This week I reached out for a Stacker, one of 20 (count 'em) new $1 menu items coming to America's favorite Mexican-style chain, Taco Bell, with 7,000 restaurants stretching coast to coast and border to border...including that border.
Taco Bell's dollar menu dump comes in response to McDonald's new, and far less varied, $1-$2-$3 Menu. Oh, it's on, McDonald's — and every other drive-thru chain. Taco Bell is now the unrivaled Dollar Store of fast food. You can get a lot of food for a little of money.
Here's the Stacker breakdown: layers of seasoned ground beef, three melty cheeses, and more nacho cheese sauce in a tri-folded toasty flour tortilla. The layers appear to be "stacked" on top of each other. (Taco Bell's Head of Naming Stuff clearly didn't work OT on this one.)
How do you twist and turn a tortilla into a 3-layer Stacker? Pretty much the way you're supposed to fold a U.S. flag before storing it. Plus cheese.
Total calories: 390. Fat grams: 18. Sodium: 1,050 mg. Carbs: 39. Dietary fiber: 4 g. Protein: 18 g. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $1.
Taco Bell food is the easiest to review: The Bell has 10 basic ingredients. They toss them in a Yahtzee cup and the first five that tumbled out, in whatever order, goes on the menu. In the biz, it's called "Olive Garden Syndrome" — everything at Taco Bell tastes pretty much the same.
Stacked with value
In the case of the Stacker, that's a good thing. Think a quesadilla without the bells and whistles. It's so Taco Bell — seasoned ground beef, cheese and then more cheese in a flour tortilla. What could go wrong? Absolutely nothing...and for only $1, it's a pretty sweet deal. Taco Bell regulars will eat this up, by the bellyful.
While the Stacker is rock solid Taco Bell fare, other items in the Bell's cheap-o plans are more fanciful — like Shredded Chicken Mini Quesadilla, Beefy Fritos Burrito and Spicy Tostada. All coming soon.
This is hardly Taco Bell's first bargain basement menu. Remember its "Why Pay More?" and "Dollar Craving" value boards? Here and gone. So the odds may be stacked against the Stacker sticking around.
Taco Bell says all the new $1 items are permanent this time. But is anything forever anymore? Larry King now writes his pre-nups on an Etch-a-Sketch.
Taco Bell also has a Breakfast Stacker — same deal, except fluffy scrambled eggs take the place of seasoned ground beef. For 49 cents more, you can get a splatter of bacon or sausage in your Breakfast Stacker.