Jack in the Box, with its Munchie, Sriracha Curly Fry Burgers, and weird ass tacos, has always been the go-to place for hungry fast-food nerds and late-night dialogue who need a big greasy meal to get rid of the night. I mean, the chain even has a section on its menu called “Late Night” – it knows its audience and serves them well. But it’s better if Jack watches the throne because someone is coming for his stone crown and that person is… a bell.
It’s Taco Bell. We’re talking about Taco Bell.
The Bell might not have anything on its menu as crazy as Jack in the Box’s Chick-N-Tater Melt Munchie, which features a croissant topped with bacon, hashbrowns, fried chicken with three cheeses and a ranch (on) croissant sauce, let It’s served) It’s served alongside a couple of tacos and fries, but they came very close. Aside from the Mexican pizza, which Stoner wrote on, Taco Bell gave us many different iterations of nacho potatoes, turned a piece of chicken into a taco crust, and gave us two different flavors of Doritos tacos. So, while few of these enjoy permanent menu status, Taco Bell is certainly gaining traction with the snack-loving community.
I should know – I’m part of it!
That’s why I’m so excited that Taco Bell is finally back in the snack pantry for inspiration with the new Cheez-It Tostada and Crunchwrap. Like Doritos Locos Taco, the concept here is simple: Two beloved Taco Bell classics are reconstructed with giant Cheez-it instead of fried tortillas. Cheez-It is made specifically for Taco Bell and, according to the press release, is approximately 16 times the standard size.
The demo Tostada and Crunchwrap will only be available at one Taco Bell in Irvine, California and for only two weeks, so if you don’t live in SoCal, you’ll have to wait a bit. Fortunately, we picked both for a full review. That way when Cheez-It Tostada and Crunchwrap finally hit Taco Bells nationwide (and let’s face it, you’ll know Doritos Locos Tacos is a bestseller) you’ll know if it’s worth picking up.
Let’s eat, starting with the least of the two.
Taco Bell Cheese It Tostada
The Taco Bell Cheez-It Tostada is big but not big enough. I don’t expect fast food to look good even half of the promotional photos, but there’s something sadly frustrating about imagining you’re going to eat something like the press photo at the top of this article, and then you open a box and see…that thing.
The lack of visual appearance is a minor annoyance although it lacks looks, it makes up for in the top tier. This thing is fully loaded. The design features a layer of ground beef topped with sour cream, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and shredded cheddar cheese on top of extra-large, extra-thick Cheese It.
Cheez-It itself tastes just like what you’d expect, like cheddar Cheez-It, sharp and warm, doesn’t taste like any cut corners here, Taco Bell advertised tostada on Cheez-It and that’s exactly what they gave us. What’s surprising is how well the Cheez-it flavors with the familiar flavors of Taco Bell. The sharp, delicious quality of cheddar results in something that can taste familiar yet fresh, which is a rarity for Taco Bell since most of their menu is mixing ingredients or wrapped in corn or flour tortillas.
The biggest problem with this dish is that Cheez-It isn’t structurally sound like fried tortillas, the weight of the ingredients is enough to crack crackers, most of which I had to eat in small bites and never been able to hold the entire tostada to take a bite. Not a big deal, but it does make the meal messy.
Taco Bell Cheese It Crunch Supreme Syrup
Cheez-It Crunchwrap Supreme is very similar in construction to tostada, only you get more of the whole thing and it’s better. The large Cheez-It is wrapped inside a giant grilled tortilla with ground beef, nacho cheese sauce, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream, and while the ingredients are almost the same, the form factor and toppings make the experience quite different.
With Crunchwrap, you have a grilled tortilla wrapper, making every bite heartier and more substantial, as the biscuits inside act as a crunchy separator between the tender veggies and the meaty ingredients.
This makes the flavors come in waves, first tasting the grilled tortilla, then the salty meat and cheesy, then the seasoning with toasted cheese, and finally the fresh vegan palate cleanser, getting you ready for the next bite. Every bite follows the same experience: salty and savory, cheesy and savory, with a finishing touch of salad.
But our favorite part of Crunchwrap is the way the salty cheese sauce absorbs into the Cheez-It, lending it even more flavor. This is something OG Crunchwrap can’t do, with the tortilla inverted, and it makes the dish so much better than the grated cheese that tastada does. They also serve up the tostada crumbling problem, because as they are put in tortillas, it doesn’t matter how many times the biscuits crumble.
Delicious, cheesy, sharp, salty, both taste great, and just like you’d expect, however, refreshingly new compared to everything else Taco Bell has to offer. The one who feels really basic and like him who has the potential to hit like Doritos Locos Taco is Cheez-It Crunchwrap Supreme. But Taco Bell, think bigger – give us Cheez-It’s Mexican pizza!