With all the fanfare around the return of Taco Bell's fried chicken-shelled Naked Chicken Chalupa (this time it's wilder!), we couldn't help remembering that a little shredded cheese, veggies, and a drizzle of sauce really undersells the world of possibilities for this game-changing fried chicken tortilla technology.
And no, making a spicy version isn't exactly pushing boundaries.
We were left with no choice but to take matters into our own hands. You see, if you request your Naked Chicken Chalupa plain, they'll hand you an empty shell and a world of possibilities. Sure, you aren't getting the fixin's you technically paid for, but it's a small sacrifice when you consider the array of options it opens up. Here are some horizon-expanding Naked Chicken Chalupa menu hacks that are now within your grasp.
Take your naked chicken shell and cram three of those Cinnabon Delights in there. You get a little of that sweet 'n' savory chicken and waffles dance happening, and the icing bursting from the center of those Cinnabons actually works surprisingly well within the overall package.
This one takes a little more doing but the journey is worth it. Order a breakfast burrito with the breakfast meat of your choosing, plus a side order of hash browns. Scrape the burrito innards into their new chicken-y home, and then tear your hash browns into bite-sized pieces and play them on top. Hot sauce is optional, but encouraged. It's the most protein-packed breakfast taco you've ever experienced.
El Pollo Loco
On the simpler side, we have El Pollo Loco. Take the chicken. Take the Doritos Locos taco. Put them together.
Yes, the Doritos shell hangs over the edge just a bit, but the texture and flavor interplay between the fried chicken and the cheesy-crunchy Doritos means you won't have time to be concerned over such minor details.
So don't let yourself be hemmed in by Taco Bell's rigid framework for what belongs on a Naked Chicken Chalupa. Get out there, look like a weirdo for ordering one plain, and demand more!
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.