Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Once a "secret menu" item, the Taco Bell Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch is now out in the open.

Over two years ago, I started the Yeah, I Ate That Column with the Doritos Locos Taco at Taco Bell. Now, the circle is complete, and covered in orange dust.

Taco Bell has gone on to expand their Doritos entrée empire with Cool Ranch Tacos and Fiery Tacos. But as we all know, Taco Bell is not all about creating new things, but really finding new ways to combine its existing menu items in new ways. Meat, cheese, tortilla – it’s an endless bounty of opportunities for reinvention for the Taco Bell Kitchen.

So now comes the Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch, which takes the Doritos Locos Taco and gives it the Gordita treatment. And, for once, it’s a reinvention that actually approves on the original.

The Gordita, for the uninitiated, looks like the Taco Bell entrée for the customer who can’t make up his mind. It’s a hard-shell taco encased in melted cheese and a soft, pillowy tortilla. (As an aside, why does Taco Bell always refer to its tortillas as “pillowy”? Is that supposed to make us feel sleepy and lower our resistance to its Franken-taco?)

So the Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch gives the same treatment to the Doritos Locos Taco. But it’s a mash-up that fixes one of the main flaws of the original Locos Tacos – the shell. Taco Bell insists that the orange dusted shell is made out of real Doritos, although it always just seemed like a regular shell to me. But the shell always seemed somewhat flimsy, and would crumble in my hands, turning my Doritos Locos Taco into a Doritos Locos Taco Salad in my fingers.

But the genius of the Gordita is that it holds the shell firmly in the three-cheese adhesive and outer tortilla layer, buttressing the original taco like an extra layer of insulation. The mix of soft tortilla and hard shell, melted cheese and Doritos dust, actually all works pretty well together.

Rumor has it that the Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch was available for a while as a “secret menu” item, available only to those in the know. But now, the mash-up has been brought out into the light, where it belongs. I almost can’t wait to see what Doritos related product that Taco Bell comes out with in the next two years. And yet, at the same time, I think I can wait.

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Rob Thomas is the features editor and social media editor for the Capital Times, as well as its film critic. He joined the Cap Times in 1999 and has written about movies, music, food and books.