In this semi-regular feature, The Big Lead staff will sample and review delicacies from fast food establishments, ballparks, or anywhere else that triggers thoughts and feelings.
Warning: the Fast Food singularity rapidly approaches, that is, if it’s not already here. How else to explain McDonald’s cannibalizing its own menu with crummy chicken fingers when its McNuggets are already amazing? Or the whole KFC/Taco Bell/Pizza Hut thing. Or how once upon a time when Burger King briefly sold tacos on its dollar menu. Sooner, rather than later, we’re going to have a catch-all place called, I dunno, Fast Food ‘R Us, where you can get everything from a double cheeseburger to a grilled chicken salad to fish ‘n chips to a specialty burrito to everything in between from the same drive-thru window.
It’ll be glorious and awful all that the same time.
That’s my way of questioning the existence of Taco Bell’s new Chickstar … sandwich? Wrap? Foodstuff?
When you think “fast food chicken sandwich” I’m not so sure two pieces of fried chicken strips stuffed in a tortilla, flattened and topped with lettuce, diced tomato, shredded orange cheese and sauce is what comes to mind — admittedly I don’t think outside the bun, by default. There is no sense splitting hairs, given how the Internet likes to debate what is or is not a sandwich for reasons beyond my realm of cognitive comprehension.
A pointless debate in this case is silly. Taco Bell is its own category of food: Taco Bell.
The company’s food engineers and design teams could — I’m not saying this is a good idea — slap the aforementioned lettuce, diced tomato and shredded orange cheese and put it on top of a hot dog and start selling it. Maybe throw in some refried beans, a drizzle of sour cream and call it a “supreme.” Everybody wins (and loses).
But I digress.
The point here is to tell you whether or not the Chickstar is worth your time, money and empty calories. The answer here is a definite, hard … maybe.
Here’s what it looked like unwrapped on the tray, not unlike the standard issue Taco Bell Crunchwrap:
PROS: Very easy to eat, especially if you’re driving. … The chicken was crispy and not entirely flavorless, by processed fast food standards, although I didn’t get the sense there were tortilla chips, as advertised, in the breading. … My stomach didn’t feel like the Battle of Bull Run immediately afterward.
CONS: The pink-ish chipotle sauce was ordinary and indistinguishable from Subway Southwest sauce. A dollop of honey, as seen on the TB breakfast tacos would have been ideal. … If we’re calling this a sandwich, it was fairly unsubstantial, more of a snack than a lunch item. … Nothing about this, despite Taco Bell’s holy trio of toppings, screamed out Tex-Mex cuisine, but let’s be honest Taco Bell long ago threw out any vestige of authenticity.
As long as we’re content to call the Chickstar a wrap and compared it to similar chicken wrap items from McDonald’s or Wendy’s, then it’s probably worth it. The combo, which included a drink and regular taco ran me about $7 which is borderline-decent value considering Subway’s tasteless footlongs are $6 or more. Compared to the other fast food chicken wraps, it tasted a little better — the tortilla itself is far superior to McDonald’s wrap. As a mid-afternoon snack or lunch-on-the-go, it’s mostly viable.
Fourth meal remains Taco Bell’s raison d’être and I’m not such that under those circumstances and elements the Chickstar is something I’m going to rush to put into my body — consequences be damned — given the other choices on the ever-evolving menu.
[Photos via @Me]