I Ate Taco Bell’s Entire New Dollar Menu in One Sitting, and Here’s What I Learned

Which ones are worth your Washingtons?

For the record, I don't recommend this.

When Adweek reported yesterday that Taco Bell had rolled out a new dollar menu with nary a TV ad, I felt it was AdFreak's responsibility to bring you vital information about exactly what you can expect from this cornucopia of consumer value.

So I slipped away at lunch and ordered "one of everything on the Dollar Cravings menu." This seemed to cause confusion with the friendly voice taking my order, and a manager suddenly took the mic to ask: "You want one of everything? And this ain't a game?"

No, this was business. Serious business.

They rang me up for the 11 items. I handed over $12.99. And a short drive later, I arrived home with two satisfyingly hefty sacks of warm, damp, processed food. It was time to get started.

First, I decided to spread out and record this bountiful feast:

Perhaps it was my air of supreme confidence that led them to think, "This is a man who's only going to need two napkins. And, hell, three sporks." But god bless 'em, they didn't skimp on the Fire Sauce.

Since I was tackling the project at home, I settled onto the couch with the food arranged before me and fired up an episode of Cosmos featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson, my spirit animal on this fast-food vision quest.

Without further ado, here's my take on each of the items on the new dollar menu. (I've also spared you actual photos of what I ate and instead bring you these delightful promotional images from Taco Bell HQ.)

 

• Beefy Mini Quesadilla

It's more like a melted beef and cheese soft taco than a quesadilla, but it's actually pretty good. Surprisingly spicy thanks to its creamy chipotle sauce, it's one of the few Taco Bell items I can think of in recent memory that didn't require Fire Sauce.

Is it worth $1? Definitely, though without the spicy sauce it would be a 75-center at best.

 

Beefy Fritos Burrito

I assume the goal of adding Fritos to any food is to make it crunchy, but after sitting in their balmy burrito enrobement for 15 minutes or so, these corn chips have begun to break down into a sort of not-altogether-pleasant tamale mush. I bust out the Fire Sauce and muscle through.

Is it worth $1? Well, it's one of the most filling options you'll find on the menu, so let's say yes. But try to eat it as soon after ordering as possible.

 

Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito

At this point, my fortitude is already starting to wane, and the last thing I need is a big roll of rice and tortilla. Unlike in the photo above, the beans in mine basically just hold it all together. After just one big bite, I set it aside, knowing it would only hold me back.

Is it worth $1? Not really, unless you're a vegetarian grabbing food in desperation.

 

Spicy Potato Soft Taco

It tastes like breakfast, but with lettuce. Once again, I don't need to add sauce, and I knock the whole thing back in a few bites. But I can't say the chewy potato texture was a culinary delight.

Is it worth $1? Yes, if you're really into home fries and tacos. Otherwise, I'd say you have better options.

 

Cheese Roll-Up

This is literally just half-melted cheese on a tortilla. It's the kind of thing my 2-year-old would order, unroll out of curiosity and then slowly push toward the center of the table.

Is it worth $1? No way. This is the toast sandwich of Taco Bell cuisine.