A Naked Trip to Taco Bell (Not Really Naked)

Well, I’m not sure if you know this about me, but I love new chain restaurant menu items. I’m sure I mentioned it before, though. That is why today has been on my calendar for a while… The king of new menu items, Taco Bell, has just released a new item, and the LivingNimbly team (Jack) has went out on the field to investigate the “Naked Chicken Nachos.”

Here is your context: a beautiful day in Minnesota, a fresh from the carwash minivan, and my bubbling anticipation of a new Taco Bell menu item. In the past few years they gave us the Quesarito and the Quesalupa, which were pretty hot tickets themselves. A couple of months back they released the Naked Chicken Chalupa, a taco wrapped in fried flattened chicken. This is a new reiteration of the Naked Chicken, but in chip form… pretty exciting, huh?

Photo by Jack Fitzpatrick

Well, to give a high-level overview of the essence of “Naked Chicken Nachos,” They are triangle shaped pieces of fried chicken that are served with a nacho cheese sauce. They are basically Taco Bell’s take on a chicken nugget.

These “nachos” have something really good going for them : the cheese sauce. It looks exactly like 7-11 cheese sauce, and I know that it still comes out of a bag, but WOW, what a pop of spicy, hot flavor. The chicken chips themselves don’t have a crazy amount of flavor besides a slight spice, but that sauce is dope.

Another major key of this menu item is the fun shape. Besides just being eye catching, the triangles are the perfect shape for scooping up as much nacho cheese as possible at one time. My chips had a really nice crisp, almost flakey texture to them, at least compared to every other chicken nugget that I’ve had in my life.

Photo by Jack Fitzpatrick

Now it is time for the glaring con to the “Naked Chicken Nachos.” I cannot with a good conscious say that these are nachos. Taco bell sells nachos, not great nachos, but nachos at the least. Nachos, for me, have layers. This particular dish has more of a chip and queso vibe. If they would’ve just called them “Naked Chicken Chips” I would not be upset.

When one goes to Taco Bell, it is kind of a big deal that you don’t just get one thing. The menu itself is a smorgasbord that deserves a sampling. Usually, I would go for a Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco or a Beef Quesarito (my favorite) to fill out my lunch, but something caught my attention: The Chickstar.

Photo by Jack Fitzpatrick

This item is a fried chicken crunchwrap supreme.  I was talking to the wonderful guy helping me out at my local Taco Bell, and this is a triumphant return for the Chickstar. It was a menu item back in 2015, using chicken tenders as the fried chicken in the crunchwrap. In this 2017 rendition, the Chickstar features (you are never going to guess this one, folks)The Naked Chicken Chips from the “Naked Chicken Nachos.”

And, do you know what was really good? Dripping the Chickstar in my leftover nacho cheese sauce. Yum Yum Yum!

And because I don’t make it over to Taco Bell often and that was happy hour, I tried out the “Spiked Lemonade” Freeze. Which sadly doesn’t have gin in it. The bright yellow slushie-like drink is apparently spiked with prickly pear cactus flavor. It was actually pretty tasty, really sweet, but it’s taco bell, so indulgence is fine… right?

Photo by Jack Fitzpatrick

If you have a little more time to read or any interest in Taco Bell (like me) you should check out this article on the Taco Bell careers website: “BEST JOB EVER: TACO BELL FOOD PRODUCT DEVELOPER.” It’ll not only make you want to work for Taco Bell but shine a little light on how they are working to market themselves right now. As a communications/marketing dude, this kind of positioning is super interesting to me.

Overall, I had a great trip to Taco Bell, but I’m making a mid-year resolution to start trying a bunch of the cool Minneapolis restaurants that I haven’t explored yet. Especially with summer on the horizon, I’ll be making it a point to get out and walk to new spots a bit more. Maybe restaurant reviews are in the future. Who knows?

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