Well, first of all, let’s all drop the notion that Taco Bell has ever served authentic Mexican food. These are the people that brought us octagonal taco-monstrosities — it doesn’t exactly matter that they branch into wings. But, more importantly, Taco Bell has already proven that they can out-do other establishments in foods that don’t seem like their territory. In fact, the Taco Bell french fry — aka the “nacho fry” — may well be the best fast-food french fry on the market.
Always the perfect ratio of crispy exterior to soft interior, the nacho fry is coated in “bold, Mexican spices” and served with a side of hot nacho cheese for dipping. Rarely is a combination of cheese and potatoes a bad idea — Taco Bell already executes it well with their fiesta potatoes. But there’s something about the texture of the fries that surpasses those of McDonald’s, Burger King and the other major players. I’d say their closest competitor is Checkers/Rally’s, who offer a similarly seasoned fry that takes on a gorgeous, deep-golden hue. Still, the nacho fries win in their flavor and the fact that they’re served with a side of nacho cheese. Something served with a side of nacho cheese is better than something that’s not served with nacho cheese, even if I don’t end up using it (though to be clear, I definitely do). That’s basic math.
Tragically, to my absolute chagrin, Taco Bell doesn’t offer nacho fries year-round. Instead, they’ve been periodically teasing us with them since their initial release in 2018. As soon as they were taken off the menu after their first run, people flipped out. Desperate tweets were sent. Change.com petitions were made. People set up Google News alerts to be the first to know when they’d return.
January 25th of this year will mark the four-year anniversary of their release, though there’s no word on whether they’ll celebrate the occasion by bringing them back. There seems to be little organizing principle behind when they do have them — as soon as you get into the habit of ordering them, they yank them off the menu. Taco Bell must bank on their exclusivity, knowing that I want them more because I can’t have them now.
Almost universally, the internet agrees with me. I don’t see one negative tweet about nacho fries. Occasionally, you can find nacho fry detractors on places like r/TacoBell, but their negativity always hinges on the premise that most everyone else loves them. There are posts like “Am I the Only One Who Hates Nacho Fries?” and “The Nacho Fries Suck — Why Does Everyone Like Them?” The main complaint from these folks is that the fries are inconsistent, and that they often receive a batch that’s soggy. To be fair, Taco Bell is absolutely a chain I would label as “inconsistent.” And while I’m not out here trying to run quality control for Taco Bell corporate, all my nacho fry experiences have been thoroughly enjoyable, So, sorry to the haters and the losers.
I realize the wings are temporary — they were only available for a week — but I don’t understand the economics behind Taco Bell bringing in the wings, but not the fries. Weren’t we just in a wing shortage? Surely potatoes must cost a fraction of what all those chickens do?
Either way, I’m fucking hooked. And while I’ve already missed out on the chance to try the wings, I feel like Taco Bell at least proved they were worthy of giving it a shot. We can only hope that once all this wing press dies down, they’ll bestow us once more with our little starchy treats, too.