We all know about the smash Taco Bell scored last year with the Naked Chicken Chalupa. It was a taco with a fried chicken shell and even though everyone was kind of disconcerted and weirded out, the things sold. It was classic T-Bell: A stunt that drew eyes while reminding people of the brand’s core offerings and making them curious about something new. It was pulled six weeks later, so that it would have the chance to make waves again next year, when it inevitably returns.
Well, Taco Bell isn’t done with their Atkins-y shell experimentation. Last month, invited to the brand HQ in Orange County, we tasted the “Naked Breakfast Taco” — an AM offering with a foldable fried egg instead of a tortilla or corn shell. The item starts testing on the 18th in Flint, MI (all of this stuff tests in the midwest) and will almost certainly be rolled out nationally.
So how the hell does it taste? The egg is flexible and pliant, if a little slick — if you want a taco without the carbs, you’re getting a good vehicle. Still, science seems to be making a demand here that maybe shouldn’t be made. Fried eggs aren’t that much fun with dry yolks or when they’re cooked down to a sheet. A runny yolk inside a breakfast taco with a flour tortilla would be much more fun (although pretty much impossible to execute at scale).
There’s nothing about the egg itself that tastes particularly exciting, the perk is simply that it doesn’t have carbs. The inside of the taco is great. Potatoes, cheese, crumbled sausage or bacon — hard to go wrong there. We tasted a version with nacho cheese and that is obviously a smart addition to all foodstuffs on earth. There’s also a version that’s “dressed” with a chalupa wrapper — though this feels pretty much like an afterthought and way too bread-y.
Look for egg shell taco to get plenty of attention in the coming months and assume that Taco Bell isn’t done experimenting with shells. Even when they don’t fully work, they’re at least interesting.