Taco Bell Tuesday

Not much on the Taco Bell newswire this week, but a couple items of note.

Strange doings in Eugene: A vague sign inside a Starbucks in Eugene, Ore. has University of Oregon students excited. Here’s what the sign looks like:

And who could blame them for being amped about that? I mean, a 24-hour Taco Bell lounge! How sophisticated! They’re finally opening Club Chalupa.

The only problem is there’s no real evidence beyond the sign that it’s happening. An area Taco Bell representative said the chain has no plans to expand into the location and the town’s Planning and Development Department says there are no active permits at the location and no open applications.

Is this some sort of copycat stunt modeled after the hoax in Bethel, Alaska? A rogue Starbucks employee making idle threats to undercut the coffee shop’s business from the inside? A forthcoming, bell-themed 24-hour lounge unaffiliated with Taco Bell that will soon be sued for copyright infringement?

Needless to say, I will stay on this story as long as it keeps appearing in my Google News returns. My college’s campus featured a Taco Bell Express for my freshman year, but it later switched to a knock-off fast-food taco shop. I nearly transferred, but it turned out the new place served food suspiciously similar to Taco Bell’s.

Obama is trying to take your tacos!: This one comes via the OC Weekly’s ever-vigilant Taco Bell Crime of the Week series. Police in Dover, Ohio received a call about a man in a Barack Obama mask trying to steal bags of food from customers at the Taco Bell drive thru. This is either really lame political commentary or more incredibly cliched use of Presidential masks while committing crimes. We’ve all seen Point Break, bro, Why not rob Taco Bells dressed as Hellboy or Shrek or Kanye West?

Real-life friend Scott has an awesome Hamburglar getup that he’ll probably show you if you ask. Obviously that’s the right costume for showing up at drive-thrus and attempting to steal food. It might be especially funny to dress up like the Hamburglar and steal food at Taco Bell, because then people’d be all, “WTF?”

Taco hero Angel Pagan eats tacos

Due to the whole hurricane thing, I did not get to enjoy a free Doritos Locos Taco courtesy of Angel Pagan yesterday. I thought about making the trek to my nearest Taco Bell in the wind and rain, but I realized it was on account of like $1.39 or something and that if I injured myself in pursuit of a free Doritos Locos Taco in a hurricane, I’d never live down the LOLs.

Anyway, a Redwood City, Calif. Taco Bell invited Pagan himself to the restaurant for the occasion, and Pagan showed up. Here’s what he had to say:

“I grew up in the projects. If you believe, you can accomplish anything. Look at me.”

And indeed, look at him:

All you have to do is believe in yourself and someday you too can be signing autographs in a Taco Bell while wearing a Doritos Locos Taco shirt.

Also, it’s hard to imagine any athlete in the world pulling off that look better than Pagan does right there. Dude has verve. That might be history’s greatest instagram.

Furthermore, additional photos show Pagan wearing the very same style of Taco Bell hat favored by Mark Sanchez.

Friday Q&A, pt. 1: Mets stuff

You know, Cousin Ray? That’s a good question, and one I hadn’t really considered. And I suppose we’re not counting Todd Hundley and Howard Johnson as outfielders here, for obvious reasons.

I suspect it’s a combination of some bad luck and the rarity of power-hitting outfielders as good as Darryl Strawberry. In the time since the Mets started playing in 1962, the Braves have developed two outfielders who hit more home runs for them than Strawberry did for the Mets: Andruw Jones and Dale Murphy (though some dude named Hank Aaron was already playing for the Braves in 1962 and hit 480 homers for them from that date forward). Pat Burrell finished his Phillies career with 251 home runs, one short of Straw’s total with the Mets and in a better offensive era.

No outfielder — and no one at all — in the history of the Nationals/Expos or the Marlins franchises has hit as many home runs for the club as Strawberry did for the Mets. Andre Dawson and Vlad Guerrero both finished about one strong season shy of the Straw Man, though, and certainly Giancarlo Stanton and Bryce Harper appear to be on promising trajectories.

That’s just in the division, though, and the Mets don’t ever seem to benefit from the services of in-house power-hitting outfielders of the Geoff Jenkins and Bobby Higginson ilk, who come up through their system, mash some dingers for a while then fade into the ether. And in the rare instance they do have one of those guys, it seems they tend to trade him away before he does the bulk of his Major League damage.

Near as I can tell, the best power-hitting outfielders the Mets have developed besides Strawberry have been Jeromy Burnitz, Kevin Mitchell and the criminally underrated Ken Singleton. Those three totaled 38 home runs in their first stints with the Mets (Burnitz added 37 more in his second go-round) and hit 720 of them for other teams.

So I guess I’d blame it on some bad luck, some bad choices, a lot of reliance on free-agency once the free-agency era began, and Dallas Green.

This question came up in many different forms, so I’m using our man Catsmeat’s to stand in for all of them because I know for a fact he’s a dedicated Taco Bell lover. And yes, of course it does.

The Mets’ trade of Pagan for Ramon Ramirez and Andres Torres looks pretty awful in retrospect. And for all you’ll read about why it had to be done, fact is — as Patrick Flood pointed out on the podcast yesterday — Pagan suffered a career-low batting average on balls in play in 2011. So did Andres Torres, though, and Torres repeated his low mark in 2012. Plus I don’t think anyone could have expected Ramon Ramirez to struggle like he did.

Anyway, since Pagan would pretty demonstrably not have made the difference for the Mets in 2012 and would now be headed for free agency anyway, I’ll call the deal a net positive for humanity because it ultimately earned us all free tacos. I preferred the promotion when it promised regular Crunchy Tacos, the Doritos Locos Taco’s superior ancestor, but I’ll take any free taco I can get. See you guys at Taco Bell next week.

Damned if I know. Mookie apparently admits he wouldn’t have, and I defer to Mookie always. Maybe if Buckner gets the ball and charges toward the bag, Mookie hesitates at the sight of the lumbering first baseman and twists his ankle. Maybe the Mets win in some equally crazy way in the 12th or the 17th and we have some other great story to tell. Maybe Mookie beats Buckner to the bag and Ray Knight goes too far rounding third and gets thrown out in a rundown. Maybe the top of the 11th was when Suspect Zero planned the FlashForward. What happened, happened, and what happened was awesome. I only wish I was old enough to be conscious of how awesome it was.

Taco Bell Tuesday

Featuring baseball!

Justin Verlander confirms his Taco Bell order: Buried in an otherwise long and very interesting feature about Justin Verlander’s career and love life comes confirmation of his standard pre-start meal. The best pitcher in baseball prepares for his outings with three Crunchy Tacos Supreme, a Cheesy Gordita Crunch and a Mexican Pizza. Verlander has Tweeted the same:

Like your boy, me, he always requests no tomatoes on all his Taco Bell items. Unlike your boy, me, Justin Verlander probably never actually ends up with tomatoes on his Taco Bell items, because who would dare screw up Justin Verlander’s pre-start Taco Bell order?

For all Verlander’s successes on the mound, his Game 1 start in San Francisco may afford him the opportunity to do something he has never done before: Get a hit. In 35 career plate appearances in Interleague and postseason play, Verlander is 0-for-26 with no walks, 15 strikeouts and nine sacrifices. I went through Verlander’s game logs and determined that — unless he has at some point been inserted as a pinch-runner — he has actually been on base twice in his career: Once during the 2006 World Series and once earlier this season, both on fielder’s choices. I mention because…

“Steal a Base, Steal a Taco” promotion revived for 2012: Seriously, how sweet would it be if Justin Verlander, amazing pitcher and lover of Taco Bell, got his first career hit then immediately stole the first base of the 2012 World Series to secure free Doritos Locos Tacos for everyone in America? How can you possibly be reading this blog and not rooting for that to happen? It was cool enough when Tacoby Bellsbury did it back in ’07. Verlander doing it would elevate the promotion to a whole new realm of awesomeness. The person in Taco Bell’s marketing department that reads this blog and won’t acknowledge it will now have to scroll through the rest of this post with his or her fingers crossed. (Also, no hard feelings, bro or ma’am! Email me! We can make this happen. Crunchy red strips!)

Saturday Night Live produces fake Taco Bell commercial: This would probably be funnier if I were familiar with the original Brad Pitt ad in question before I saw the parody version. But the Dr. Zizmor one is pretty good regardless. Is Saturday Night Live funny again?

Kate Upton likes guys who enjoy Taco Bell

The website Celebuzz spoke to two of Kate Upton’s relatives to confirm that the ubiquitous model is dating utterly awesome pitcher Justin Verlander.

If you follow Mark Sanchez’s dating life as closely as some of us do, you may recall that the Jets’ handsomest young quarterback was also once romantically linked to Ms. Upton.

So what does Kate Upton look for in a man? Well, I can only think of one common bond between Mark Sanchez and Justin Verlander: They both love Taco Bell.

Somewhere, Oliver Miller eagerly applies cologne.

Friday Q&A, pt. 2: The randos

I would be a man in a solid gold suit with diamond buttons. I’m allowed to keep this stuff, right?

Since that doesn’t seem in the spirit of the question, I think I’d want to go with something incredibly elaborate and not really all that funny outside of the context of showing up to some Halloween party. Like what if you were at some friend’s Halloween party, and there’s one guy dressed as Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover, one guy with a fake goatee saying he’s his own evil twin, a couple dressed as Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, and a girl dressed as a sexy chicken or whatever, and then there’s just one dude in a full-blown, cinema-quality Predator costume?

And you might think it’d funniest if you stayed in character as the Predator the whole night, and maybe camouflage yourself against the keg and shoot the Bieber guy’s arm off. But I think the best way to play it would actually be to act like nothing’s up, not really explain why you have such an extensive Predator costume and behave like any old bro at the Halloween party. I’m envisioning a Predator playing flip-cup.

Well, the best season entirely depends on your station in life. As long as you’re still going to school, summer is by far the best season because it’s the one in which they don’t make you go to school. Once you’re not in school, summer’s really only good because of baseball and practically everything else about it kind of sucks. There’s a bunch of stuff to do, but it’s usually too hot to want to do anything. And you still feel obligated to do the stuff because that mindset of summer-is-when-you-do-fun-stuff has been programmed into you since childhood, so even if you want to just sit at home and watch baseball in the air conditioning, you look out the window and you say, “oh, sunny summer day,” and feel like a schmo for not doing anything. Then you go outside and you’re already so sweaty that it’s embarrassing to be outside. Oh, and the air conditioning’s really expensive.

The winter is also better when you’re a kid than when you’re an adult. When it snows and you’re a kid, sometimes they don’t make you go to school. And you were planning on going to school that day, so when you find out you’re off it’s a bonus-time scenario*. (And I actually liked going to school, for what it’s worth.) When you’re an adult and it snows, you’ve got to deal with it, and that’s a huge pain in the ass. Alternately, you could opt to live in a city and not deal with it, but that means negotiating disgusting city slush for several days.

Fall is cool because it has this time when football and baseball overlap. But since fall technically includes early December and early December can sometimes suck most of all, I’m going with spring on this one. There’s the promise of baseball, then baseball, and it’s before baseball has destroyed you for the year. The weather’s bearable and you’re psyched to be outside because you’ve just been all holed up for the winter. And there’s, you know, flowers and stuff. It’s poetic.

*- “Bonus time” was a concept frequently discussed among my roommates in college when we were justifying our laziness. Essentially, if you’ve got something scheduled (class, most likely) and that thing is canceled, you are not obligated to do anything productive in the time that thing was supposed to occupy even if you are busy. It’s bonus time. You didn’t expect to have this time in the first place, so why not watch Ghostbusters again?

Unfortunately, bonus time doesn’t really work out so well in real life when there’s never an end of the semester pending.

It’s the pork bomb, almost by default. While I eat a lot of sandwiches in the pursuit of sandwiches worthy of review, this has been a pretty busy week of watching playoff baseball that kept me mostly eating at home. And my typical workday lunch is a combination of two Boar’s Head deli meats and a cheese on whole-wheat bread, which gets the job done but is hardly notable. Often the selection is dictated by what’s on sale at Fairway. This week I had Ovengold Turkey, Chipotle Chicken and Vermont Cheddar. This is all fascinating stuff, I know.

I would like to take this opportunity, though, to note that my rather pedestrian-sounding lunchpail sandwiches have been improved lately by the continued inclusion of Silver Spring mustards. The most recent addition to my mustard arsenal is their Peppadew Mustard, a sweet and spicy condiment based on a trademarked South African variety of pepper that was only discovered in 1993. I haven’t had the peppadew on its own, but its mustard offspring is delicious.

Also, I had a very good chicken tikka wrap at a contemporary Indian takeout place on 28th and Lexington — “Curry Hill,” as it’s cleverly known. If you count that as a sandwich, it was probably that.

Things I ate this week!

Wait, Freeport, N.Y.? Where!? I’m really letting the Long Island South Shore Taco Bell scene slip away from me. Sad.

But yeah, there are Taco Bells in strip malls — there’s one in Queens I’ve wound up at a couple of times after I got lost trying to avoid traffic. They’re not as good as Taco Bells with drive-thrus, obviously, because who wants to stand up?

Taco Bell Tuesday

Not many items of Taco Bell news this Tuesday, but this one’s hard to beat:

Taco Bell carjacking ends on the Yolo Bypass: Outside of the actual carjacking part, which sounds terrifying, this is all pretty hilarious and worth clicking through to read. It turns out that in addition to having a “Yolo Bypass,” East Davis, Calif. also has a Mace Blvd and a Chiles Road. Plus, the carjacker was chased into a cornfield by, among others, the California Department of Fish and Game. When cops surrounded the cornfield and demanded he surrender, he refused and laid down — a really good method if you’re ever hiding in a cornfield. Fortunately, the police have dogs that can distinguish the sickening smell of man from the sweet scent of corn, and the suspect was soon apprehended.

But really, I note it here because “Taco Bell Carjacking on the Yolo Bypass” is about the best title I could ever come up with for an album or poem or short story or autobiography. If I were on the Bleacher Report analytics team I’d definitely slip “Taco Bell Carjacking on the Yolo Bypass” into my massive list of potential UFC headlines just to see what someone came up with.

Taco Bell finishes second in survey of fastest fast-food: Wendy’s topped the list, which wouldn’t be surprising to anyone who frequents the outstanding Wendy’s in Hawthorne, N.Y. but would be absolutely f—ing baffling to anyone who has ever been to that Wendy’s in Yonkers. Taco Bell, I am near certain, was impacted by its continued affiliation with the Worst Taco Bell in the World in Elmsford, N.Y., where it once took over 20 minutes for me to get a drive-thru order.

Return of the Chicken Caesar Burrito?: Let’s ignore the typical LOLTacoBell stuff contained in the link and focus only on the potential positive: Is the Chicken Caesar Burrito coming back to Taco Bell? Will it be the original Chicken Caesar Grilled Stuft Burrito from the early part of this millennium or, as the article suggests, a new Lorena Garcia-inspired item?

The important thing is that it incorporates the Crunchy Red Strips. The first Chicken Caesar Grilled Stuft Burrito marked the introduction of that fine ingredient, and it would be a shame to bring a descendent back to the menu without a nod to the innovations of the original.

Taco Bell Tuesday

Not just Taco Tuesday, Taco Bell Tuesday.

Chipotle gets Einhorned: Remember David Einhorn, hedge-fund honcho and would-be part owner of the Mets? He’s rich enough that the stock market actually reacts to things he says, which is… please David Einhorn send me a million dollars. Anyway, at some sort of rich-guy conference this morning, he announced that he was short-selling Chipotle stock largely because of Taco Bell’s Cantina Menu.

Einhorn said, among other things, “Taco Bell has started to eat Chipotle’s lunch,” which is clever. At one point, according to Barron’s:

He then sang “Come to Taco Taco Taco Taco Taco Taco Taco Bell.” Really.

Needless to say, Einhorn’s behavior prompted some hand-wringing and age-old Taco Bell jokes from some Twitterers, but he was laughing all the way to the bank (and stopping at the drive-thru on the way) when Chipotle’s stock dropped five percent.

I don’t really know what else to say. I don’t even own a stock, but if I did I’d probably want to buy up both Chipotle and Taco Bell because they’re both delicious and why not hedge my bets? Note: Do not take stock advice from TedQuarters.

I think Twitterer @RTDaniels put it best:

That’s Gordita, buddy. But yeah.

Taco Bells to glow in real life and not just in our hearts and minds: Remember that new Taco Bell prototype discussed here a couple of weeks ago? It turns out it’s going to glow purple in the night.

The design’s most striking feature is a layer of narrow black metal slats covering one of the building’s four tan exterior walls. At night, LED lights shine Taco Bell purple light out from between the wall and the slats, which are spaced out slightly to let light through.

“As night falls, and as late night begins, we really celebrate that light-night feeling with a purple glow that comes from behind the slat wall,” [Taco Bell’s director of concept development Dan] Roberts said. “You will be able to see it from a quarter-mile away. This building is truly going to be best on block, it will truly be a beacon in the night.”

So that’s the greatest and best thing I’ve ever heard. Also of note: Taco Bell has a “director of concept development,” and I have a new life goal. Just not sure I’ll be able to match the work of my predecessor, the guy who came up with the Glowing Taco Bell idea.

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder loves Taco Bell: I’m not a huge college football guy, but I just became a Kansas State fan. Bill Snyder’s all right by me.

Taco Bell searching for media agency: Honestly, I have no idea what they’re looking for or why because I got bored by the article about a paragraph in, but I’d like to throw my name in the ring anyway. It starts with passion for the product, Taco Bell. And I feel this is just the tunnel I’ve been seeking toward my career in Taco Bell concept development.



Friday Q&A, pt. 3: Food stuff and randos

Via email, Rob V. writes:

Do you get unsolicited comments/advice/critique on your facial hair? I have a pretty solid beard going at the moment, and pretty much everyone I see points out the gray whiskers that seem to be winning out, or that there is a little spot that is a bit sparse. Others love to call me Wolfman Jack or Grizzly Adams. I mean, come on, right? I don’t go around commenting on other people’s appearances in a mocking tone. Well, not to their faces anyway. Can’t a dude grow some hairs without it turning into a conversation piece?

Well, I never have facial hair beyond a few days’ stubble, so not really. Sometimes I’ll go four or five days without shaving and someone will be all, “oh hey, growing a beard?” And I’ll say, “nah, just lazy,” and that’ll be about the end of it. I wasn’t trying to hide it, but just to clarify: The mustache I wore to interview Keith Hernandez yesterday was fake. It was my good fake so I understand how it fooled some people.

I cannot grow a mustache. I have a very thick beard that comes in fast but only a few lame mustache hairs. Unfortunately, every facial-hair style I’d ever want to fashion requires a decent mustache, so it limits me to a few days’ stubble and clean-shavenness. Such is the irony of my biography. Due to the regularity with which I have to do video stuff for SNY.tv, I haven’t actually tried growing anything out in years. So maybe my mustache is better than it once was. That’s the hope I hold on to.

I do, however, provide unsolicited comments, advice and criticism on people’s facial hair all the time. If I haven’t seen a friend in a couple of months and the next time I do, he’s got some sort of chin beard going, I’ll say, “You’ve got some sort of chin beard going, eh?” Usually I’m encouraging, though, and tell everyone they’re great beard guys even if they’re not necessarily great beard guys.

So to answer your question: No, some dude cannot grow some hairs without it turning into a conversation piece. That’s a sweet beard, and what the hell else are we going to talk about? You’re really a great beard guy, Rob.

What? Yes! Of course they are! Bananas are delicious, and some form of peanut butter and banana sandwich has been favored by both David Wright and Elvis Presley. I repeat: David Wright and Elvis Presley.

Oh man, I just got an idea for a new Don Berg painting.

OK: Are we talking homemade pizza bagels on real bagels here or Bagel Bites? Either way they’re in first place pretty easily. Pizza bites come second, and beg the question: Why aren’t we serving more foods in bastardized, microwaveable egg-roll wrappers?

I’ll put pizza Hot Pockets and Elio’s Pizza down for a toss-up because I haven’t had either since roughly seventh grade. I bet I’d prefer Elio’s today because occasionally I get a waft of something that smells just like Elio’s Pizza and I crave Elio’s Pizza and that never ever happens when anything smells like Hot Pockets.

Yes, definitely. I don’t even understand what the downside is. I don’t get to enjoy sleep anymore? But the only reason I really like sleeping is because it staves off all those side effects of not sleeping. So if I wasn’t ever going to be tired and the rest wasn’t going to help my back feel better, why not? I could watch so much TV! Also, I’d love to be able to get out in the middle of the night now that I live in the city. Manhattan is awesome when it’s quiet.

I’m a pretty terrible sleeper and always have been. By now I’ve figured what I need to do to fall asleep, but for most of my life my mind would start racing irrationally after I went to bed and I would find myself staring at the ceiling in the dark for hours. There were times in high school and college when I’d go two or three days without actually sleeping more than an hour or two.

There’s a place for all of them, but straight up? Crunchy. Call me old fashioned.

Statler or Waldorf. Sitting in my tower judging things and laughing about it is pretty much what I do here. In college, my roommates and I set up our couches stadium-style. We’d throw parties, and my roommate Will and I would sit up on the highest level couch demanding people bring us drinks and then mocking them. It was great. Girls really liked us, fellas.

Face, because I also want that nickname. Also, the actor who played Faceman was named Dirk Benedict.

I’m so glad Catsmeat asked this. The 90s-party phenomenon fascinates me, partly because it makes me feel tragically old for the first time in my life and partly because I feel I am almost always more appropriately dressed for a 90s party than people actually on their way to a 90s party. Right now I’m wearing a plaid shirt that’s way too loose-fitting to be trendy, some ratty brown pants and Doc Martens. Groups of kids on their way to 90s parties always seem to feature a bunch of people dressed for raves and a couple guys in old flannels with ripped jeans and Nirvana t-shirts. DAMMIT I WAS THERE AND THAT’S NOT HOW IT WAS!

There are a lot of 90s fashions begging to be revisited for 90s parties. Jnco jeans, for instance. Another good option is to just go as Dr. Dre, wearing a black White Sox hat, a black button down and black jeans, with optional black denim jacket.

But since I know you to be a great beard guy, Catsmeat, I’m going to say you should definitely go as this guy from the “Black Hole Sun” video. Not everyone would get it, but everyone who did would be a) really impressed and b) probably pretty cool.