photo 1There aren’t many mornings when one wakes up and says “I want some Taco Bell”. Lunch? Sure. Dinner? Yeah. 3:00 AM when you’ve only consumer liquid carbohydrates for the last six hours? Oh yeah. But breakfast? Not so much.

Taco Bell is trying to change that as it goes after heavy hitters like Dunkin and McDonald’s.  Fast food breakfast is a rarity for me.  When it happens, usually The Sheconomist and I are on a road trip.  And then it’s usually to McDonald’s for some light fare.  So I don’t really know a whole lot about breakfast foods at the quick service restaurants.  But for some reason this morning I decided to go to Taco Bell and see what the fuss is about.

Taco Bell has been marketing their new breakfast foods aggressively.  And for this morning it seems to have worked, as I found myself standing in a Taco Bell for probably the first time in half a decade.

First of all, my impressions in the store were positive.  This store had a modern layout that’s pleasing and inviting.  Many seats have electrical plugs which in restaurant speak is an invitation to hang out for a while.  I’m not sure if my store offered WiFi as well, but that would make sense.

The menu itself is somewhat confusing.  But like any restaurant approaching a Mexican theme, it’s basically the same 7 ingredients mixed in different ways.  I decided on a bacon/egg/cheese burrito with Cinnabons on the side and a coffee.  We’ll touch on the food and then the coffee.

The burrito wasn’t bad.  But there was a lot of extra tortilla in there and it made everything else seem kind of bland.  The sausage burrito at McDonald’s quite a bit better.  Especially since it includes peppers.  But even a little black pepper would have helped.  The Cinnabons were a welcome surprise.  You can have them or a hash brown.  I expected them to just be fried cinnamon bites but they also happened to be filled with a tasty creamy goo.  That might turn off some folks but my description doesn’t do it justice.  All in all, the food is…. fine.  The dog was a huge fan.

a dog reviews taco bell breakfast

But the coffee…

My first impression was mixed.  It started with the cup.  I have a lot of experience with coffee, and the variety of cups they come in.  Ranging from low-end styrofoam to the nice reusable cups at Starbucks.  Some places get it right, and some do terribly.  This goes for the lids too.  McDonald’s has a decent lid and a poor cup.  Dunkin kind of sucks at both.  Starbucks is decent at both.  The balance between the two can make or break the coffee experience.  One of the most critical elements is the connection of the lid to the cup.  That security is important.  The Taco Bell cup is awesome.  It requires no sleeve and feels sturdy.  The lid is strong and sealed well.  However, the opening for the coffee sucks.  My mouth just doesn’t fit well around it.  It was different from other lids I’ve encountered.

But how was the coffee itself?  My first impression was weak.  The smell was off.  Plus I was drinking it through that lid.  But, once I removed the lid, things got a lot better.  So good in fact that given the choice between Dunkin, McDonald’s, and Taco Bell coffee, I’ll go with Taco Bell.  Dunkin enthusiasts are just brand obsessed.  Their coffee really is mediocre.  I’m not talking about your overpriced, sweetened, flavored, iced garbage.  Real black coffee.  And Taco Bell, absent the lid, got it right.

It’s quite odd for me to write a review of a fast-food breakfast. But when you’ve been as busy as I’ve been it’s great to have a weekend where this is the most exciting thing that’s happened.  Nice work Taco Bell.

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categories: business, weakend