Taco Bell HQ News: Heat Is Where It’s At


Americans don’t want spicy food.  Oh, they think they do, but they really don’t.  The want medium — “zesty” — but not really, truly hot.

That’s always been the conventional wisdom.  It’s said that, while there are always the daredevil diners who will pour the habanero sauce on anything, middle-America isn’t interested in being challenged with real heat.  In other words, most of us are wimps.

But could the conventional wisdom be going by the wayside?  Might the American palate be shifting in a way that opens up menus at national restaurant chains to items that deliver the goods in terms of a truly spicy meal?  That’s what the folks at Taco Bell are counting on with the recent expansion of the Volcano Menu.  Proven sales performance and an overall belief in changing culinary trends have them convinced they have a product that can sell well around the country with a genuinely spicy dish.

But could the heat be enough to impress me, the undisputed Endless Simmer king of chicken wings?

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Endless Simmer Goes Behind the Bell

I’ll be honest with you:  I’m not a big eater of fast food.  Takeout items like Chinese and pizza are much more likely options when I’m looking for a quick, convenient and inexpensive dinner.  The fact of the matter is, with most of the big chains, I just don’t find their offerings interesting enough.  Of course, there is one exception…

I’ve always had a thing for Taco Bell.  Why?  It has some spice.  It uses cilantro (which I think we’ve definitively said is a good thing).  It’s just different enough from the usual American fast food offerings to have held my interest.

This is why the Beef Baja Chalupa (those shells are addictive) has been occupying a spot on my bio since I came aboard ES.com and it’s likely why I received an offer to be flown out to Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine, California along with a number of other bloggers to tour their test kitchens and discuss product development.  The opportunity for a behind-the-scenes look at the kitchen and make one last attempt to be reunited with a long-lost friend from the Taco Bell menu were too much to pass up…

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