Thursday, October 22, 2009

Trek to Taco Bell

Ever since John and I began this diet, he has been begging that we spend one of our cheat nights at Taco Bell.  I hemmed and hawed, whined about the delicacies to be found at so many local, non-chain restaurants and this week, I finally gave in.  In actuality, I was secretly stoked to go to Taco Bell as it is my favorite fast food restaurant and it had been so long since I had last been there. Now I had an excuse. So, without further ado, this is my 10th week and 10th cheat and I am down 37 pounds.

As we were considering which particular Taco Bell to visit, I realized that there are no Taco Bells on the East Bank.  None! Before the storm, I remember there was one on Claiborne and there was another over on the corner of Tulane & Broad…but now they’re gone and it seems they aren’t coming back.  So, John and I took a recommendation from Lorin Gaudin (food writer extraordinaire who also is a HUGE fan of Taco Bell) and cruised over to the West Bank to the Taco Bell on Manhattan.

We walked into the restaurant and elected to dine inside due to the overall cleanliness of the establishment.  Is it just me, or are most fast food restaurants places where you wouldn’t ordinarily eat in?  Anyhow, we walked up to the counter and grumbled over what we should order.  I finally decided to have a Nachos Bell Grande with extra sour cream, a Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco and a Volcano Taco.  John got a Steak Super Chalupa, a Mexican Pizza and a Double-Decker Beef Taco.  Due to the bill ($16.78), I knew this would be one of those occasions where my boyfriend would take out his wallet and say “Don’t worry baby, I got it.”  (Just kidding sweetie!)

Everything we ordered was quite yummy, in that fast food kind of way, and we tried each other’s orders.  I was surprised to find I really liked the Chalupa since I had never had one before, and found it quite flavorful.  Eating the Nachos Bell Grande was like stepping back into time when, in college, my roommates and I would hit up our local Taco Bell at 2 AM after a long night of drinking.  The nachos were just as tasty as I remembered and I still scoop up all the cheesy, beefy goop at the bottom of the tray that is left over when all the chips are gone.  After taking a bite of the Volcano Taco, I was shocked to find that it was not spicy.

John took the next bite, his eyes widening, and exclaimed, “This is HOT!”  Confused, I took another bite and, after sucking down half my root beer, agreed wholeheartedly.  Apparently, my first bite did not contain any of the infamous hot sauce that makes this item a tongue-scorcher!

After dinner, we were driving back towards the highway on Manhattan and spotted a Sonic.  Since we didn’t have dessert at Taco Bell, we thought it would be fun to get some ice cream, so we pulled into one of the “slots” and ordered.  John chose a Sonic Blast with M&M’s mixed into it and I got a Banana Fudge Sundae.  We enjoyed our soft-serve ice cream to the sounds of  a songbird singing away in a tree nearby combined with the dulcet tones of AC/DC blaring out of the car a few spaces over.

I have to admit, this cheat was nothing like dining at Le Meritage or Dante’s Kitchen, but we still had a lot of fun.  During our fast food frenzy, I was reminded of being a teenager with not a lot of dough, but ready for a wild and crazy evening and it was surprising that such a simple meal could revive those memories.

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