Taco Bell items of note

Here is Mets’ Minor League righty Collin McHugh, the organization’s best Twitterer:

McHugh, if you’re not familiar, has a 2.60 ERA with 153 strikeouts and 48 walks in 155 2/3 innings at Double-A over the second half of 2011 and the first part of 2012. He’ll turn 25 later this month and he’s not considered a big prospect by prospecting types, but he has been good at every level he’s played at since the Mets drafted him in the 18th round in 2008. He should probably start Google-mapping Buffalo-area Taco Bells.

Hat tip to Zach and Catsmeat for the heads up.

New “Cantina Menu” coming soon: After a successful test in a couple of markets, Taco Bell will roll out its new Cantina menu nationwide on July 5. Though items on the menu are less than $5, it appears aimed to compete with the Chipotle/Qdoba/Baja Fresh outlets, serving bowls and burritos “made with premium ingredients.”

Color me skeptical. I’ll certainly try it, but I go to Taco Bell for Taco Bell and Chipotle for Chipotle. They’re very different places, both delicious.

This does seem like one step toward Franchise-War domination, though, so that’s pretty exciting. I’d be more excited if the Cantina menu items came with ground beef, though I suppose that’d be defeating the purpose.

And most interestingly:

The Beefy Crunch Burrito movement is a thing: Come with me down the Internet Taco Bell rabbit-hole. I noticed that a commenter I’d never seen before posted on my review of the Beefy Nacho Burrito a couple of weeks ago, expressing disappointment that it’s similar to but not the same as the Beefy Crunch Burrito. I checked his profile and found that it linked to a Facebook page dedicated to bringing back said Beefy Crunch Burrito.

Now there are lots of Facebook pages and minor Internet movements to bring back various defunct fast-food items (if anyone wants to fire one up for the Pepper Jack Bacon Cheeseburger from Wendy’s, btw, I’m on board). Most of them make a couple of posts then move on. Not the Beefy Crunch Burrito movement, though. The Facebook page is amazingly active, with multiple new posts almost every day.

I emailed the commenter, Richard Axton, to find that he is the administrator of the Facebook page and shepherd of the 3 Million Fans to bring back the Beefy Crunch Burrito. He’s also an extremely nice dude with a lot of insight into the inner workings of Taco Bell.

He knows, for example, that creating a Beefy Crunch Burrito required Taco Bell employees to weigh out exactly 0.6 ounces of Flamin’ Hot Fritos for each burrito, which were bagged and rationed before burrito construction. As he pointed out (and as every loyal Taco Bell eater knows), weighing out ingredients is not part of the typical Taco Bell workflow. Sometimes you get more stuff in there than other times. Not the case, apparently, with the Fritos in the Beefy Crunch Burrito.

Also, and in massively awesome news, in December, Taco Bell flew Richard to Taco Bell headquarters and let him build his own Beefy Crunch Burrito in the test kitchen.  He got to use the sour cream gun! FoodBeast was there as well and wrote up the experience.

Just to reiterate: Taco Bell actually flies online Taco Bell fans to Taco Bell headquarters and gives them access to the Taco Bell test kitchen. HELLO TACO BELL I’M HERE IT’S TED.

How about this, Taco Bell? I promise you if you get me and Mark Sanchez in the test kitchen together and videotape it, once you edit out all the fawning you’ll wind up with the greatest Taco Bell commercial since Gidget the Chihuahua passed on.

Richard also gets to participate in Taco Bell insider conference calls and such. He owns the domain names http://www.beefycrunch.com, http://www.beefycrunchburrito.com and http://www.beefycrunchmovement.com, among others. There’s also — no joke — a Beefy Crunch Burrito hotline at 1-855-BEEFYCRUNCH. I just called it and it’s good. In short, you should like the Facebook page: This man is clearly a hero.


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