Taco Time

59 ratings (53 Epinions reviews)
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Taco Time vs. Taco Bell: Lets get it on!

Jun 16, 2000
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Fresher than most fast food, great salsas, good variety

Cons:Still fast food, many deep fried dishes

I am definitely not a big proponent of chain restaurant fast food, but on occasion the convenience factor of such establishments wins out and I find myself sitting in the ubiquitous fast food 'drive-thru'. Not to get too far off the subject, but I have found that 'drive-thrus' are rarely a quicker alternative to going into the restaurant and ordering your food to go. If there are more than two cars already waiting, I always park and go inside to order my food. Nine times out of ten, one of those cars is still waiting. Anyhow, I digress, so back to the subject at hand.

If you happen to live in an area where there are Taco Time restaurants consider yourself fortunate. As one can probably discern from the name, Taco Time is fast food Mexican fare. Taco Time is the David to Taco Bell's Goliath (wow, that is really quite something for me to use a biblical reference!) Anyhow, Taco Time serves food that is similar in nature and design to Taco Bell, but that's where the similarities end.

One of the first things you notice as you unwrap your Taco Time food is that it is substantially larger than Taco Bell's offerings. Yes, you will pay a little more at Taco Time, but it isn't that significant of an increase and the overall food quantity and quality warrant the price difference. The various ingredients all taste and look fresher, unlike their Taco Bell compadres. All the veggies at Taco Time are sliced thicker, so you can actually taste what you are eating. Taco Bells veggies and cheese are sliced and grated so fine that it's difficult to identify what you are eating (and perhaps this is by design?)

Taco Time offers all the usual Mexican fast food cuisine; Tacos, burritos, enchiladas (which Taco Bell doesn't offer, unless you count that cute named, yet vaguely unfamiliar 'Enchirito'), taco salad, and even gorditas. Both establishments offer 'Mexi-nuggets' (God, that really doesn't sound too appetizing if you think too much about it), that are, of course, glorified tater-tots. I usually avoid ground beef at such establishments, but the ground beef at Taco Time actually resembles meat, unlike the brownish, chunky paste which Taco Bell serves.

Taco Time also serves a few complete platter style dinners, which include a couple main entrees like tacos or burritos, and serve them with beans, rice, and tortillas. Another staple at Taco Time is their crispy tacos. These items resemble a tightly rolled up burrito more than a taco, and they are filled with meat or beans and deep-fried. I realize that they are rather unhealthy, but they are very tasty and if you're trying to eat healthy you shouldn't be doing fast food. Another one of my indulgences at Taco Time is their crispy empenada dessert. Basically, they are identical to the crispy tacos, except these are filled with fruit, like blackberry or apple.

Probably my favorite feature of Taco Time is their hot sauces. They offer three different varieties, mild, medium, and hot. The medium is my favorite, as it is a green, tomatillo-based salsa. I'd be willing to bet money that Taco Bell's hot sauces are identical ingredients except for different levels of chili powder. Taco Time's sauces are also much chunkier, which helps to add to the authenticity (I never encountered any 'pureed' salsas on my various visits to Mexico. Taco Time does provide some healthier alternatives, like their veggie burrito that comes wrapped in a whole-wheat tortilla with beans, rice, veggies, and even sunflower seeds.

Without a doubt, Taco Time blows Taco Bell out of the water. Of course Taco Bell is more popular, but they have the advantage of multi-million dollar advertising and locations almost literally everywhere. Keep in mind, however, that this is fast food. By definition it isn't going to be near as satisfying as a homemade or authentic Mexican meal, but to me, they are two distinct kinds of food. I really don't even consider Taco Time or Taco Bell 'Mexican' food; they are just variations of American fast food. I still don't recommend eating at fast food restaurants more than twice a month, as they are usually extremely high in fat and sodium while providing little nutritious benefit.



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