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.

The Most Popular Christmas Cookie in Each State

Jen Tepp/iStock via Getty Images
Jen Tepp/iStock via Getty Images

While opinions about peppermint bark, reindeer corn, and other Christmas candies are important enough to warrant a map of their own, we all know that the real crown jewel of any kitchen counter during the holidays is an enormous platter of homemade cookies.

In a festive endeavor to guess which type of cookie is most likely to be on your counter this Christmas, General Mills collected search data from BettyCrocker.com, Pillsbury.com, and Tablespoon.com, and created a map that shows which recipes are clicked most often in each state.

Those universally adored Hershey Kiss-topped peanut butter cookies, known on Betty Crocker’s website as Classic Peanut Butter Blossoms, took the top spot in seven states, including Florida, Pennsylvania, California, Kentucky, Nevada, South Carolina, and Wyoming. And people don’t just love peanut butter in blossom form—Easy Peanut Butter Cookie Cups, Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cookies, and 2-Ingredient PB-Chocolate Truffles also made appearances on the list.

general mills christmas cookies map
General Mills

Peanut butter treats are definitely a popular choice among holiday bakers in general, and cookie decorators are likely responsible for the prevalence of plain old sugar cookies across the nation. Sugar Cookie Cutouts, Easy Spritz Cookies, and Easy Italian Christmas Cookies all offer a deliciously blank slate for your artistic aspirations.

Apart from peanut butter- and plain sugar-based desserts, the rest of the results were pretty scattered. Iowa most often opts for the figure eight-shaped Swedish Kringla, while Michigan loves a good jam-filled Polish Kolaczki. Surprisingly, Hawaii was the only state to choose gingerbread cookies as their seasonal favorite.

If you’re thinking classic chocolate chip cookies are suspiciously absent from this map altogether, you have great dessert-related detective skills: General Mills decided to omit them from the study, since they’re Betty Crocker’s most-searched cookie recipe all year long, and they would’ve dominated in a staggering 22 states.

Whether you’re looking for a new show-stopping cookie recipe or just wondering how your long-standing family traditions compare to others’, you can read more on the study—and see all the recipes in full—here.

[h/t General Mills]

Why Do Fruitcakes Last So Long?

iStock
iStock

Fruitcake is a shelf-stable food unlike any other. One Ohio family has kept the same fruitcake uneaten (except for periodic taste tests) since it was baked in 1878. In Antarctica, a century-old fruitcake discovered in artifacts left by explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s 1910 expedition remains “almost edible,” according to the researchers who found it. So what is it that makes fruitcake so freakishly hardy?

It comes down to the ingredients. Fruitcake is notoriously dense. Unlike almost any other cake, it’s packed chock-full of already-preserved foods, like dried and candied nuts and fruit. All those dry ingredients don’t give microorganisms enough moisture to reproduce, as Ben Chapman, a food safety specialist at North Carolina State University, explained in 2014. That keeps bacteria from developing on the cake.

Oh, and the booze helps. A good fruitcake involves plenty of alcohol to help it stay shelf-stable for years on end. Immediately after a fruitcake cools, most bakers will wrap it in a cheesecloth soaked in liquor and store it in an airtight container. This keeps mold and yeast from developing on the surface. It also keeps the cake deliciously moist.

In fact, fruitcakes aren’t just capable of surviving unspoiled for months on end; some people contend they’re better that way. Fruitcake fans swear by the aging process, letting their cakes sit for months or even years at a stretch. Like what happens to a wine with age, this allows the tannins in the fruit to mellow, according to the Wisconsin bakery Swiss Colony, which has been selling fruitcakes since the 1960s. As it ages, it becomes even more flavorful, bringing out complex notes that a young fruitcake (or wine) lacks.

If you want your fruitcake to age gracefully, you’ll have to give it a little more hooch every once in a while. If you’re keeping it on the counter in advance of a holiday feast a few weeks away, the King Arthur Flour Company recommends unwrapping it and brushing it with whatever alcohol you’ve chosen (brandy and rum are popular choices) every few days. This is called “feeding” the cake, and should happen every week or so.

The aging process is built into our traditions around fruitcakes. In Great Britain, one wedding tradition calls for the bride and groom to save the top tier of a three-tier fruitcake to eat until the christening of the couple’s first child—presumably at least a year later, if not more.

Though true fruitcake aficionados argue over exactly how long you should be marinating your fruitcake in the fridge, The Spruce says that “it's generally recommended that soaked fruitcake should be consumed within two years.” Which isn't to say that the cake couldn’t last longer, as our century-old Antarctic fruitcake proves. Honestly, it would probably taste OK if you let it sit in brandy for a few days.

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