Fast food companies have, on one hand, painted themselves into a corner by inventing most of the crazy menu stuff already. On the other they can always explore the space further by getting superweird and thumbing their nose at the natural order of things. If one really thinks about it, Taco Bell could announce almost any new gimmick special and you'd at least be open to the idea that it was real and not some sort of prank. So, personally, I didn't flinch at all when the existence of a Big Cheez-It tostada was brought to my attention by CNN. In fact, it seemed odder that this news was delivered by the television network going wall-to-wall with January 6th revelations.
Taco Bell is testing a new menu item with a beloved snack food. The fast-food chain hopes the creation can replicate the success of its Doritos shells.
The experiment: A massive Cheez-It, which is 16 times the standard size, serves as the base for Taco Bell's new "Big Cheez-It Tostada." The meal layers ground beef, sour scream, tomatoes, lettuce and cheddar cheese on the cheesy cracker for $2.49. It's described as an "abundantly cheesy and nostalgic, yet magically modern, dining experience," according to a release.
The second item Taco Bell is testing is a "Big Cheez-It Crunchwrap Supreme," which replaces the internal tostada shell, with the giant Cheez-It for $4.29. It's packed with the usual ingredients, including ground beef, nacho cheese sauce, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream.
Now, before you get too excited or make plans to protest your nearest franchise for thumbing its nose in the face of god, know that these two offerings will only be available at a single Taco Bell restaurant in California for the next two weeks. But this is already a victory for the person who works in the TB test kitchen who walked into a meeting, slide a piece of paper that read only "giant Cheez-It" on the table, and walked away.
Capitalism is what it is yet something about this whole cross-promotion experimentation feels off. We used to get absolutely baked and toss Fritos into a BLT for the love of the game, not because it was going to improve the bottom line. Call me old-fashioned but I miss the days when someone making a tostada on a big-ass Cheez-It was an indication the group went to a 4 a.m. bar and an indication that it didn't go particularly well.
Maybe this is just how things are now. And it won't be the worst thing in the world if this catches on — though I have my doubts about the flavor profiles blending. Taco Bell got so caught up in seeing if they should do something like this that they never stopped and considered if they should do something like this.
Time and taste will render a verdict.