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#GarbageTime with Taco Bell's Double Stacked Tacos

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I Ate Oklahoma is brought to you in part by:

#GarbageTime is I Ate Oklahoma’s exploration of awful-sounding fast food dishes. Lobster from Long John Silver’s? A Big Mac that is bigger than normal? A taco made entirely of burritos? We’re there!

Word came down last August that Taco Bell was revamping its Dollar Menu and, predictably, people freaked out. The culling was brutal, but—like controlled burns in a forest—it will allow new Dollar Menu items to flourish. 

Most recently, the chain introduced three versions of the $1 Double Stacked Tacos. This is extremely confusing, as Taco Bell sells non-Double Stacked Tacos for $1.29, which kind of makes you wonder: how does adding more food make the tacos worth 29 cents less?

Well, I tried all three of them and a regular taco, to boot, so I can tell you.

A Taco

A regular Taco Bell taco is maybe the unsexiest order out there, unless you’re one of those unhinged lunatics who gets a bean burrito sans onions and red sauce. But there’s a beauty to its simplicity. Beef picadillo on the bottom—yes, the style in which Taco Bell makes its beef is actually similar to real Mexican food—with shredded lettuce and cheese on top, surrounded by a crispy taco shell that, on its best day, is barely up to the job of containing the other three ingredients. 

“Bro, it’s 2020. Are you not Supreme-ing your tacos?”

No, bro. I am not. For one thing, I refuse the very premise that adding sour cream and tomatoes makes anything “Supreme.” Secondly, if I want more flavor, I’ll use the free sauce packets. 

Flavor: You know. A Taco Bell taco.

Besides, for just 29 cents less, I can have these “flavors”:

I took this picture in my car.

Nacho Crunch Double Stacked Taco

Dearest Taco Bell,

What must I do, as your friend and lover, to convince you that putting red chip strips into tacos, burritos, etc. does not, in fact, make them “nacho.”

Generally, the chips are the least-consequential part of nachos. In your case particularly, your chips are a delivery device at best. Nobody is opting to throw away the cheese and just chow down on your weird small tortilla chips. 

Okay, outside-in, this is what you get: Flour tortilla, nacho cheese, crispy corn shell, beef, red chip strips, lettuce, cheese. 

As you’ll note from the pictures, there’s not a lot of visual pizzazz with these tacos. The only real difference here is the red chip strips. 

Flavor: Dull, in a very familiar way.

This one, too.

Chipotle Cheddar Double Stacked Taco

While I applaud the lack of red chip strips here, I am appalled at what Taco Bell considers “innovation.” Because this is basically the exact same as the Nacho Crunch, but swapping in chipotle cream sauce for the chip strips. 

There’s a little smokiness to the flavor, but it’s hard to find against the more potent and recognizable nacho cheese that’s supposed to be gluing the soft and crispy shells together. Even the way you eat this puts the nacho on the palate first, relegating the chipotle flavor to an aftertaste. If you’re lucky, you’ll really taste it when you burp. 

I hope you are not really lucky.

Flavor: Slightly less dull and poorly planned.

They weren't going to look pretty no matter what I did, OK?

Reaper Ranch Double Stacked Taco

This, honestly, is the only one that even makes sense to me. The “Reaper Ranch” sauce is like a kicked up Volcano sauce from years back, but with ranch dressing. I know. I know! This is the most Oklahoma thing Taco Bell has ever done and I’m sure it will be a hit.

I don’t know how much Carolina Reaper makes its way into the sauce, but it’s enough to zing me after a few bites. Then I made my son try it, because he loves ranch dressing so much. Oh, man, he’s going to have so much to talk about when starts therapy.

It’s not enough for the chili-heads to get excited, but it’s actually got some heat, if that’s your thing. Most so-called spicy options at fast food restaurants are yawn-inducing, so this was almost a little impressive.

Almost.

Flavor: Actually kind of spicy. And ranch.

If you’re going to get one of the Double Stacked Tacos, I’d go with Reaper Ranch. Otherwise, scrape together the other 29 cents necessary to get a regular taco and call it a day. 

About the Author

Founder and Eater-in-Chief of I Ate Oklahoma, Greg Elwell has been reviewing restaurants and writing about Oklahoma’s food culture for more than a decade. Where a normal person orders one meal, this guy gets three. He is almost certainly going to die young and those who love him most are fairly ambivalent about it. You can email Greg at greg@iateoklahoma.com.

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