This week, I reached out for a Triplelupa, three times the Chalupa fun, at the No. 1 “Mexican-inspired” fast food chain, Taco Bell — with 7,000 restaurants in all 50 U.S. states, plus far flung countries like Australia, Poland, China and Iceland … but curiously not Mexico.
Oh, the Bell has tried, twice, in 1992 and 2007, but the locals south of the border said no thanks and Taco Bell was gone within a few years both times. So much for inspiration.
Here’s the Triplelupa breakdown: three mini-Chalupa shells packed with double portions of seasoned ground beef, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded 3-cheese blend, creamy Chipotle sauce, and warm nacho cheese sauce. Total calories: 610. Fat grams: 35. Sodium: 1,110 mg. Carbs: 52 g. Dietary fiber: 7 g. Protein: 22 g. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: $3.49 (your mileage may vary).
Taco Bell introduced its version of a Chalupa, a deep-fried, puffy corn tortilla stuffed with Mexican-style goodies, in 1999. Like everything on the menu, Taco Bell couldn't leave a good thing alone, so there was the Baja Chalupa in 2000, the Double Chalupa in 2017 and Toasted Chalupa in 2019. Now comes the big, bigger, biggest Chalupa – the Triplelupa. I have 2022 in the office pool for Taco Bell to unleash the Quadripulupa.
Here’s how the Triplelupa works. Taco Bell stuck three small Chalupas together, like pull-apart cinnamon buns in the supermarket 8-pack. The Chalupas are joined side-by-side in single file, like kids walking to their next class in middle school.
The Chalupa on one end is squirted with warm nacho sauce. The Chalupa on the other end is doused in creamy Chipotle sauce. The Chalupa in the middle gets shmeared with a mix of the two sauces. That’s the bonus Chalupa, and you can have one of my end Chalupas, but don’t even think about getting my middle one.
The Triplelupa is a perfect example of Taco Bell up to its old trick of putting a facelift on old familiar products and hitting the public marketplace, like how Madonna looks different every time she pops up on Entertainment Tonight. Why she’s on Entertainment Tonight is a different subject. Does anybody still care? But I digress.
Everything in a Triplelupa, from the seasoned ground beef to the two sauces is on Taco Bell’s fulltime menu. So after the limited time only offer expires, you can replica the taste and texture by ordering a regular Chalupa, a permanent favorite at the Bell, and mix ‘n’ matching the Chipotle and nacho cheese sauces. There, I've saved you some anxiety, which you have enough of already during the coronavirus shutdown.
Speaking of, until restaurants are allowed to re-open their dining rooms, Taco Bell is only serving customers via its drive-thrus and home delivery services.
Ken Hoffman reviews a new fast food restaurant item every Wednesday. Have a suggestion or a drive-thru favorite? Let Ken know on Twitter.