Nov 15, 2013

Feature: Taco Bell Friendsgiving Feast

Taco Bell held their first ever Friendsgiving event, where they invited a small group of their social media friends (see awkward family photo) plus me to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with a Taco Bell twist.

So what does a Taco Bell Thanksgiving meal look like? And, more importantly, was there even turkey?

Here's the full menu:

First up was "Seasoned Beef Queso Fundido with Pico de Gallo and a Blend of Three Cheeses." It looks like lumpy nacho cheese but it was a tasty blend of warm nacho cheese and Taco Bell's seasoned ground beef. I think they ended up leaving the pico de gallo out though because it was pure beefy cheesiness.

The "Salad of Romaine Lettuce and Baby Greens, Black Beans, Pico de Gallo, Dried Cranberries, Sliced Tart Apples and Candied Pecans, all tossed in a Creamy Avocado Dressing" draws some ingredients from the Cantina Bowl to make a fairly standard, but good, cranberry pecan salad. The black beans seemed to be MIA in my serving. The strongest flavors came from the cranberries, pecans, and apples.
The "Roasted Corn and Pepper Corn Bread" was a small round of corn bread with some bite here and there from bits of jalapenos.

Another side was "A Blend of Yukon Gold Potatoes and Potato Bites with Sauteed Fajita Vegetables." This one was like Taco Bell's Crispy Potato Bites, but infused with bell pepper and onions.

The "Smokey Chipotle and Adobo Chalupa Shell and Tortilla Stuffing with Celery, Onions, and Garlic" was pretty interesting. Like a fairly traditional stuffing but with a slight hint of sweetness and that dense, tortilla texture rather than spongy, moist bread.

To answer my initial question, "Yes, there was turkey and it was glorious!" The dark meat was used in the "Ranchito Shreddeer Cilantro Rice" which was like smoky turkey carnitas on cilantro rice. I take the "Shreddeer" to be a play on words for Christmas but it could just be a typo. The cilantro rice was like the same stuff you find in the Cantina Bowl but infused with turkey or chicken broth.

The Taco Bell culinary team made "Citrus and Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with a Chili Spiced Cranberry Gastrique and Turkey Jus" with the white meat portion of the bird. The turkey goes with a bit of the same flavor as the Cantina grilled chicken and went great with the turkey jus (like un-thickened turkey gravy). A lot of people raved about the Cranberry Gastrique, which was basically a reduction of caramelized sugar, vinegar, and cranberries with just a hint of heat.

Finally for dessert, there was "Cinnabon Delights Bread Pudding." It felt somewhat like a custard with a moist egginess and healthy dose of cinnamon sugar from the pieces of Cinnabon Delights thrown in. To top it off, there was a caramelized syrup with rum.

So there you go, a full-on Thanksgiving meal with a Taco Bell flair. Some of the items might sound a little weird (or awesome depending on who you ask) but they all turned out pretty well.


  1. I could really care less about the cherry jubilee drink but I adore chestnut anything so I really hope it makes out of testing... It sounds absolutely delicious but unfortunately, no where near me... T_T

  2. So jelly..

  3. Just trying it...delish! :)

  4. Are you in the photo? I'm trying to guess which one you might be.

  5. They had the shipping option before. I think the partnership is new and will probably cost the customer more for this partnership.

  6. Yeah, you used to be able to get them shipped directly from The Cheesecake Factory, but they just abruptly stopped doing it earlier this year. I never could figure out why.

    Their old store was definitely a lot better than this new one. You had a choice of almost all of their cheesecakes, and I believe the shipping was a bit cheaper. You could also use Cheesecake Factory gift cards, which you can't do with this new store. I'd only use this as a last resort if you don't have an actual store anywhere near you.

  7. Sounds like it must have been a lot of fun (and interesting twists on food). Good of Taco Bell to arrange this!

  8. Holy cow. $45-$55 for the cheesecake, plus $10 fee, PLUS shipping. There is no cheesecake on the planet worth that much.

  9. Thanks for the reply. I feel old now looking at that group.
    Follow up question:
    Does everyone in the picture have a food blog?

  10. Haha, I meant I'm the bear literally.

    And, no. Only a couple of food bloggers. Mostly people popular are social media I think.

  11. important to mention, chestnut praline is replacing eggnog in some stores! it smells (and tastes) like lucky charms...! which is nice but doesn't seem very holiday-y. i wish we got the mocha cherry jubilee. how lovely!


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