Taco Bell Drunk, Taco Bell Sober 

Walk, Don't Run, for the Border

Taco Bell

Everywhere

Consuming Taco Bell while intoxicated is something like chugging a huge glass of water after awaking from seven hours of drunken sleep. We all know it's magic. Vegetarians have, while in drunken states, been seen wolfing down steak gorditas. People who were passed out have been spotted manning the steering wheel of a car, just to get a bag packed with nachos bell grande, a Baja gordita, two soft taco supremes, and a seven-layer. (Of course, invariably, Taco Bell will forget to include one of the soft tacos.)

Recently, while blind drunk, I ate two cheese quesadillas, a bean burrito, and a double-decker taco. It went down fast, salty, soupy, and delicious, sloppily squirted with bland hot sauce, and providing a much needed liquor sponge. The next day, the only evidence I had been to Taco Bell were beans caked all over my jean jacket, a mid-afternoon run for the bathroom, and a hangover that was noticeably milder than usual. (Note: One of the best ways to avoid a hangover is to eat and drink water before bed.)

The true test of Taco Bell, however, is eating it sober. True, it's a daunting, horrifying task, and one that threatens to ruin Taco Bell forever; but then, maybe that's a good thing.

In a sober state, Taco Bell tastes something like salty vomit. Usually my favorite item, the double-decker beef taco, was soggy; its inner "crunchy" taco shell melted into the layer of beans coating the outside. The ground beef was distinctly unmeaty, and tasted like taco mix sprinkled on ground erasers, or licking someone's sweaty armpit.

As for the bean burrito: Touted as TB's lowest-calorie item, at only 370 calories and 10 grams of fat, the reconstituted beans left a film in my mouth very similar to the oily residue you find on your hands after making meatballs. I quit eating it halfway through, muttering a dramatic, "Ewww, sick," as I threw the remains into the garbage.

Reaching in the bag for a cheese quesadilla, I had a renewed sense of hope. "How can they fuck this up?" I wondered. Warm flour tortillas melted with cheese and whatever that special red sauce is--it has to be delicious. Well, I'm not going to lie and say it sucked for the sake of consistency. The cheese quesadilla was good, although not as good as I remember. It seems Taco Bell has downgraded from using real cheese to some powdery squeeze cheese which runs all over your hands; I'm not even coordinated enough to eat this stuff while I'm sober--no wonder it always ends up caked in my hair when I'm hosed.

In short, if cigarettes were put into a machine and made into a food, it would be Taco Bell. Every ingredient that makes up their bargain-basement cuisine seems like it was created from chemicals in a factory. And, while it goes down easily when you have no conscience, sober consumption may, as in my case, ruin Taco Bell forever. Oh well, I guess that just means I'm back to late-night fridge raids, consisting of heels of bread and BBQ sauce.

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