June 6, 2009

Taco Bell's Chicken burrito with avocado ranch sauce

Avocado ranch sauce.

What could be more representative of Taco Bell? The Americanized-Mexican food is perfectly reflected in a sauce that blends the main ingredient in guacamole with good ‘ol ranch dressing.

So in concept the Bell’s new chicken burrito, which features this avocado ranch sauce, should be a microcosm of the restaurant. You’d expect it to be cheap, filling, relatively low-quality and largely satisfying.

You’d be right in all of those respects. And yet I can guarantee this burrito isn’t anything like you expected.

No, it’s not because of the avocado ranch sauce. We’ll come to that later, but it’s not really surprising in flavor or quantity.

No, it’s not the chicken. It’s low on cluckin’ flavor but soars above imitation-chicken-tofu texture – letting it be rewarding.

And no, it’s not the burrito. The grilled chicken burrito is wrapped in the same thing as every other burrito on the menu.

The difference is the rice.

Think of Taco Bell rice. It’s that reddish/brownish seasoned stuff that tastes pretty good going down but still leaves you with a stomach cramp an hour later. You won’t get any of that here.

Instead the Bell served me a heap of white rice. Read that again: Taco Bell has placed plain white rice in a burrito. And it’s great.

Well, the quality of the rice isn’t great. But there’s nothing quite like white rice to mix well with other flavors. It provides an important backdrop and unique texture that just seems to play well off of meats and sauces. This chicken is no exception.

Neither is the avocado ranch sauce. It leans more toward the ranch side of things (sorry guacamole lovers, but you should have known better and just shelled out for Moe’s) which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. At very least it keeps the grilled chicken burrito a uniform pallid color.

And for 89 cents, you can’t beg too much from your sauces. Especially when the rice doesn’t look like it came out of a can.

The slightly misleading nature of the sauce does keep us from approaching five spork territory. But the grilled chicken burrito with avocado ranch sauce does net four sporks out of five – and that’s pretty rice territory, if you ask me.

Note: After eating the burrito and taking detailed notes on it, I noticed the chicken burritos pictured on Tacobell.com clearly contain seasoned rice. I've continued with the review of the meal as I ate it, but will make a follow-up visit in the near future to determine whether my sample was a freak of Taco Bell nature or the norm.


  1. Anonymous9:56 PM

    Probably just a mess up. Your average mexican rice goes into it.
    I'm guessing you went in the evening right?
    because at night no one cares.
    so If someone only added 1 seasoning pack instead of the usual 3 or didn't add any at all, it was most likely and accident.

  2. Anonymous12:34 PM

    Good post, the commercials for the avocado ranch sauce have left me intrigued yet skeptical...I'll definitely try it out.

  3. Anonymous2:06 AM

    The sauce makes the burrito for me... The only problem is that it is only distributed through the whole burrito like 1/5th of the times I get one. I've noticed that certain taco bell's are just best to stay away from.

    Try ordering a beefy 5 layer burrito from a crappy one and you get a beefy 5 section of different ingredient burrito. Some quality control would be nice to see...

  4. Anonymous8:07 PM

    I love the chicken burrito! I especially love the suace! For one of the above comments, you have good Taco Bells and bad Taco Bells. I have one that always has great service and the food actually looks like the pictures!! For the other comment above, I have never had it with white rice, always the seasoned rice. Not bad for simple and easy for under a buck!!

  5. Anonymous2:17 PM

    add 1/2 cup of ranch dressing to 1 riped and chopped avocado in a blender and that's the Taco Bell avocado dressing!

  6. Anonymous5:55 PM

    the sauce in that burrito is one of the best! under a buck or not! its a toss up between that sauce and the baja sauce in the baja steak chalupa. does anyone know where to get the recipe on how to make the ranch sauce!!?????

  7. Anonymous12:11 PM

    I've asked for extra avocado ranch sauce and they wanted to charge me! I might understand if it were dispensed into the burrito in a systematic manner; i.e. McD's has condiment dispensers that squirt out a metered serving. So when a customer asks for extra ketchup, any village idiot can simply pull the dispenser trigger twice. Most of the time the ranch sauce is at one end of the burrito and once when I paid for extra sauce I got none! The gal that filled the order misunderstood what the guy that took my order punched into the keypad. It's been my experience that the lack of consistent quality is a lack of training and motivation. Every now and then we customers need to motivate them! ;-)

  8. Anonymous7:21 PM

    1/4 cup of ripe avocado
    1/4 cup mayo
    1/4 cup of sour cream
    1 Tbs buttermilk
    1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
    1/8 teasoon dried parsley
    1 pinch dried dill weed
    1/8 tea spon onion powder
    1 pinch of garlic powder