When Del Taco’s PR firm offered me a gift card for their new CrunchTada, I wasn’t exactly sold on doing a review of it, because it didn’t seem like a revolutionary new menu item. Yeah, I’m telling you this right out of the gate. That’s probably not the best way to go about a food review.
But! It turns out that there are many layers to the CrunchTada, pun completely intended. If you’d like to know how the CrunchTada tastes, scroll down. Otherwise, get ready for a breakdown of Del Taco’s marketing campaign. I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.
Let’s start with their voting schtick, which you can find here.
How would you say CrunchTada? Probably phonetically (like tostada), and with an appropriate amount of sheepishness, because that’s a silly made-up word. But Del Taco thinks you might also want to say it like “Crunch Ta-Daa! (like a magic trick)”. Feel free to vote on the above website, and sound like an idiot at the drive-thru if you think the Del Taco employee will be amused at your magic-trick pronunciation.
When I got my promo package, it came in an actual CrunchTada box, which I found to be a nice touch. “We apologize for the noise.” Aw, isn’t that cute? But wait, Del Taco wasn’t done yet…
Earplugs! Their promo item is earplugs. Because you see it’s a CrunchTada and it’s crunchy and so- I think you get the point.
I want so badly to make fun of that, but when I opened up the box, I actually laughed out loud. Was I laughing with Del Taco or at them? I’m not even sure, but either way, I felt mirth. Mission accomplished.
One more thing, people. One more thing.
This is the inside top of the box. For a fast food item, it looks like a novel, but there’s much to be examined in this block of maniacally size-varying text.
It starts off fairly pedestrian, with claims of “awakening taste buds you didn’t even know you had” (does anyone really know how many taste buds they do have? Would you know if your dormant taste buds suddenly awakened?) and being so bold and crunchy that it has to have a name like CrunchTada, yadda yadda. CrunchYadda.
Then Del Taco goes off the rails, demanding to know how you eat yours. Here are your options:
- Your hands
- A fork
- Chopsticks made of straws
- A harpoon
- Bionic fingers
- Blindfolded so your other senses are heightened
This list sounds like it was created by a really awesome eight-year-old. The kind that would run up to you holding a plastic T-Rex, yell, “HIS NAME IS CRAZYBONGOS,” and then just run away again. I now totally want to try using straws as chopsticks. And have bionic fingers. And figure out the logistics of eating a CrunchTada with a harpoon.
Unfortunately, I’m not as cool as Crazybongos, so I used my hands, like a boring non-bionic human.
Del Taco describes the CrunchTada as “A thick, wavy, crunchy corn shell layered with slow-cooked beans made from scratch, our signature tangy taco sauce, crisp lettuce, and freshly hand-grated cheddar cheese.”
I describe my CrunchTada as “placed in the bag on its side”, but that’s just circumstance.
All of the ingredients described above were present, except for the “wavy” part. My corn shell was as flat as Nebraska’s topography. It was, however, thick, and surprisingly, crunchy. One might expect a soggy mess, but my CrunchTada stayed crispy bite after bite, so kudos for nailing that part.
Unfortunately, the rest was, well…boring. There were beans. There was lettuce, which was actually crisp, so that’s a plus, especially when dealing with fast food. There was cheese, as you can see. And there was what I guess you could call “taco sauce”, which tasted much like Del Taco’s mild sauce. I wish there had been more sauce, because it would have livened things up a bit. Luckily, I had packets to add my own.
I think the biggest insult to my mouth was the fact that my CrunchTada was completely cold. Looking at the picture of it on Del Taco’s website, it doesn’t look like the cheese is supposed to be melted or anything, but at least the beans should have been warm.
The whole thing was basically a cold, boring, unfolded crunchy taco. Yeah, it was crunchy, which is the whole point, I guess? But beyond that, there was just nothing at all special about it.
Now here’s some good things about the CrunchTada: first off, it’s only a buck. For a buck, it’s actually pretty filling – more filling than a regular crunchy taco. Break out your straw chopsticks, value seekers!
Second, Del Taco also offers CrunchTada Pizzas. In addition to the regular CrunchTada ingredients, these also include nacho cheese, diced tomatoes, cilantro, and your choice of seasoned beef or marinated grilled chicken.
These obviously cost more ($2.29 and $2.49, respectively), but I think the added ingredients would have made my mouth much more satisfied. While I chose to review the CrunchTada in its purest form, the CrunchTada Pizzas sound like they’d give Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza a run for its money.
So, while the CrunchTada Tostada doesn’t exactly break any new ground or awaken any new taste buds, if you’re looking for cheap but filling, it does meet those admittedly low expectations. And Del Taco’s marketing department did an excellent job of entertaining me, even if the CrunchTada did not.
[Disclaimer: This Del Taco CrunchTada Tostada was purchased via a gift card received from Del Taco.]
Del Taco CrunchTada Tostada
- Score: 2 out of 5 Crazybongos trying to eat a CrunchTada with his tragically short forelegs
- Price: Free (regular retail $1.00)
- Size: 1 CrunchTada Tostada
- Purchased at: Del Taco #806
- Nutritional Quirks: Nothing really suspicious here, so I guess I’ll just complain again that my tostada was not wavy. Also, a free harpoon would have made a great promo item. Just sayin’.