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Why we're not exactly crazy about the new Taco Bell Fiery Doritos Locos Taco

Taco Bell has been giving fast food addicts plenty of reasons to run un-athletically for the border. They broke into the realm of breakfast with this waffle taco and pushed the boundaries of dessert with the Very Berry. And now with the addition of the new Fiery Doritos Locos Taco to their probably award-winning Nacho Cheese and Cooler Ranch flavors, they're aiming for a triple crown of crunch

But does it deliver? Even though the restaurant itself doesn't do that? And they really should! See our full review below, in which we rate the taco in four categories, deducting points from a starting score of 10, for everything from challenging the concept of crispiness to disappointment in the state of fast food science.

Presentation
The menu board at the counter showed a Doritos bag with the taco protruding out, and the whole graphic was enveloped in flames. It made me feel like I was about to dance with the Devil. Add 2pts

When I got home, it wasn't quite Christmas morning, but it's fair to say I was excited to unwrap the thing. The Doritos bag from the graphic was missing, and in its place was a cardboard sleeve that advertised the Nacho Cheese version on one side and the Cooler Ranch on the other. My taco was neither of these. Deduct 4pts

The taco itself looked like a regular crispy taco, except for a reddish shell with a texture like an unpopular sixth grader's cheeks. There was sour cream bulging out of both ends like a canoli gone terribly wrong. Deduct 2pts, because I know that stuff comes out of a spray can

Presentation Score: 6
Flavor
I'm a double-decker man myself, where a squishy layer of bean paste and a soft tortilla generally help soften the blow of the taco meat. There was no safety net here; the meat was center stage. It was kind of juicy, but the little bits were clumped together in a way that seemed unnatural. The texture of the meat is not something that you should concern yourself with if you want to keep eating this. Also, that texture is probably a very well-educated food scientist's single greatest contribution to the world. Deduct 5pts, because you're better than that, food scientist

The lettuce tasted like wilting flowers and the tomatoes made me wonder if tomatoes are also capable of wilting. Deduct 2pts

I found myself in a state of confusion halfway through eating the taco, and I realized that my mouth really wanted Sierra Mist. The sweetness of the soda helped to break up the scientist meat, and I was ready for another bite. Add 1pt, for nearby availability of clear sodas

It was otherwise pretty much just a normal supreme crispy taco. Add 1pt, for familiarity

Flavor Score: 5
Heat Index
It was a dull, dry heat. It was like Juwan Howard. It didn't really suit up for the game. My mouth felt like it was being wrapped in a blanket during a Summer afternoon in a city with a fairly moderate climate. Deduct 5pts

Once I slathered the thing in Fire sauce, we were speaking more the language of dragons, and Dante, and LeBron without the headband. The warmth was less dry, and the combination actually made me feel a moment of full-face tingling. But it didn't last, and the rush of spiciness was gone as soon as it came. Deduct 2pts, for lack of stick-to-it-iveness

Heat Index Score: 3
Dorito-ness
When the taco shell first touches your tongue, you immediately know that this is no ordinary crispy taco. Mostly because it's not very crispy. It tasted kind of stale, which is remarkable because this was the first day the thing has been available. Deduct 4pts

One of the most overriding qualities of a Dorito is the intoxicating aroma when you open the bag and the flavor crystals experience fresh air for the first time. It's the snack food equivalent of zesting a lemon. That smell did not happen when I opened this taco. Deduct 2pts

It did deliver on the point of consumability. Much like a Dorito, you want to take a bite of this, and then immediately take another bite, and another, until it's gone. This was not because it tasted good. It was because, like pulling off a bandage, downing Doritos is something you want to do quickly and in a manner that allows your short-term memory to disengage. Add 1pt, for at least involving Doritos

Dorito-ness Score: 5

OVERALL SCORE: 4.75

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