Surprise: It's mediocre.
For a month, all I've been hearing is waffle taco this and waffle taco that. It's been a little ridiculous — especially when you realize we live in Orange County, where Bruxie has been shoving eggs, cheese, and bacon inside a folded waffle for years now.
But still, as much as I tried to ignore the buzz, I did have a kind of morbid curiosity. The waffle taco did, after all, remind me of those rushed elementary school-provided breakfasts I had in the 90s. Up in San Jose, we had about three choices: cereal and milk with a piece of fruit, a pastry and milk with some fruit, or — on special occasions — eggs, breakfast meat, and miniature pancakes or waffles.. with milk and a piece of fruit.
The cool kids (or the kids whose parents got them late to school) would pile their pancakes or waffles with eggs and meat before drowning the entire thing in syrup. I'm pretty sure we invented waffle tacos first, but that's besides the point.
Let's get to why the waffle taco is mediocre.
First off, the waffle taco is not mediocre because it's fast food. I love fast food. You shouldn't discount something because it comes out of a fast food kitchen, and you shouldn't feel badly about liking something from a fast food restaurant (one day, I will expand upon this).
But while there are plenty of ways to do fast food breakfast correctly — I'm looking at you Sausage and Egg McMuffin — there are also plenty of ways to do it horribly, and the waffle taco hits all of those negatives.
One, and this is a big one, it just doesn't taste good. If there's one thing that fast food should be, it's that it should be addictive, but the waffle taco is not. The waffle is bland, without a hint of sweetness or even flavor. The scrambled eggs are the worst overcooked eggs I've ever had from a fast food restaurant. They looked more like malformed surimi than any kind of eggs I've ever eaten. You could get better eggs from a school cafeteria. The sausage is.. off. It's just off, I don't know if it's the spice mix, but the sausage just smelled and tasted not like American breakfast sausage.
On the plus side, the waffle taco does get infinitely better when you mask all of the bland, greasy horribleness with the included faux syrup. With a touch of sweetness, the sausage ends up tasting like it should, the eggs re-hydrate the tiniest bit, and the waffle actually tastes like, well, a waffle. If you for some reason insist on eating a breakfast waffle taco, I implore you, pretend you're in elementary school again and smother that thing in syrup. It'll be better, I swear. But, unfortunately, smothering everything in syrup makes the worst part of the waffle taco even worse.
The waffle taco is horribly messy to eat.
Why? Waffles are not designed to be folded. They're thick and they should be slightly crispy. Bruxie gets away with it because their waffles are very, very large. Taco Bell can't get away it because their waffles are about the size of your hand. The resulting "taco" is short and stout and any fluid (like syrup!) that you pour into it immediately starts pouring out when you lift your taco to your mouth how any other human being lifts a taco to their mouth. The syrup will get everywhere if you're not being super careful.
And back to the waffles. Why are they so greasy? My fingers shimmered after two bites. I washed them so I could handle my camera, but by the time I was done they were shimmering again. This is the cardinal sin of quick breakfasts. They need to be neat and clean so you can eat them while you drive. Breakfast burritos, most breakfast sandwiches, they're plenty easy to eat with one hand. The waffle taco? Mine came with a fork, and this was the first time I ever seriously considered using a fork to eat a taco.
All of this said, I'm actually glad that Taco Bell released a waffle taco, if only it means that Taco Bell serves breakfast. There can never be enough breakfast food in the world — even if it's horribly messy. The waffle taco might be an abomination, but the rest of the breakfast menu? Not bad.
The packaging art is also unexpectedly modern and well done. That doesn't really matter, but I was kind of taken aback.
Now excuse me while I go back to cleaning the syrup off of my counter top.