It's Super Bowl weekend and people from every corner of the globe have descended on Las Vegas to watch the two best NFL teams play the biggest game in the league. But that's not the only reason people are traveling to Vegas. They're coming for the numerous parties as well. Parties like Shaq's Fun House or Guy's Flavortown Tailgate. But there was another party happening this weekend. A party that you couldn't buy tickets to. A party that only the most devoted fan could get into. A party for Taco Bell.
Taco Bell's Live Más LIVE event was an extravaganza of future and food. Not only were there musical guests and awards, we also learned about Taco Bell's new TBX program -- and, of course, there was plenty of food! But we're not just talking about tacos and quesadillas. If you're a Taco Bell fan, you know that we "make a run for the border" specifically so we can get the chalupa, a Mexican Pizza, or the infamous Crunchwrap Supreme.
Well, hold on to your sombreros, because Taco Bell is about to release some new menu items that will give those classics a run for the money. What are some of these fantastic new items? We were lucky enough to snag one of those exclusive invites to see and taste what Taco Bell has coming in 2024.
Taco Bell Awards
There are plenty of awards ceremonies this time of year: the Golden Globes, the Grammys, the Oscars and so many more. But now Taco Bell can be added to that list. Premiering at Live Más LIVE, Taco Bell presented their own awards -- but these golden bells weren't given out to well-known celebrities, these awards were given to the fans. And just like all awards ceremonies, Taco Bell had two people on hand to present the awards: All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams, and TikTok media host Davis Burleson.
While only five awards were handed out, each award had its own category and each recipient easily encapsulated that category by showing their love and loyalty to Taco Bell. Tarun Sinha won Menu Hack of the Year for his Taco Bell wine pairings. Sheel Mohnot & Amruta Godbole received the award for Wedding of the Year by getting married in the Taco Bell Metaverse. Cutter Berk received the Drive-Thru Ride of the Year award for his super cool Taco Bell-themed motorcycle. Kai Lenny received the Best Live Más Moment for enjoying Taco Bell's bean & cheese burritos before surfing competitions. But the biggest award of the day -- the award for Superfan of the Year -- went to The Living Más Community on Reddit, r/LivingMas.
While musical performances and awards are cool, we attended Live Más LIVE to hear about Taco Bell's new and exciting ventures in food. One such venture is the new TBX program which connects emerging culinary talent from all over the nation with Global Chief Food Innovation Officer Liz Matthews and her team to create new and interesting menu options.
The first class of this new program is comprised of three chefs: Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin, Reuben Asaram, and Lawrence Smith, who Matthews introduced us to at the event. All three chefs have a wide range of culinary talent and will pair their expertise with the Taco Bell team to reimagine the iconic Crunchwrap Supreme. Their unique twist on this classic Taco Bell dish will debut later this year at select locations.
But that's not the coolest part of the TBX program. As we mentioned, Dobbertin, Asaram, and Smith are just the first class, which means there will be more classes in the future. We learned that Matthews and Taco Bell plan to keep the program going, which means they're currently looking for more chefs to bring into the fold. All you have to do is apply.
If you're an empanada fan, you're going to love Taco Bell's new Crispanada. A riff on the classic empanada, it's a deep-fried chicken empanada that's filled with tender chunks of chicken and tons of melted cheesy goodness. A cheese lover's dream, this empanada is out of this world. The cheddar cheese is thick and gooey and coats the inside of the empanada like a blanket. There's so much cheese, in fact, we weren't sure there was any chicken after the first bite. But we kept munching and discovered those delicious chunks of chicken braised in a rich ranchero sauce. The chicken was so tender it melted in our mouths and the ranchero sauce coated every piece to add a nice bite that tied the whole dish together.
While you can enjoy the Crispanada all on its own, it does come with a spicy ranch for dipping. The ranch has a slow smoky burn that takes the dish up a notch. The Crispanada is so good on its own, we don't feel you need to dip it in anything. But if you want a little extra heat, then you'll love this spicy ranch. Is your mouth watering? Well good news, you don't have to wait long for a taste. Even though this is a brand new addition to Taco Bell's menu, you'll be able to try it next week when it drops at every restaurant across the nation.
Cantina Chicken Menu
We all know about the beef tacos and chalupas at Taco Bell, but what about chicken? According to Taylor Montgomery, North America's Chief Marketing Officer, the fans promise to come to Taco Bell for lunch if there are more chicken options. Well, Montgomery and the gang heard the request, and starting next month, Taco Bell will be releasing a whole new Cantina Chicken menu which will include the Cantina Chicken Burrito, a Cantina Chicken Taco (available in a soft or crispy taco shell), Cantina Chicken Quesadilla, and the Cantina Chicken Bowl. We tasted both the soft and the crispy Cantina chicken tacos and they were delicious!
As promised, the chicken is slow-roasted to succulent tenderness. Then it's shredded and covered with a savory seasoning of Mexican spices that include a medley of chiles. But since a taco isn't a taco unless it's got toppings, there is also shredded purple cabbage, shredded cheddar cheese, lettuce, and pico de gallo all tucked into a white corn taco shell. But wait, there's more.
If that delicious combination of ingredients isn't enough, Taco Bell is adding another sauce to its well-known sauce packets: the Avocado Verde Salsa. We drizzled it over our Chicken Taco and were delighted by the bright zing it added. The avocado and the herbal notes of the salsa verde just shine. While we only enjoyed the sauce on our taco, we're sure it would be amazing on any of Taco Bell's tacos or chalupas.
Baja Blast Gelato And Pie
Taco Bell is celebrating a birthday. Mountain Dew Baja Blast is turning 20. To celebrate, Taco Bell is adding a few items to its dessert menu: Baja Blasts Twists, Baja Blast Pie, and Baja Blast Gelato. After tasting all three, we're here to tell you that the pie and the gelato are the definite winners. While neither will be released until later in the year, once they're on the menu, you need to try them.
The Baja Blast is a tangy citrus soda created by Mountain Dew specifically for Taco Bell. While this soda has a nice tang, there's a tropicality to it that makes it totally unique. But it's the turquoise color that really makes this soda stand out, which is why both the gelato and the pie are that same signature turquoise. Slated for summer, the gelato (which reminded us more of a sherbet than a gelato) will be a refreshing way to beat the heat.
Out of all three, we were surprised that the pie was far and away our favorite. Reminiscent of a key lime pie, the filling is a thick baja blast curd that's topped with pillows of whipped cream and lime zest. Our first bite provided a silky texture that was followed by a blast of citrus that we just couldn't help but devour. Mongomery said the pie won't be out until Thanksgiving, but we really hope we don't have to wait that long.
Ice Cream Chocolate Taco
Who remembers the Choco Taco, that nostalgic ice cream treat you could grab from the local ice cream truck? Well, Taco Bell is creating its own spin with a little help from its friends over at Salt & Straw. The taco itself is a cinnamon ancho ice cream that's tucked inside a waffle cone shell. Then the whole thing is dipped in dark chocolate. While the shell is a delicately sweet waffle cone, the ice cream is exactly what we expect from Salt & Straw: rich and creamy with hints of cinnamon. But it's those ancho chiles that really kick the taco over the top, giving the ice cream a wonderful punch that tingles the tongue.
If Taco Bell only decided to release the ice cream taco, we'd be totally thrilled. But since neither Taco Bell nor Salt & Straw rest on their laurels, four dipping sauces come with the dessert. There's chocolate chili, mango jalapeño, cinnamon wild berry, and cheesecake. The cinnamon wild berry and chocolate chili were our favorites. The wild berry added a delectable fruity tang that complemented the ice cream. But that chocolate chili sauce was the embodiment of decadence. It was thick and rich, and because it was a dark chocolate sauce it wasn't too sweet. While the sauce was amazing drizzled over the taco, we aren't ashamed to admit that once the taco was gone, we enjoyed the sauce all on its own.
Read the original article on Mashed.