Fast Food Review: Taco Bell’s Dollar Cravings Menu

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As more and more fast food chains abandon their dollar menus (I’m looking at you McDonalds), Taco Bell has gone against the grain and officially introduced their Dollar Cravings Menu. The Dollar Cravings Menu contains 11 items for $1 each, although prices may vary. I was not happy really pissed to see my local Taco Bell’s selling the menu items for $1.19, but having grown up in the Northeast, I am used to being overcharged for things. It’s a way of life here. This is also a Taco Bell that doesn’t serve breakfast, but I digress. Putting my complaints aside, I was happy to see that the diverse lineup of the Dollar Cravings Menu items seems to include something for everyone.

Shredded Chicken Mini Quesadilla

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The word “mini” is the key here. This quesadilla measures up to about the size of the folded napkins they give you. It’s not very big at all, but the Shredded Chicken Mini Quesadilla makes for a decent snack or addition to your regular Taco Bell meal. The shredded chicken has a little spice, but this is a very basic chicken quesadilla.

Beefy Mini Quesadilla

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The beef alternative to the Shredded Chicken Mini Quesadilla, the Beefy Mini Quesadilla is full of familiar flavors. Taco Bell’s famous, or infamous, seasoned beef is paired with shredded cheese and creamy chipotle sauce. If you are looking for that classic Taco Bell taste in a snack size the Beefy Mini Quesadilla will certainly hit the spot.

Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito

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“Hearty beans, cilantro rice, warm nacho cheese, and creamy jalapeno sauce wrapped in a flour tortilla.” The Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito offers a vegetarian-friendly option for the budget conscious fan of Taco Bell. There’s nothing special about this item, but the jalapeno sauce provides a little kick and keeps the burrito from being too boring.

Beefy Fritos Burrito

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To say that I am a fan of Fritos chips is a bit of an understatement. For a good portion of my life, and even sometimes today, members of my family referred to me as “Frito”, so those delicious corn chips are running through my veins. I am a huge fan of this burrito, but its deliciousness is entirely dependent on the crispiness of the Fritos. If you let this burrito sit for too long you will be biting into a soggy mess. My advice for those of you that order multiple items is to eat the Beefy Fritos Burrito first to maximize your enjoyment!

Cheese Roll Up

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Possibly the most boring item ever to grace the Taco Bell menu, the Cheese Roll Up offers nothing beyond exactly what it says it is…cheese that is rolled up. I’m sure it’s a big hit among picky people, cheese fanatics, and non lactose intolerant folks, but if you don’t like flavors and spice you probably shouldn’t be eating at a Mexican-style fast food joint to begin with.

Spicy Tostada

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The Spicy Tostada was a new item for me, and I was excited to give it a try. A mashed bean spread, lettuce, cheese, creamy chipotle sauce and tangy red sauce all sit atop a crunchy tostada shell, which is really just a flat crunchy taco shell. The Spicy Tostada packs a lot of great flavor, but my main complaint was the “tangy red sauce”. Fans of Taco Bell, or the blog, will remember this same red sauce from the Smothered Burrito. I thought it was too salty then, and the sauce is still too salty now. Why aren’t they listening to me!? It overpowers the rest of the flavors! Once you move past that, you can actually enjoy the Spicy Tostada quite a bit. Word to the wise: anyone eating their Taco Bell meals in the car will want to skip this item because it can be a bit of mess if you are on the go.

Spicy Potato Soft Taco

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The Spicy Potato Soft Taco is one of my all-time favorite snacks from Taco Bell, so I was ecstatic to see it hit the Dollar Cravings Menu. The crispy cubed potato bites are partnered with shredded cheddar cheese, lettuce and that same creamy chipotle sauce that gives half this menu its bite. The Spicy Potato Soft Taco gives the palate a quick break from the beef/chicken/steak flavor profile that floods the Taco Bell menu while still providing some of the spiciness we expect from Mexican food. I, for one, welcome the change of pace.

Triple Layer Nachos

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The only explanation this item needs is to reveal what makes up the three layers: the tortilla chips in the Triple Layer Nachos are topped with mashed beans, warm nacho cheese, and that blasted tangy red sauce. If you like the tangy red sauce you will enjoy these nachos, but I personally prefer the plain nachos and cheese.

Cinnamon Twists

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As we make our way to the dessert portion of the Dollar Cravings Menu the first stop is in the land of Cinnamon Twists. The Cinnamon Twists are crispy, puffed corn twists that are sprinkled with a sugar and cinnamon dusting. The cheap man’s churro. I’ve been eating Cinnamon Twists for years and they have also been a hit-or-miss item for me. I’ve gotten several batches of Cinnamon Twists that have spent too much time under the heat lamps and have a stale taste. There’s nothing worse than a dessert leaving a bad taste in your mouth, but when the Cinnamon Twists are fresh they are quite the treat!

Cinnabon Delights (2-pack)

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Cinnabon Delights were introduced as 4-packs at the start of the year. Taco Bell has now cut the serving size in half and priced them for a buck! Cinnabon Delights are bite-sized pastries that are filled with the classic Cinnabon frosting and lightly covered in cinnamon sugar. These quick bites pack all the flavors that make full sized Cinnabon rolls so irresistible, but weigh in at a manageable serving size that won’t stretch your waist line…too much!

Caramel Apple Empanada

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Empanadas are stuffed breads or pastries that are either baked or fried. They are very popular in Latin American and Southwestern cuisine, but they have failed to break through the Taco Bell menu. The exception to that statement lies in the Caramel Apple Empanada dessert. This empanada is a crispy pastry pocket filled with diced apples in a warm caramel sauce. The Caramel Apple Empanada is Taco Bell’s answer to the Apple Pie that has graced the McDonald’s menu for years, and in that respect it is a worthy adversary.

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Looking up and down the new Dollar Cravings Menu I have to say that I am pleased with the selection. Taco Bell offers chicken, beef, and vegetarian options. They even include a handful of sweet treats to add to your regular order. You could certainly create a whole meal eating off the Dollar Cravings Menu, something cost conscious consumers have been doing for years at other fast food chains. These new options also provide opportunities to add an extra snack to your regular order.

Have you tried the Dollar Cravings Menu?

Do you have a favorite item?

Let me know in the comments!

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