13 Discontinued Taco Bell Menu Items

iStock/NoDerog
iStock/NoDerog

America has been running for the border since Taco Bell was founded in California in 1962. And though the fast food joint has served all manner of nachos, tacos, and burritos since then, they've also discontinued quite a few cheese-stuffed items along the way. In honor of National Taco Day, here are 13 discontinued menu items from Taco Bell.

1. BELL BEEFER

Taco Bell’s take on the Sloppy Joe, the Bell Beefer was introduced in the mid-1970s and survived until the mid-'90s. The Beefer represented Taco Bell’s attempt to combat the popularity of the fast food hamburger. The popular item consisted of a burger-style bun with taco meat, diced onions, shredded lettuce, and mild “border sauce.” A Supreme version was also available, adding grated cheese and diced tomatoes to the mix. Initially a hit, the Bell Beefer lost favor with fans in the late '80s.

2. VOLCANO TACO

Initially rolled out in the fall of 2008 in select locations, the Volcano Taco featured a unique crunchy red taco shell stuffed with ground beef, lettuce, and the immensely popular Lava Sauce, a spicy nacho cheese sauce that was introduced specifically for the Volcano Taco. In light of the taco’s popularity, Taco Bell made the Volcano Taco a part of the permanent menu in 2009. However, in 2013, the introduction of the Fiery Doritos Locos Taco rendered the Volcano redundant and it was phased out.

3. CHEESARITO

Part of Taco Bell’s original menu, the Cheesarito was discontinued but can still be obtained through Taco Bell’s legendary “Secret Menu.” The Cheesarito is simple but delicious, consisting of melted cheese, scallions, and taco sauce, all rolled up in a soft tortilla.

4. BLACK JACK TACO

Taco Bell's Black Jack Taco
The Impulsive Buy, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

The Black Jack Taco is notable for being one of the only menu items in Taco Bell history to utilize a colored tortilla shell (the others being the previously mentioned Volcano and Fiery Doritos Locos Tacos). Introduced for Halloween in 2009, the Black Jack Taco consisted of a black taco shell stuffed with beef, Baja sauce, lettuce, and the three cheese blend. It has not returned since its initial debut, but the Black Jack Taco remains memorable due to allegations that the black dye used on the taco shell changed the color of the customers', erm, number two.

5. CINNAMON CRISPAS

These sugary, cinnamon crisps served as Taco Bell’s dessert of choice for years before they were discontinued.

6. BLT TACO

Part of Taco Bell’s popular “Sizzlin’ Bacon Menu” in the 1990s and 2000s, the BLT Taco was a limited run taco that consisted of—you guessed it—bacon, lettuce, and tomato, topped off with club sauce and cheddar cheese.

7. NACHO CRUNCH GRILLED STUFT BURRITO

The Nacho Crunch Burrito was an item from Taco Bell’s mid-2000s “Stuft” menu. Introduced in 2005 and discontinued in 2006, the Nacho Crunch Burrito featured a double portion of ground beef, nacho cheese, low-fat sour cream, diced red tomatoes, and crunchy red tortilla strips.

8. SEAFOOD SALAD

This short-lived '80s menu item was Taco Bell’s attempt at competing with McDonald’s popular Filet-O-Fish. The salad came with shrimp, whitefish, and snow crab.

9. CHICKEN CAESAR GRILLED STUFT BURRITO

The most popular item from the “Stuft” menu, Taco Bell’s Chicken Caesar Grilled Stuft Burrito made waves when it was first introduced back in the summer of 2003. The menu item was essentially the chain’s take on a classic chicken Caesar wrap, but with a Taco Bell twist. The Chicken Caesar Grilled Stuft Burrito consisted of chicken, romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, and crunchy red tortilla strips. This burrito also has a cult following, with Facebook revival campaigns cropping up every few years.

10. GRILLED STUFT NACHO

Another customer favorite, the Grilled Stuft Nacho was introduced in 2013 and discontinued in 2014. The popular snack consisted of a flour tortilla shaped like a nacho, stuffed with beef, nacho cheese, sour cream, and crunchy red tortilla strips. Although reintroduced briefly in 2015, the Stuft Nacho is once again off the menu. (Though there are online efforts to bring it back.)

11. FULLY LOADED NACHOS

Available at Taco Bell during the fall and winter of 2008 to 2009, Fully Loaded Nachos featured a heaping portion of tortilla chips topped with a double portion of ground beef, Fiesta Salsa, guacamole, refried beans, a three-cheese blend, sour cream, crunchy red strips, and nacho cheese sauce. The dish was served in an edible tortilla bowl.

12. ENCHIRITO

An incredibly popular menu item since its inception in the '70s, the Enchirito was inexplicably discontinued in the 1990s. A burrito/enchilada hybrid, the Enchirito was topped with tangy red sauce and a row of exactly three black olives, and came in a signature reheatable tin. Due to popular demand, the Enchirito was brought back intermittently throughout the '90s and 2000s, until it was eliminated for good in 2013. The Enchirito’s replacement, the Smothered Burrito, failed to attain quite the same level of success, and die-hard Taco Bell customers will still ask their local Bell location to whip up a classic-style Enchirito by ordering a Smothered Burrito but replacing the sour cream and sauce with onions and red sauce. Close enough, even for purists!

13. SPICY CHICKEN CRUNCHWRAP SUPREME

A take-off on staple Taco Bell menu item the Crunchwrap Supreme, the Spicy Chicken Crunchwrap Supreme contained chicken, Lava sauce, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream, all stuffed in a signature tostada shell. It was available from 2006 to 2010, and like so many former menu items, it remains popular amongst Taco Bell fans whose memories are as strong as their stomachs.

This story originally ran in 2016.

3 Delicious Mac and Cheese Dishes You Need to Try

A mac and cheese burger
A mac and cheese burger
Mental Floss Video

Is there a more comforting comfort food than macaroni and cheese? If you love mac and cheese—and wish you could include it in every meal—these recipes are for you. Chef Frank Proto, Director of Culinary Operations at the Institute of Culinary Education, has cooked up three creative recipes that use macaroni and cheese as their main ingredient. For a cheesier cookout, try Chef Frank’s fried mac and cheese burger buns; for more upscale dinners, try the mac and cheese stuffed peppers; and for a perfect party appetizer, we recommend the bacon-wrapped mac and cheese. These recipes transform the classic comfort food in surprising ways—and they’re perfect for revitalizing leftover mac and cheese.

Chef Frank's Classic Mac & Cheese Recipe

Ingredients:

1 Box Elbow Pasta
4 ounces (8 tablespoons) butter
3-4 tablespoons flour
4-5 cups milk
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 pound American cheese
1 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook elbow pasta to desired doneness.
  2. Heat butter in a sauce pot over medium heat.  Add the flour until you get a wet sand consistency. 
  3. Cook over low for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently. 
  4. Add the milk and the garlic and let come to a simmer. 
  5. Lower the heart and let cook for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Add the both cheeses and whisk until combined.
  7. Add the cooked pasta and coat well. 

Mac & Cheese Burger Buns Recipe

Ingredients:

Macaroni and Cheese
2 Eggs
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Bread Crumbs
Burger Patty
Lettuce
Tomatoes
Condiments (ketchup or mustard)
Vegetable Oil

Instructions:

  1. Refrigerate mac & cheese for two hours.
  2. Use a ramekin or a cup to cut out burger bun shape.
  3. Add flour, egg (beaten), and breadcrumbs to separate bowls.
  4. Dip mac and cheese buns in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs consecutively, covering on both sides.
  5. Turn stove on medium high heat and add oil to pan.
  6. Fry mac and cheese buns until golden brown on both sides (about 30 seconds to a minute).
  7. In a separate pan on medium high heat, grill burger patty until it reaches desired doneness.
  8. Build your burger: Add burger patty, lettuce, tomatoes, and your favorite condiments to your mac and cheese burger patties, then dig in!

Bacon-Wrapped Mac and Cheese Recipe

Bacon wrapped macaroni and cheese.

Ingredients:

Macaroni and Cheese
Bacon
Bread Crumbs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a pan with oil, cook bacon until cooked through but not yet crisp.
  3. Grab a muffin or cupcake tin. Line tin with bacon, using one piece per cup.
  4. Pour mac & cheese into tin.
  5. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.
  6. Bake bacon-wrapped mac & cheese in oven for 10-15 minutes or until bacon is crispy.
  7. Let bacon-wrapped mac & cheese cool before removing from tin.
  8. Carefully remove each piece of bacon-wrapped mac & cheese from tin, using a knife to separate any stuck edges.

Mac and Cheese Stuffed Peppers Recipe

Macaroni and cheese stuffed peppers.

Ingredients:

Macaroni and Cheese
Cooked chorizo
3 Bell Peppers
Bread Crumbs
Shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Add cooked chorizo to macaroni and cheese, stirring in with sauce.
  3. Cut tops off of bell peppers and remove seeds.
  4. If bell peppers cannot stand upright on their own, slice bottom to level.
  5. Pour macaroni and cheese into bell peppers.
  6. Top with bread crumbs and shredded cheese.
  7. Place on baking sheet and bake in oven for 10-15 minutes until peppers are soft.
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Cheese Made from Celebrities' Microbes Is On View at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum

iStock/bhofack2
iStock/bhofack2

London's Victoria & Albert Museum is home to such artifacts as ancient Chinese ceramics, notebooks belonging to Leonardo da Vinci, and Alexander McQueen's evening dresses—all objects you might expect to see in a world-famous museum. However, the cultural significance of the selection of cheeses now on display at the museum is less obvious. The edible items, part of a new exhibition called FOOD: Bigger than the Plate, were cultured from human bacteria swabbed from celebrities.

Though most diners may prefer not to think about it, bacteria is an essential ingredient in many popular foods. Beer, bread, chocolate, and cheese all depend on microbes for their signature flavors. Scientists took this ick factor one step further by sourcing bacteria from the human body to make cheese for the new exhibit.

Smell researcher Sissel Tolaas and biologist/artist Christina Agapakis first conceived their human bacteria cheese project, titled Selfmade, in 2013. When a chef and team of scientists recreated it for the Victoria & Albert Museum, they found famous figures to donate their germs. Blur bassist Alex James, chef Heston Blumenthal, rapper Professor Green, Madness frontman Suggs, and The Great British Baking Show contestant Ruby Tandoh all signed up for the project.

A display of the human-microbe cheese at Victoria & Albert museum
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Once the celebrities' noses, armpits, and belly buttons were swabbed, their microbiome samples were used to separate milk into curds and whey. The curds were then pressed into a variety of cheeses: James's swab was used to make Cheshire cheese; Blumenthal's, comté; Professor Green's, mozzarella; Suggs's, cheddar; Tandoh's, stilton.

The cheeses are being sequenced in the lab to determine if they're safe for human consumption. But even if they don't contain any harmful bacteria, they won't be served on anyone's cheese plates. Instead. they're being kept in a refrigerated display at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Museum-goers can catch the cheeses and the rest of the items spotlighted in FOOD: Bigger Than the Plate from now through October 20, 2019.

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