All words: Avalon Swindell Jones, Mackenzie Bailey, Ashley Wright, Stephanie Breijo
All photos: Stephanie Breijo
IT’S HERE. Every so often Taco Bell unleashes a new gift unto the world, some abomination of all its previously-combined ingredients to create a new Voltron of meat, cheese, tortilla and shame. We brought you our thoughts on the Smothered Burrito; today we sample The Bell’s latest, the new Grilled Stuft Nachos, along with its suggested pairing, the MTN Dew Baja Blast Freeze. Enter at your own risk.
I would never drink the MTN Dew Baja Blast again for a few reasons: One, Mountain Dew is the worst soda you could possibly drink, or so I’m told. Two, you would think since it’s a blue/green color, it would be good in a slushie, reminds-me-of-my-childhood kind of way; but it pretty much tastes like absolutely nothing and is not super sugary, which I’m not complaining about. I have to admit it’s rather refreshing, though, especially with a shot of rum. New mixer, anyone?
Let it never be said that I don’t enjoy the occasional stop at Taco Bell. Let it always be said, however, that I pick and choose my processed poison very carefully, systematically avoiding nearly all meats and the Bell’s own brand of thirst quenching; the former often rubbery, chalky, or Grade-F, the latter sugary and what I always assume to be toxic. It’s unsurprising, then, that I approached Taco Bell’s new Grilled Stuft Nacho and MTN Dew Baja Blast with trepidation, cautiously taking mouthfuls of both.
The “MTN” “blast” slides over the tongue with sheaths of sugary ice and a vaguely chemical taste as the liquid hits the sides of the tongue. Aside from the chemicals, this drink really tastes more like an absence of flavor; it’s like Blue Gatorade on steroids. The Stuft Nacho looks almost identical to the Crunchwrap Supreme but don’t be fooled; while one is layered and actually crunchy, the other is an internally amorphous blob of cold sour cream and lukewarm meat, cheese, and tortilla strips which are anything but stiff. The trademark ground beef, slightly chalky, is smothered in thick nacho sauce and nacho cheese–the same cheese which gets unfortunately absorbed into the radioactive-red tortilla strips, rendering them wholly soggy and flecked with neon orange.
If you can get past the fact that this beverage practically glows, the MTN Dew Baja Blast from Taco Bell smells a lot more pungent than it tastes. Personally, I don’t think it tastes like anything more than a really strong slushy Sprite. The Taco Bell website pairs this beverage with the Grilled Stuft (not stuffed) Nacho, which makes zero sense. Nothing about either of these things compliment each other. The Grilled Stuft Nacho tastes probably like you imagine it does. As someone who enjoys really low quality food, my standards are not set high but this Grilled Stuft Nacho did not do anything for me. This would definitely not be my first option, I’d rather just have a taco, and when you cut open the Grilled Stuft Nacho it looks extremely unsettling to me. I’d give the Grilled Stuft Nacho/Baja Blast combination a solid 4/10, which is what I imagine to be a very generous rating for a Taco Bell meal.
MTN Dew Baja Blast without rum: This is just the adult iteration of the cheap, sickly-sweet snow cone your mother used to give you when she wanted you to stop whining about the summer heat and let her roast in the sun in peace.
MTN Dew Baja Blast with rum: I made the mistake of taking a breath as I was bringing a cup of this stuff up to my face. It tastes exactly the same with the rum as it does without, except all you can smell is rum. And the aftertaste is pretty much just rum. Basically it’s slushy rum with bright blue food coloring and a disconcerting chemical tang. Still, the rum is an improvement.
The Nacho Stuft is just a new arrangement of the same pseudo-Mexican Taco Bell hodgepodge of flour tortilla, “meat,” and dayglo orange “cheese” that comprises all of TB’s products. It tastes like sadness tinged with a sense of vague drunken shame; you get the feeling that you should probably check your sent text messages and delete all the questionable pictures from your phone, just in case.
Bottom Line: If you’re going to ingest these, add rum. We realize this is probably what brought you to Taco Bell in the first place thusly perpetuating your drunken, unbreakable circle of terrible Taco Bell decisions, but you will never break the cycle so you might as well embrace it.