Ten Mexican fast-food guilty pleasures
Mexican fare from fast-food chains usually isn't authentic, healthy or even pretty, but it's irresistible. And we all indulge from time to time -- hitting the window at Taco Bell at 2 a.m. after a night of mainlining vodka gimlets; finding any excuse to grab a sunflower-seed-stuffed veggie burrito at Taco Time. Owning your guilty pleasures is one way to achieve self-confidence, and owning mine is a way for me to shove my big, cinnamony opinion-churro down everyone's throats.
So in honor of Cinco de Mayo, here is is my top ten list of Mexican fast-food and fast-casual guilty pleasures:
Imagine loaded nachos, then swap out the corn chips for seasoned, fried tater tots, and you have a both a high-as-hell calorie count and a high level of satisfaction. I always thought they should be called "Tator-totchos," but apparently the folks at Taco John's don't have my knack for making up words. The tots are particularly memorable for their can't-quite-put-a-finger-on-it mystery seasoning, but I'll spoil it for you: celery salt.
9. Super Tex Mex Plate from Taco Cabana.
If you happen to be driving through Texas, Oklahoma or New Mexico (drive through Oklahoma as fast as you can), this combo plate is a must-try. It has everything on it that you could ask for in a fast-food meal: a cheese enchilada, crispy taco, bean and cheese chalupa and a decent-sized side of guacamole. Normally you have to shell out extra shekels for the guac, but not here...not on this plate.
I will freely admit that the only reason I like these funny little flour-tortilla chips dusted in cinny-sugar is because they are called "Crustos." I like saying the name, I like ordering them so I can say the name, and then I love asking everyone in the car to eat my Crustos in the most obnoxious way possible.
7. Macho Nachos from Del Taco.
These Del Taco nachos are heavy on the meat, and you don't even have to ask for jalapenos. Are they manly and macho? Absolutely. But you can really cut back on the masculine by ordering the cheesecake bites for dessert.
6. Cini-Sopapilla Bites from Taco John's.
Taco John's, our "West-Mex" buddy, makes the list again by way of this delectable dessert. It's a cup of tiny, deep-fried sopas rolled in cinnamon-sugar, and they taste just like fresh donut holes -- unless the kitchen hasn't t changed the grease in a while, in which case they taste just like Potato Olés. It's a win either way.