Taco Bell closed the dining room from 6-8pm and only kept the drive-thru open. We were feeling exclusive! That's how we roll! Each table had tortilla chips, guacamole, roasted corn & pepper salsa and pico de gallo. Duke ate almost all the chips, the few I could sneak away were used to sample the new sides. The roasted corn & pepper salsa was cool and refreshing, perfect for Summer days. I think it's a great addition to the Taco Bell menu. The guacamole and pico de gallo were good (very fresh and clean, distinct flavors) but I have my mom & pop restaurant favorites. It's great for those of you that can't handle spicy, bold flavors.
While we were waiting, we were entertained by Taco - a dude in a Taco suit. He posed for pictures, danced, worked the room. Everyone loved him. Including my kid. He wanted to book him for his Birthday party.
Next we had a choice of chicken or veggie Cantina bowl. There was only one person that wanted the veggie bowl. Some of the kids like Duke, opted for a regular menu quesadilla or taco. My first observation when the bowls were coming out was that they were HUGE and colorful. When my bowl was handed to me, it had good weight on it and smelled good. I'm usually picky at how I like my bowls. At Yoshinoya, I don't like sauce on my chicken and at Chipotle I want more rice, no beans but the Cantina bowl was perfect. I can't explain it. The positions of citrus-herb marinated chicken, black beans, guacamole, roasted corn & pepper salsa, creamy cilantro dressing, pico de gallo, romaine lettuce and cilantro rice just made delicious harmony. The creamy cilantro dressing is divine. Seriously. Chris and I couldn't stop talking about how good it is. I'm a big fan of rice and would've liked to try the rice separately but didn't ask.. (The staff was more than accomodating and I'm sure would have made it happen) I did like the texture (different from the regular menu rice) and flavor. Not overpowering. I want to comment on the chicken in my bowl but I have nothing to compare it to because at Chipotle, I get carnitas or steak. Would I buy a Cantina bowl? That's a big YES! Am I suggesting you try a Cantina bowl? That's another big YES! Everything in the bowl is fresh, light, refreshing and HEALTHY!
Can you believe after that big bowl, we were given half a Cantina burrito to sample? I couldn't do it, we wrapped it up to take home. I was so full from the bowl! My husband said it was just as good as the bowl. And after that we each got to try a Cinnabon Delights from the Breakfast menu. It was SO SO GOOD. Everyone within hearing distance was raving about it.
Convinced yet? The Cantina Bell menu debuts tomorrow, July 5th! And if you like Taco Bell on Facebook - starting tomorrow you can get a coupon for buy one Cantina bowl and get one FREE! But don't sleep on it, the coupon is only good from July 5th-7th!
Again, Thank you so much Nancy Luna and Steve Smith for an awesome event! Steve, be proud of your staff, they rock!
- The Cantina Bell menu was created by Chef Lorena Garcia - TWO years in the making
- Chef Lorena Garcia will be on Top Chef Masters on July 25th!
- Chicken Cantina bowl is only 460 calories! ($4.79)
- Steak Cantina burrito is only 750 calories! ($4.99)
- For the first time, Taco Bell restaurants will have forks!
Sidenote: My husband and I are big supporters of Mom & Pop restaurants but it doesn't mean that we don't occasionally indulge in chains. Bean & cheese burrito forever! (With Mild Sauce)
Disclosure: I won Fast Food Maven's contest and got to sample delicious food provided by Taco Bell. I was not obligated to write this post. All opinions are our own.