On Super Bowl Sunday, the imperial overlords at Taco Bell unveiled the Quesalupa, a portmant-food that, if the press release is to be trusted, marks “the first time in Taco Bell history that a quesadilla and a chalupa are coming together.”
What a time to be alive!(?)
This new product was introduced by a number of region-specific commercials aimed at rousing consumers into manic TB frenzies. Here in the Twin Cities, social media key-tappers were sent into a tizzy at the sight of beloved local comedian and pitchman Fancy Ray ripping Quesalupas out of vinyl sleeves at Treehouse Records.
The scheme will likely pave the way for more corporations to pillage locally tuned heartstrings in search of social media buzz and the profits that can be raked in its wake. Picture former Mayor R.T. Rybak getting juiced on a Bowflex. Dessa enjoying an Activia yogurt at Calhoun Beach. Scott Seekins wildin’ out on a Chick-fil-A sandwich.
But is this quasi-taco worthy of the marketing fireworks that heralded its arrival? Will the Quesalupa become a menu staple like the Doritos Locos, Double Deckers, and Crunchwraps before it? Or will it fizzle out like the underwhelming Enchirito of yore? Will it cure our collective Seasonal Affective Disorder? And finally, WTF does it taste like? Is it “good”?
These questions rose within us like a tide in tsunami until we simply could no longer focus on our daily tasks. To the Taco Bell in the Quarry!
Quesalupa 1. Steak edition.
My car is parked approximately 200 yards from the Party City entrance when I get my first good look at the future of faux-Mexican cuisine. The outside of the ‘lupa is akin to the chalupa of its origin though a little softer, a little less greasy, and with fewer dead skin-like flakes. Freed of its surrounding foil-paper prison, the Quesalupa sits atop a little cardboard pedestal. Otherwise it’s visually on par with every other taco-shaped item TB has churned out.
I take as big of a bite as I can muster to experience all the flavor profiles melding together at once: Quesadilla. Chalupa. Steak.
After a few very slow chews I relax my jaw and let the Quesalupa rest on my tongue like a beautiful nude beach-goer basking in the summer sun. My taste buds are like a million tiny aroused nipples aching to enter this embrace in perpetuity. I swallow. A Mountain Dew Baja Blast is sent in service of the Quesalupa and they pair like an impeccably smoked salmon and fine Ancona Pinot Noir.
A deep sense of comfort is setting in that makes me feel as though I were the warm gooey center of a hypothetical universe’s chalupa-like casing.
I finish the remainder of the Quesalupa and rest.
Steak Quesalupa Letter Grade: A
Quesalupa 2. Chicken edition.
A funny thing happens when I bite into the second Quesalupa. The brain sends a message to the body that reads something like “RU full bb?” And it’s true. I’m getting there. Yet I beat on, buds against the current, borne ceaselessly into Yum Town.
This little guy requires a bit more Baja Blast than its steak predecessor. These “tacos” are huge. Certainly it’s the largest collection of Taco Bell calories I’ve ordered without the digestive aid of being shithoused. Some of the novelty is wearing off and the Quesalupa begins to taste like an amalgamation of previously available Taco Bell products.
As I finish the second Quesalupa I notice the little YMCA fob on my keychain and remember that I haven’t worked out in two months and how lazy and tired I’ve been lately and how I haven’t called my mom back and all of a sudden I’m arriving at this Lynchian moment of clarity. It’s like waking up from a weird dream and pondering its meaning for a moment before lucidity strikes and you realize you’re stuck in the same shitty nightmare of a life rut you’ve suffered through for years and really how much regret can one person handle?
After a moment of repose I take a long drink of Baja Blast which is only available at Taco Bell.
Chicken Quesalupa Letter Grade: B+
Quesalupa 3. Beef edition.
The Quesalupa’s stock is plummeting.
Remember when Fancy Ray split the Quesalupa open and there were the tendrils of cheese connecting the two halves of shell like a stretched-out queso accordion or the connected flesh between broken bones? I think about this after taking a little nibble out of my third ‘lupa and decide to recreate the moment in my car.
Information that will soon become important: I’ve already loaded this son of a bitch with three packets of Fire sauce.
So I’ve got one hand on the phone with the camera app open and I’m also using two fingers of that same hand to crack open the Quesalupa. The thing doesn’t split like I planned, instead it pretty much explodes with beef and Fire sauce spilling straight into my lap and onto the driver’s seat. To make matters worse I drop my phone right into the beef and Fire sauce bloodbath — screen down.
I want to clean up the mess but I’m so close to being done with this article I decide to instead eat the remaining halves in haste. Now I’m outside Party City shoveling out Quesalupa entrails from my driver's seat onto in the snowy salty parking lot below.
It is nice that they give you so many napkins. I wonder if they give everyone this many or if Taco Bell thought all the Quesalupas I ordered were for different people or maybe others have made these kinds of mistakes and the napkins are like an insurance policy.
Perhaps the extra napkins were for my tears.
Beef Quesalupa Letter Grade: D
I feel like a sad bloated cow. The final sensation that accompanies dusting off three Quesalupas in a Party City parking lot ranks somewhere between a 4-Loko hangover and getting broken up with via Facebook messenger.
Final Quesalupa grade: B-