came up to me and said that she was planning on taping me taking my first bite and then asking me what I thought of it. This scared me in several different ways: First, I don't do well even for still photos so I am even worse on video; second, I had already tried these before so I already knew what they tasted like; and, third, there really is not that much to say about them. But then the videographer took off and I got occupied with the whole festive atmosphere there. I talked to some of the Taco Bell reps too and they were all very nice and one of them even asked me if I knew of any good Mexican restaurants around. It was very refreshing to see that they don't think of Taco Bell as the end-all and be-all of Mexican food because I always had the impression before that that is how they thought.
A while later when the tacos were being served I got my taco and started opening it up when the Register's video person came back to me and said, "Wait! I need to get video of you taking your first bite." So I ended up like a deer caught in the headlights. I really didn't know what to say. After I took my first bite and they asked me how it was I blurted out, "It's like the biggest Doritos chip ever." Actually they took more video than that but that's what ended up on The Daily Show so that's all that really matters. I guess I inadvertently created a zen moment.
If you're a Mexican restaurant in Orange County and you want me to provide strangely profound commentary on your food then I am open to it. I just prefer to do it in writing next time. The real star of the video above is that Matt Bustamante guy.

UPDATE (Early early March 8): Just got back from the official launch party held at a Taco Bell location in the city of Orange. The party was sponsored by Nancy Luna, the famous Fast Food Maven blogger and reporter for The Orange County Register. About 50 of her invited guests were able to come and sample the new, inventive taco two hours before its launch to the general public at a rare midnight unveiling. Goodies such as t-shirts, beanies and key chains were also given out. For now only the Nacho Cheese kind is available but the Cool Ranch variety is expected to be released later this year. See Nancy's coverage of this event here where it is hinted that other Doritos flavors in addition to Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch may be used as Taco Bell taco shells in the future.
Cost: $1.29 for regular or $1.69 for supreme.

Here's the update from July 25, 2011: The Taco Bell near me that tries out test items is now selling Doritos Locos tacos again, this time with the much-fantasized about "Cool Ranch" version (seriously, do a search and you'll see a bunch of sites where people talk about how they heard Taco Bell was trying out a taco with a shell made out of Nacho Cheese Doritos and then they go on to talk about how awesome it'd be if they made a Cooler Ranch version . . . but then they also go on to talk about how that will probably never happen; well, it's happened):


You might ask if they are good. The answer to that is: yes, if you like eating Taco Bell tacos and then munching on Doritos right after that. Now your eating habits will be more efficient. It's like when Will Ferrell was asked at the beginning of "Land of the Lost" why he was eating a doughnut with M&M's on it. His reply? "This way I don't have to eat M&M's when I'm done with my doughnut." So, you see, it all makes perfect sense. My prediction is that Taco Bell's next taco will already have the Pepsi or the Mountain Dew in it. (UPDATE: have found out that there was a Doritos flavor called X-12 before that was actually Mountain Dew flavor so maybe my idea will happen if they use those as taco shells later.)


Here's the original entry from April 14, 2011:



Soooo... back in September 2010 I'm driving by a Taco Bell and see a poster at their drive-thru menu board for Doritos Locos Tacos. I pull in, take a picture of the poster, try one of the tacos, mention it on Twitter and then never hear about the item again. Now in April 2011 the web is abuzz with everyone talking about these crazy things as though it's a brand new thing. Apparently somebody else even mentioned it a couple months before I did so I wasn't the first one but now these things are appearing at Taco Bells in Ohio and people are making videos of it and creating Facebook fan pages for it, etc. I guess when an item goes this viral then it's time for Taco Bell to put it in all their stores.


And what's my verdict on the Doritos taco shell at Taco Bell? If I remember it correctly from eight months ago I think I kind of liked it. If you want powdery, spicy stuff all over the outside of your taco and all over your fingers then track this puppy down. And for now that could mean going to Ohio (unless somebody can point out where it can be found behind the Orange Curtain). And, yes, it'd be interesting to see them do this with other Doritos flavors, such as "new" taco flavor in the retro bag:


Monday, March 05, 2012

OC Menus March 2012 Cover Story

A few weeks back I was approached by Sheryll Alexander of Churm Media for help writing a piece on "new" Mexican food in Orange County for OC Menus, a special feature which shows up every quarter in OC Metro. Her article is available online here (probably better for desktop viewing) and here (probably better for mobile viewing). And if it's not available in print yet then it should be very soon.

Excerpts from my submission were used in the article so I am including my full submission here, but don't let that stop you from reading Sheryll's article however you can get it because it has a ton of supplementary info.

1. What is "new" Mexican food in your opinion?

It is food that holds its own and is capable of playing on the world's culinary stage. It combines a passion for quality preparation with intriguing presentation. It respects decades and centuries of Mexican family cooking traditions while adding a pizazz that is likely to come only from a professionally trained background. It may draw inspiration from other ethnic cuisine but always retains its character as Mexican food.

Why is it popular?

It combines the tried and the true with a sense of adventure. You can be safe and daring at the same time with it.

What do OCers LOVE about it?

It simultaneously satisfies their desires for elegant food while also tying into some of the cultural heritage of the county.

2. What are some of the trends in "new" Mexican food? What do you see as for the future?

Since starting my blog over six years ago I have seen an increasing shift amongst Mexican restaurants in the county towards sustainable, local and organic food. I would like to see this trend continue as well as unrelenting innovation. I believe we will also see chefs who got their starts on food trucks open up restaurants and become celebrity chefs themselves. This will bolster the impression that Mexican food doesn't have to just be street vendor food (though it certainly can be that), but can also be high class and elegant.

3. What are your favorite "new" Mexican restaurants/food trucks? Why?

My kneejerk reaction is to list Taco Rosa, Gabbi's and Sol Cocina at the top. Taco Rosa was one of the first places that gave me the idea that a plate of Mexican food could be something other than varying shades of brown. Gabbi and her husband are often traveling around Mexico doing food research and then returning to the US to enhance their menu accordingly. Chef Deb at Sol Cocina brings authentic Baja to dockside Newport Beach, creating a perfect hybrid of both worlds. In North County Matador Cantina and Cha Cha's Latin Kitchen are worthy of note. I was saddened by the loss of the eccentric Kantina (they had a great watermelon-queso fresco appetizer) and the more recent loss of the noble Taleo. I'm also looking forward to trying the new South of Nick's in San Clemente. As far as trucks go Taco Maria as well as Tamarindo Truck and Soho Taco are great places to start if you want "not-so-ordinary" Mexican food from a mobile vendor.

4. Please paste a short bio and description of your blog here:

California LA/OC native who had an even more adventurous dad who was always fearlessly trying new foods. An Irvine-based web developer I began the OC Mex Food blog in late 2005 to report on a kind of food I had been eating my whole life. According to the motto of the blog I cover "from taco trucks to fine dining . . . and everything in between."