The Hungover Gourmet


Fast Food ReviewsMexican Pizza and 2 Hard Shell Light Taco Supremes (sampled at The Bell, Rt. 30 in Oaklyn, NJ)

Good food is like a good relationship. Find something appealing and stick with it regardless of the accompanying ups and downs. That's how I am with my TBA obsessions -- I find an appealing combo and beat it to death by predictably ordering it every friggin' time. My current obsession is the hearty meal listed above, ordered for $4.00 on the nose at the Bell around the corner from my last digs.

It's a marvel this has become my de facto order, considering the disastrous first few attempts at ordering it. Despite spelling my request out clearly and precisely, my first venture resulted in a Mexican Pizza and two Soft Shell Taco Supremes, ugh. I don't know about you, but soft shell anything is like eating chewy, stale, tasteless bread. Granted, the chewy flour tortilla shell of a burrito works perfectly, holding the contents like a barely contained water balloon of meaty goodness. (Hence the "Slutty Meat Bomb" nickname.) On a taco, the chewy soft shell just don't work.Round two was equally disenchanting. Though my man at the drive thru window -- whose enormous head breaks the limits of the "one size fits all" Bell headgear -- repeated "hard shell" right along with me, he somehow missed the "supreme" part of my Taco Supreme. In other words, there weren't no sour cream on it.

Seasoned TBA vets are now asking, "What makes a Taco Supreme supreme other than sour cream?" As far as we can tell, nothing. Thus, I was left with two hard shell regular ol' Tacos...of the genus non-Supremo.

I'm happy to report that subsequent visits have proven more fruitful. In fact, my only complaint these days lies in the questionable design of the Mexican Pizza tray. When placed on the passenger seat of a 1990 Ford Probe it inevitably deposits globules of cheesy goodness on the fabric. Actually, Ford and the Bell are equally responsible, due to the slope of the seat and unfortunately leaky engineering.

The staff at the Route 30 Bell should be commended for firing on all cylinders during a recent visit. They delivered into my waiting hands what may have been the finest Mexican Pizza ever created. Like those created for photo shoots and million dollar commercial spots, this MP was a precise blend of refried beans, oooozing -- though incredibly stable -- cheese, and perfectly placed toppings that held the two crisp tortillas in suspension. My hat is tipped to the staff.

[This article originally appeared in ER#43.]

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