The Laidback Gourmet: Taco Bell Cantina Tacos

South of the Border, down mexico way. That’s where I fell in love when stars above came out to play…

Hello and welcome to another edition of the Laidback Gourmet where our motto is that everyday food can be as much fun to enjoy as haute cuisine. If you couldn’t guess from my little melody to start off with, we’re going south of the boarder today, down Taco Bell way to try their newest concoctions, the Cantina Tacos. Cantina? Maybe I should have started by singing George Lucas instead of Frank Sinatra? Well, let’s see if Han shot first or not by taking a look at our three tacos. (Yes, I’m quite aware that segway made no sense whatsoever.)

The new Cantina Tacos come out in three flavors. No, they’re not Han, Luke and Chewie, though I have a feeling that the steak might end up being the latter. Nope, the flavors are Chicken, Steak, and Pork, and because I love my readers so much, I’m going to review all three. Let’s start with the first one:

Chicken. Let’s give this one a taste.

Om nom nom.

The chicken is flavored really nicely, but taco bell chicken almost always is. The lime definitely brightens up the flavor of the chicken, cilantro and onions, and I have to say, this is one I would eat again. The only complain I have is that I’m finding the shell to be a bit bland, but overpoweringly bland, if that makes any sense. I think one shell would be plenty for this taco, but overall I’d say this one’s pretty good. 7/10. The next one up is:

Steak. Let’s see how this one is.

Om nom nom.

Wow, the steak is actually quite tender, something I was a bit worried about. I figured it would be, to quote Good Old JR, “Tougher than a Two Dollar Steak”. But this two dollar steak is nice and tender. However, the taste is a bit lacking. This might sound weird coming from a fast food review, but I don’t think has enough salt in it. The whole taco comes off as kind of flat. I think the double tortilla is overpowering the mild flavor of the steak. Not terrible but not nearly as good as the chicken. 5/10. Last but not least (I hope)…

Doesn’t THAT look appetizing? Hope it tastes better than it looks. Well this one is Pork. Or as they are calling it carnitas. That raises the question, why call this one carnitas, which is Spanish for “little meat”, a dish that usually uses pork yet they still call the chicken “chicken” in stead of pollo? I guess carniata sounds better then pork. However, carniata sounds almost like carnal… and to pork something is… you know what, never mind. Let’s move on and try it.

Om nom nom.

Tender, slightly salty, nice flavor. This one’s is as good as the chicken. I would have said it was even better than the chicken except for one thing. This one is GREASY as all heck. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very tasty grease, but greasy nonetheless. 7/10.

This trio of tacos is a nice change of pace from the standard taco bell fare, and I hope these three stick around. Though my favorite thing on the menu is still the chicken and rice burrito with the guac sauce. Too bad my local Taco Bell took it off the dollar menu and nearly tripled the price. However, that’s a gripe for another day. This is Taco Bell’s attempt to make something closer to what “real tacos” are really like, and while I don’t know if these are nearly as good as the tacos I get made at my local Mexican restaurant, they are still pretty good, you should give them a try.

That concludes another edition of the Laidback Gourmet. I thank you for reading and please feel free to email me at to send me any thoughts, comments, suggestions for future reviews or to simply lavish thy praise upon me. Until next time, I’m Ed DiFolco, your Laidback Gourmet, hoping you get a chance to let your chances stray… south of the border… down Mexico way. (How cool was Sinatra?)

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