Last week, Taco Bell announced that it would be removing a selection of items from its menu to declutter it a bit. One of the items being removed is the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco, the release of which was one of the most monumental occasions of my college career. I have loved Cool Ranch Doritos since I was naught more than a wee babe, and I have the childhood photos to prove it. I will eat Nacho Cheese Doritos if need be, but Cool Ranch Doritos have always been my favorite type of chip. Thus, the release of the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco, following months after the release of the Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco, was a major occasion. I have photographic evidence of that, too.
Release night of the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco in Iowa City. (Photo by author)
That said, I would hate for anyone to think that they are about to read 1000 words berating Taco Bell for eliminating what was easily its most glorious taco. That is not why we?re here today. Not because I can?t write 1000 words berating Taco Bell for eliminating what was easily its most glorious taco ? I can and will write 1000 words about literally anything, except hockey, which I hate ? but because I have other fish to fry. Namely, if Taco Bell is going to get rid of the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco, they should give us something in return. A trade, if you will. You can take away the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco, Taco Bell, but you need to give us back the quesalupa in return.
For those of you who were unfortunate enough to miss out on the greatest culinary accomplishment of our time, the quesalupa was basically a chalupa with one key difference: a shell stuffed with melted cheese. Taco Bell released the quesalupa with a huge marketing campaign in February of 2016. Unfortunately, I do not have photographic evidence of this, as I was in my final semester of grad school in February of 2016 and was severely depressed, impacting my ability to take pictures of anything besides my pets. It was a dark time in my life, but to this day the quesalupa remains a small spark of brightness within the abyss. Though I had never had a regular chalupa prior to the quesalupa?s release, I was intrigued by the cheese-filled shells (I am intrigued by cheese in general) and decided to try one.
I may have been too depressed to take pictures of the quesalupa, but others, fortunately, were not. (Photo by The Impulsive Buy)
The night of my first quesalupa still stands out in my memory. Sitting in the dimly-lit dining room after a late night at work, slowly unwrapping the culinary mystery from its wrapping. Taking my first bite, the flavor of the shell cheese exploding in my mouth and mixing with those of the beef and sour cream. To say that it was a religious experience would be an understatement. It completely transformed my relationship to Taco Bell. For the next four months, I was a slave to the quesalupa.
One early summer night, I pulled up to the Taco Bell drive thru, and the quesalupa was nowhere to be found on the menu. My heart stopped.
?Are you still serving the quesalupa?? I asked, trying to hide the panic in my voice.
?No,? responded the Taco Bell employee.
Just like that, my life was forever changed.
Taco Bell has never brought back the quesalupa. I think of it often. The chalupa has become my regular order at Taco Bell, and it?s fine. But it?s not the quesalupa. The quesalupa gave the chalupa just that little bit of magic that made it a true culinary delight. We may never see its like in the fast food industry again.
Unless, of course, Taco Bell does the right thing and brings it back in exchange for the Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco. It won?t make up for TACO PAC donating bucketfuls of money to the Republican party, but hey, no one?s perfect. Except, of course, for the quesalupa.