Taco Bell, I’m begging you. Please stop calling your menu items “Naked.”
First it was the Naked Chicken Chalupa. Then it was the Naked Chicken Chips. Now it’s the ickiest name yet, the Naked Egg Taco. The words “naked” and “Taco Bell” should never appear in the same sentence, unless that sentence also contains the phrase “Florida man arrested.”
Taco Bell apparently uses “naked” to refer to a menu item in which the food that’s normally on the inside of the taco shell gets turned into the shell itself. The Naked Chicken Chalupa (now no longer available on the menu) featured a piece of fried chicken that had been warped into a shell.
So, you can probably guess what Naked Egg Taco means, although you might not believe it. It’s a breakfast taco in which the shell is a fried egg. It’s available for a limited time only, along with a version that includes a flatbread outer shell. That’s called the Dressed Egg Taco. Which somehow makes the Naked Egg Taco feel even more nude, somehow.
So, one bright morning I joined my friend and resident Taco Bell expert, John Holland, for a Naked Egg Taco and a Dressed Egg Taco. The Naked Egg Taco comes in a cardboard sleeve and is, indeed, a circular fried egg that has been pressed flat and molded into a shell. You can even see where the yolk is, although, obviously and thankfully, it’s not runny.
The fried egg shell is pretty greasy to hold, and there was something off-putting about the slippery, quivering feel of it in my hands. On the upside, I expected the egg would fall apart but it held together, keeping the ingredients in place, from the first bite to the last.
Inside the egg shell, Taco Bell puts cheese sauce, hash browns, shredded cheese and your choice of bacon or sausage. There’s a little spice to the cheese sauce (John correctly pointed out it’s the cheese dipping sauce for the Naked Chicken Chips), but for real heat, dribble some Fire sauce on top.
It’s actually a satisfying mix of flavors, although I had bacon with my Naked Egg Taco, which was made up of chewy little pieces, barely a step up from bacon bits. Still, that greasy egg casing never stopped being weird, and the Naked Egg Taco felt unfinished somehow.
I figured out what it needed — the flatbread on the Dressed Egg Taco. The soft bread provided the missing ingredient that the taco needed, playing off the filling perfectly and rightfully reducing the fried egg to a supporting role. I guess the Naked Egg Taco is more paleo, but then there are those hash browns inside.
I also made the decision to order the Dressed Egg Taco with sausage, which was tasty and much preferable to the bacon. “It’s probably less healthy than the bacon,” John said. “But you’re already at Taco Bell.”
Part of me felt a little ashamed that, with all the weird stuff that I’ve tried for the Yeah, I Ate That column, I wasn’t ready physically or emotionally for a fried-egg taco shell. I needed the reassuring comfort of that flatbread to make the breakfast complete.
But when it comes to breakfast, maybe a little modesty is a good thing.