A few months ago, Taco Bell announced that they would be following up their unbelievably successful (and unbelievably delicious) Doritos Locos taco with a Cool Ranch variation. Across this great nation, people cried tears of pure happiness.
Today, we tasted the happy. And for once, it doesn’t taste like sad. It tastes like Cool Ranch Doritos. It tastes good.
Although the official launch of the new flavor isn’t until tomorrow, fans have a chance to get their hands on one early by simply walking into any Taco Bell and asking for it. Yep, it’s that simple. So today, I did just that.
I was disappointed when the girl taking my order told me that the Cool Ranch tacos would not be available until tomorrow. Apparently no one else had ordered these yet at this location, so I explained to her about the pre-launch campaign. She went to check with her manager. After a minute she returned and apologized, telling me that the manager was usually the first one to know about things like that and sometimes didn’t mention it to other employees. This delay wasn’t so bad, and I understood how the employee felt since that had often happened to me when I worked in retail.
Following this minor setback, I was given a bag filled to the brim with tasty Americanized versions of food you can’t actually get in Mexico and set out on my way home.
More than meets the eye
Upon opening the wrapper of my first ever Cool Ranch Doritos Locos taco, I realized how boring it looks. I mean, imagine a regular crunchy taco, and then add nothing, and that’s basically it. Unlike its cheesy cousin, you couldn’t just look at this thing and tell that it was going to taste amazing.
One thing that I did notice was that the first one I unwrapped didn’t have one of those sleeves like they put on the Nacho Cheese-flavored taco. I assumed this was because the Cool Ranch shell wasn’t going to cover your hands in orange powder, but apparently it was just an oversight by the guy who put my order together. The second taco did in fact sport a fancy blue sleeve.
I knew what I had to do. I bit it. I also documented my first foray into this brave new world on Vine. As you can hear in the video, I concluded that the taco was pretty good. I followed this with two of the original Doritos tacos for comparison, and then finished off my meal with one more Cool Ranch taco just to make sure that it was still as tasty as my initial impression. It definitely was. (Full disclosure: I had also eaten a Crunchwrap Supreme before the four tacos because Taco Bell is the best, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise.)
A sequel better than the original?
It’s not very often that someone is able to create something amazing and then proceed to trump it with a follow-up. I’m not going to lie: Taco Bell is no exception to this rule. The original Doritos Locos taco remains the king of tacos, at least in my opinion. While it is noticeable, the Cool Ranch flavor is too mild to make much of an impact on the overall taste of the taco.
Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, though. It’s very good, and you can taste the Cool Ranch. It’s just not as overpowering as the Nacho Cheese flavor that we’ve been getting used to for the past year. I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t think the Cool Ranch flavor will be as big of a hit as the original.
Will people turn out in droves to try it tomorrow? Yes. Will they love it? More than likely. Will they keep buying it? Of course. But whether they’ll love it more than the original is the real question in my mind. And to that, I’m going to have to say no.
Pricing and availabilty
The Cool Ranch Doritos Locos taco will officially be added to the Taco Bell menu tomorrow (March 7th, 2013), but as noted here, fans can simply walk in and order one today without a problem (provided your location knows about the pre-launch deal).
If you’re serious about trying this tomorrow, I’d advise you to be cautious of the potential long lines and sell-outs. It may not be an Apple product launch, but you might still be better off to wait a few days and try it later (as I did with the original a year ago).
The Cool Ranch version matches its cheese-powered counterpart in price, starting at $1.39. The supreme version (adds sour cream and tomatoes) is $1.69.
One last note about the price: If you want one of the “supreme” ingredients, but not the other, a Taco Bell employee advised me recently that it’s actually cheaper to just order the supreme version and ask them to hold whatever you don’t want (tomatoes, in my case) than it is to ask them to add sour cream or tomatoes to the regular version. I haven’t done the math myself, but the employee did it both ways on the register to be sure, so I believe this may be the case. If you don’t want one of the extra toppings, that might be a clever way to save a little bit of money.