Friday, November 19, 2010

Drive-thru Gourmet: XXL Chalupa: It's huge, and a huge mess

Drive-thru Gourmet: XXL Chalupa: It's huge, and a huge mess
Houston Chronicle
Nov. 3, 2010

This week I reached out for a new XXL Chalupa, a monster sandwich that brags that big things come in big packages, from America's No. 1 Mexican-inspired drive-through, Taco Bell, with 5,800 restaurants in all 50 states north of the border.

By introducing the XXL Chalupa, Taco Bell is joining the bigger is better club, challenging KFC's Double Down fried chicken sandwich for demented overload and over-the-top calories, fat and carbs. Taco Bell went right past an XL Chalupa and went straight to XXL.

Here's the XXL Chalupa blueprint: a big wide chalupa shell that looks like a deep-fried canoe, packed with seasoned ground beef, crispy lettuce, fiesta salsa, a blend of three cheeses — cheddar, pepper jack and mozzarella — nacho cheese sauce, red tortilla-chip strips and (ironically) reduced-fat sour cream.

Total calories: 650. Fat grams: 39. Dietary fiber: 7. Carbs: 53. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $2.99. Your mileage may differ.

The XXL Chalupa's shtick is that it is Two X Large, which will be the size of your T-shirt if you eat too many of them. This is strictly for growing teenagers, workout freaks and Adam Richman of Man vs. Food.

The shell is bigger, crispier and doughier than a regular chalupa. It has the texture of fry bread, and it still struggles to keep all its ingredients in check. Have extra napkins — or a drop cloth — handy.

Three cheeses, plus nacho sauce, plus two salsas, plus shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes and loose ground beef … this may be the messiest Taco Bell brainstorm ever.

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