A Food for Our Times: The Taco Bell Doritos Locos Taco
Taco Bell debuted in Downey, California in 1962. That was back when you could actually establish a new business in the people's republic without being regulatorily hammered to death or run off to Texas.
Frito-Lay launched its Doritos tortilla chips in the 1960s before releasing Nacho Cheese Doritos into the wild, in 1971. The majority of Americans alive today never knew a world that did not include both Taco Bell and Nacho Cheese Doritos.
Put those dates together and one thing becomes clear: The world should have had cheap greasy hard shell tacos with a nacho cheese flavored patina available in every nook and cranny of this great land a very long time ago. Why it took so long is a mystery.
For lunch today I decided to end my lifetime of doing without, by taking on three of these new fusion tacos. They come in two versions, the Doritos Locos Taco, and the Doritos Locos Taco Supreme, the difference being that the Supreme includes tomatoes and sour cream. I like my tomatoes but don't care for sour cream on a taco, so I went for the purer version. Straight, no sour cream chaser.
Be forewarned: You will get dirty eating the Doritos Locos. There's no avoiding it. Tacos by themselves tend to be messy. Then add the orange dusting your fingers get when you munch Nacho Cheese Doritos. Try not to think about what the whole concoction is doing to your insides. If you did that, you wouldn't be at Taco Bell at all.
The Doritos Locos is a very good Taco Bell taco. How could it not be? The nacho cheese dust around the outside just makes sense. They could tone down the nacho cheese flavor a little bit, but the whole idea works. It's a combination of two of the best worst foods Americans have ever come up with.
If it succeeds, the Doritos Locos is probably a sign of things to come. Doritos debuted as a simple tortilla chip, but has since become a cuisine all its own. Doritos' web site lists 18 flavors. There have actually been more than 100 varieties of Doritos released on an unsuspecting but grateful world. Taco Bell and Frito-Lay can take their time, going through the flavors and releasing taco versions of them every six months or so or maybe in complementary pairings. Some of the most exotic, like Coconut Curry and Crispy Salmon, never saw action in the US and are unlikely to work at all. But Fiery Jalapeno? Habanero/Guacamole? Cool Ranch?
Oh yes. Bring 'em on. Bring. Them. On.