Monday, June 29, 2009

Another 911 Call Over Fast Food

We've written about this trend before... calling 911 when you're unhappy with your order at a fast food restaurant. It has happened at McDonald's and Burger King.

Now, it has happened again at an Oregon McDonald's restaurant.

3 men were unhappy with their order at McDonald's so they called 9-1-1. When the 911 operator told them that it was not a 911-worthy emergency, all 3 of them started calling 911.

Then the men started causing such a scene near the drive-thru that other McDonald's customers started calling 911 fearing for the McDonald's employees' safety.

Finally, one of the men told the 911 dispatcher that a McDonald's employee was pointing a gun at him and asking if that was reason enough to send the cops. The dispatcher said "Yes" and asked the man's name. The man said his name was Jeremy Martin.

When police did arrive, there was no gun, but there was Jeremy Martin.

He as been arrested, charged with improper use of 9-1-1.
more at KOMO TV News.

Cold Stone's Pudding Ice Cream Doesn't Melt

Just the other day I escaped the 100°+ temperature here in Texas by indulging in some Cold Stone Creamery goodness, when I noticed a new flavor: Butterscotch JELL-O Pudding Ice Cream.

I loved Jell-O butterscotch pudding as a kid and haven't had it in a long time, so I ordered it without hesitation (I added white chocolate chips and caramel, btw).

It lived up to my expectations. It really tasted just like I remember the Jell-O pudding tasting.

Today I came across an article about this new Jell-O Pudding Ice Cream at Cold Stone in Invention and Technology News, of all places.

Turns out the new Jell-O Pudding Ice Cream flavors at Cold Stone Creamery is something quite new and unique.... it doesn't melt like regular ice cream, it just turns into pudding.

In a statement from Cold Stone Creamery:
Developed through rigorous testing and tasting, this line of entirely new ice cream flavors has been achieved to not only taste like pudding, but also mimic the characteristics and texture that is recognized as JELL-O pudding yet in a frozen form. The most interesting and surprising feature of this new ice cream is that it does not melt. When left at room temperature this ice cream actually turns into pudding – now that’s ice cream innovation.

It also comes in a chocolate flavor.

Although this isn't exactly 'fast food' I just had to share.

Taco Bell's Video, "All About The Roosevelts"

Taco Bell has a new music video that is running in movie theaters and on TV across the country staring Bobby Edner (of Varsity Fanclub).

The music video is for a song called "It's All About The Roosevelts" which features Bobby wrapping about the Taco Bell Value Menu and the money you can save... and some break dancing, too.

Here it is:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Carl's/Hardee's Giving Away Six 2010 Camaro's

Starting today (6/24/09) you can enter to win one of six 2010 Chevy Camaro's from Carl's, Hardee's, and Dr. Pepper.

I don't know why I'm spreading the word. I'd kinda like to win one myself. Heck, they sent me a pineapple, how much more is it to ask them to send me a Camaro?

Anyway, you can enter at www.DrPepperCamaro.com and when you do you'll get a link to a coupon that will upgrade your Medium Combo Meal at Carl's/Hardee's to a Large Combo Meal for free.

Audrina Partridge in Carl's Bikini Ad

It has been a few years since Carl's Jr. heated up TV screens with their ad featuring Paris Hilton in a swimsuit washing a Bentley.

Now it is Audrina Partridge's turn. Partridge's "top-rated bikini body" is featured in a new ad for Carl's Teriyaki Burger. Sex sells fast food, too, apparently:


“During the summer, as my fans know, I’m always on the beach in my bikini,” said Patridge. “But, my one indulgence is the Carl’s Jr. Teriyaki Burger. I love the charbroiled pineapple and the Teriyaki glaze – I seriously crave it.”

The Teriyaki Burger has a charbroiled beef patty, teriyaki glaze, a charbroiled pineapple slice, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayonnaise, on a seeded bun. They are available in a single, double or Six Dollar™ version, and sell for $2.89, $3.89 and $4.69 respectively.

As part of this bikini theme and to further promote the Teriyaki burger, Carl's and Hardee's have partnered with Break Media for a "Hot Chicks Eating Burgers" video contest. 'Hot chicks' are supposed to submit videos of themselves eating burgers at www.HotChicksEatingBurgers.com.

Just a coincidence...
Less than an hour after I wrote the above, FedEx showed up at my door with this pineapple for me from Carl's:

The postcard 'from' Audrina reads: "Having a delicious summer with the Carl's Jr. Teriyaki Burger. Wish you were here... XO, Audrina."

So, since I plan on eating some of this pineapple, that should serve as full disclosure... although I really don't need to do that since I already wrote about it. Hmmmm.

I also wanted to mention that you can find a $1 off coupon for the Teriyaki Burger here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

BK's Suggestive 7 Incher Ad

Burger King's has a new menu item in their Singapore area restaurants. It is called the "BK Super Seven Incher."

If the name wasn't bad enough, the poster promoting the sandwich show the sandwich approaching a woman's open mouth with the words "It'll Blow" in a large font underneath. The wording continues in smaller print on the next line, "Your Mind Away." Well, heck, just take a look at it:



To further entice you to try this sandwich, the poster reads: "Fill your desire for something long, juicy and flame-grilled with the new BK Super Seven Incher. Yearn for more after you taste the mind-blowing burger that comes with a single beef patty, topped with American cheese, crispy onions and the A.1. Thick & Hearty Steak Sauce."

A seven-inch long burger patty. hmmm.

We've seen more suggestive advertising, to be sure, but this one just seems to be poorly executed AND in bad taste (and probably tastes bad, too).

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Jamba Juice Announces New Food Menu

Jamba Juice - corporate headquarters, Emeryville, CABeginning Monday, June 15, 2009, Jamba Juice will begin serving a range of food items in most of their California stores.

To promote this announcement, Jamba Juice flew me (and some other bloggers) out to their headquarters in San Francisco to taste their new menu.

My first question was answered quickly, upon arrival. Jamba Juice is not turning their stores into a healthy version of, say, Subway. Jamba’s fast food is not prepared on-site. The wraps, salads, pizzas and sandwich, although created by Jamba Juice in their test kitchen, are produced by their supplier(s) according to their specifications. All but the pizzas will be prepackaged and available in a refridgerated case. The pizzas are delivered frozen to Jamba Juice locations and are heated, in store, in a TurboChef oven.

Jamba's staff told us that these menu offerings are all about the taste and they want them to live up to the expectations their customers have for their flavorful drinks. They also want their customers to feel the wholesomeness of their food. One goal in creating their foods was to limit saturated fats.

Jamba Juice tested these foods ("very quietly") in six of their stores. On Monday they will be available in 222 of their California locations.

Here’s a brief rundown of Jamba’s new food offerings:
  • The Grab and Go menu includes Wraps, Salads and a Sandwich.
  • The aforementioned pizzas are actually marketed by Jamba as “California Flatbreads.”
  • To compliment the new food menu, Jamba is introducing 3 Fruit Tea Infusions.
In line with Jamba's focus on healthy and nutritions beverages, all their new food menu items have no HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), no trans fats, and no artificial flavors or preservatives. Bravo!

Unfortunately, they have not yet made an effort to buy local, organic produce or hormone and antibiotic free chicken. Other chains, like Chipotle, have made efforts in this area, but not many. However, with Jamba's history of commitment to health and nutrition, I would hope this is something they would pursue in the future.

Jamba's Grab and Go selections will be promoted as a "Cubicle Picnic." They'll be sold in a paper bag printed with directions for making your own Cubicle Picnic and even include a poster of an exotic location you can pin up in your cubicle to make for an imaginary escape from work.

Here's a rep from Jamba's ad agency in Jamba's conference room explaining to us bloggers how the Cubicle Picnic works:


You'll also be able to create a video to send to your boss, spouse, or parents telling them you need some bliss at the web site www.SummerBlissIsBack.com. You can post the video on your Facebook account.

On to the food....

Notes: Clicking on any photos in this post will take you to the Flickr photo page for that photo, where you can view it larger. I took all the photos during my visit to Jamba Juice headquarters. Food descriptions in "quotes" are the descriptions supplied by Jamba Juice.


First, from the Grab and Go menu, the 4 wraps, all priced at $5.50:

Asian Style Chicken Wrap:

Jamba Juice - Asian Style Chicken Wrap, closeup Jamba Juice - Asian Style Chicken Wrap
Jamba Juice - Asian Style Chicken Wrap

"Grilled chicken breast with fresh field greens, shredded carrots and jicama wrapped in a tomato tortilla, served with mango vinaigrette on the side." Wrap with sauce: 430 calories, 7 grams fat, 0 saturated fats.

Chimichurri Chicken Wrap:

Jamba Juice - Chimichurri Chicken Wrap
Jamba Juice - Chimichurri Chicken Wrap, packaged

"Grilled chipotle-lime chicken breast with fresh field greens and sweet corn wrapped in an herbed tortilla, served with chimichurri sauce on the side." Wrap with sauce: 560 calories, 25 grams of fat, 2.5 grams saturated fats.

Greens and Grain Wrap:

Jamba Juice - Greens and Grain Wrap, closeup
Jamba Juice - Greens and Grain Wrap, packaged

"Red quinoa and hummus with fresh field greens wrapped in a spinach tortilla served with mango vinaigrette on the side." This wrap qualifies as vegetarian and vegan (no animal products whatsoever). Wrap with sauce: 640 calories, 14 grams fat, 1.5 grams saturated fats.

Greek Goodness Wrap:

Jamba Juice - Greek Goodness Wrap, closeup
Jamba Juice - Greek Goodness Wrap, packaged

"Feta cheese, chopped kalamata olives and fresh field greens wrapped in a beet tortilla, served with Greek vinaigrette on the side." This wrap is vegetarian. Wrap with sauce: 550 calories, 26 grams of fat, 4 grams saturated fats.

These are all cold wraps, pre-packaged with a container of their respective sauce (the sauce is under the label in the packaging shown above). They'll be on display in a refidgerated case in the Jamba Juice locations that carry them.

My favorite, even though I'm not a Vegetarian, muchless a vegan, was the Greens and Grain Wrap. It had a great variety of textures (including crunchy veggies) and flavors. They were all flavorful though. The sauces were great, but it might be nice if you could pick your own sauce seperately.


Jamba has 2 salads in their Grab and Go case, they are both priced at $5.50.

"Caesar the Day!"

Jamba Juice - Caesar the Day! salad


"Grilled chicken breast, aged asiago cheese and herbed croutons on a bed of crisp romaine, served with Caesar dressing on the side." It's a Caesar salad with chicken, what can I say. Salad with dressing: 330 calories, 22 grams fat, 4.5 grams saturated fats.

and the "Couscous & Produce"

Jamba Juice - Couscous and Produce salad


This was, by far, the most unique menu item from Jamba Juice. I tasted all these items in a short period of time, so I'd like to taste this one again, alone, but it was certainly unique. The most distinctive characteristic of this 'salad' was the sweetness from the currants.

Jamba's description: "Israeli couscous, diced jicama, red bell peppers, currants, and sliced almonds on a bed of crisp romaine and field greens, served with whole grain mustard dressing on the side." Salad with dressing: 480 calories, 19 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat.

This item is vegetarian. As the Jamba R&D team mentioned, it would be vegan, too, if it wasn't for the honey used in the dressing. Poor bees.


There is also a sandwich in the Grab and Go case, the "Gobble'licious."

Jamba Juice - Gobble'licious sandwichJamba Juice - Gobble'licious sandwich


This is what I ate on the plane, flying home from San Francisco.

Hey, it's a Turkey sandwich! Perfect plane food.

And this brings up an interesting point... Jamba Juice will not be offering these foods at all their locations. Some locations, they said, are to small to handle the addition of the refridgerated case. Unfortunately, this includes their airport locations. All the items above would be PERFECT to grab and eat on a flight. They are all much better than the pre-packaged food options I've been finding at the airport. Hopefully they'll find a way to include them at their airport locations eventually.

Back to the Gobble'licious: "Sliced roasted turkey breast topped with provolone cheese, field greens, sliced red bell peppers on a focaccetta roll, served with dijonnaise on the side." Sandwich with dijonnaise: 570 calories, 28 grams fat, 5 grams saturated fat.


Jamba Juice will also be selling what they call "California Flatbreads." They are little, 5-inch pizza's. There are 4 varieties and they are frozen in-store until you order, at which point they are cooked (in under a minute) in a TurboChef C3 oven.

After they are heated they are served in a box.
Jamba Juice - TurboChef Oven Jamba Juice - California Flatbread box

The pizzas are priced at $3.50 to $3.75.


"Four Cheesey"
Jamba Juice - Four Cheesy Flatbread

"A thick and crispy crust topped with tomato-basil sauce and a classic Italian four cheese blend (mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, and romano.)" It is vegetarian.

330 calories, 13 grams fat, 7 grams saturated fat. $3.50

This was my favorite pizza. But hey, I love cheese.

"Smokehouse Chicken"
Jamba Juice -Smokehouse Chicken Flatbread

"A thick and crispy crust topped with BBQ chicken, smokehouse roasted sweet corn, black beans, poblano chilies, red bell peppers, and a combination of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses."

300 calories, 8 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat. $3.75

"Tomo Artichoko"
Jamba Juice - Tomo Artichoko California Flatbread

This was the most unique of the 'flatbreads.' Those are bread crumbs on top. I wasn't a huge fan, but it certainly was a unique flavor for a pizza. From Jamba: "A crispy flaxseed crust topped with perfectly seasoned tomato sauce, diced artichoke hearts, a blend of three cheeses (asiago, romano, parmesan), and crunchy breadcrumbs." It is vegetarian.

310 calories, 11 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat. $3.75

"MediterraneYUM"
Jamba Juice - MediterraneYUM Flatbread

"A crispy flaxseed crust topped with Mediterranean-style grilled zucchini, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and a combination of feta and mozzarella cheeses." It is vegetarian.

I liked this one a lot, too. Again, probably because it was so cheesey!

250 calories, 8 grams fat, 2.5 grams saturated fat. $3.75.

The pizzas, excuse me, California Flatbreads, were unique and tasty. I come from St. Louis where a pizza crust is always crisp, so I would have liked it if these mini-pizzas had a crispier crust. Despite Jamba's official descriptions, these did not have a crispy crust on the bottom. A truly crisp crust is hard to accomplish going from frozen to hot and ready to serve in seconds in a convection/microwave oven.



To compliment their new foods, Jamba Juice is also introducing a line of "Fruit Tea Infusions" on Monday.

Jamba Juice - Fruit Tea Infusion beverages


This makes sense. Many of Jamba's drinks would be too filling to go along with a wrap or pizza. All these fruit teas are less than 160 calories in the the 16 oz. size. And they are all very tasty and refreshing.

They are: Pomegranate Tea Infusion, Passion Fruit Tea Infusion, and Prickly Pear Tea Infusion.

They are an infusion of organic green tea with one of the fruit juices above, served over crushed ice with a splash of lemonade and garnished with an orange wedge.

I'm not a huge fan of tea, but with the fruit infusion and the lemonade I loved these. Unlike the food, but like Jamba's other beverages, these drinks are mixed in the store.



Jamba Juice President & CEO, James D. WhiteJames D. White, President and CEO of Jamba, Inc., was on hand in the Jamba Juice test kitchen during our visit. This soft-spoken, amiable man has only been at the helm of Jamba since December of 2008 and this is the first major addition to Jamba's line-up during his tenure.

James: "For many years Jamba Juice has been popularized as the nation's leading smoothie chain. And although we have introduced baked goods, snacks and most recently oatmeal to the menu, we felt that Jamba Juice was ready for a dramatic transformation. With the addition of food and cold teas, we are able to give our customers what they really want -- tasty, high quality foods that are quick and easy."

Some of the other bloggers invited to Jamba Juice for the tasting were Abby from Pleasure Palate, Mari at Secrets of a Kitchen Wizard, Bear Silber for GrubGrade, Jessica for Epic Portions, Taylor at FoodBeast, Leng from Fat Cat Who Created a Vegetarian, Stephanie from Wasabimon, Carol from Uncovering Food and Denise from Denise Does Dessert.

Where's the Beef? At KFC Apparently!

KFC is off to a bad start with their new Grilled Chicken.

Apparently they use BEEF products in the marinade for their grilled chicken.

Specifically, as stated on page 14 of KFC's ingredient statement [pdf]: "Chicken Marinated with...Beef Powder, Rendered Beef Fat."

El Pollo Loco is going all out to let everyone know about this. They've had an ongoing feud with KFC over whose grilled chicken is better... claiming, in fact, that KFC's grilled chicken isn't even really grilled.

Here's the commercial they've created and will be airing in California to let everyone know what's in KFC's grilled chicken marinade:


The LA Times has picked up the story and spoken with KFC for their reaction.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

New Salads From McDonald's Canada

McDonald's has announced 4 new salads for their restaurants in Canada.

They are:

The Mediterranean Salad: red peppers, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, crumbled feta cheese, black olives and leafy greens.

The Mighty Caesar Salad: parmesan cheese, bacon, croutons and leafy greens with a garlic and parmesan glaze.

Spicy Thai Salad: spring mix and leafy greens with red peppers, cucumbers, carrots, and whole wheat crisps with sweet and spicy Thai glaze.

Garden Fresh Salad: red onion, cucumber, grape tomatoes, carrots, red peppers, shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses on leafy greens.

The four new entree salads will be well-dressed with Renee's Gourmet salad dressings. Customers can choose from seven dressings, including Asian Sesame Vinaigrette, Mighty Caesar Dressing, Caesar Light Dressing, Mediterranean Greek Vinaigrette, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Ravin' Raspberry Vinaigrette and Buttermilk Ranch Dressing.

Here's what they look like:



They will cost $6.79.

McDonalds Canada has made their salad release part of their spring fashion promotion with "Canadian fashion designers ready to offer valuable tips and simple tricks for easy summer dressing at www.fashionflavour.ca

In the US, McDonald's offers 3 different salads: Southwest Salad, Bacon Ranch Salad, and Caesar Salad. Each are available with or without grilled or crispy chicken.

But in the US, we only get the McDonald's slogan in one language. So if you get nothing else from this post, at least learn how to say "I'm lovin' it" in French (see logo above).

It's "C'est ├ža que j'm."

I'll even share the pronunciation with you (my wife happens to be a French teacher): Say Sah Kuh Jhem (the "J'm" is hard, it's like "gem" with a 'j').

There, now you can go to the French speaking countries of the world and be a spokesperson for McDonald's.

Zagat's Fast Food Survey

Zagat has conducted their 2nd annual Fast Food Survey.

Zagat is the world's best-selling publisher of restaurant guides using consumer reviewers to create their print and online guides.

For their Fast Food Survey, Zagat used over 6,000 surveyors who ate an average of 6.3 fast food meals per month.

Zagat has numerous categories in their survey. I'll share some of them with you here and the entire survey results can be found here.

Most popular fast food mega chains (more than 5,000 locations):
  1. Subway
  2. Wendy's
  3. McDonald's
  4. Taco Bell
  5. Burger King
Most popular fast food large chains (up to 5,000 locations):
  1. Panera Bread
  2. Chipotle
  3. In-N-Out Burger
  4. Chick-fil-a
  5. Au Bon Pain
Most popular "Quick-Refreshment" chains:
  1. Starbucks Coffee
  2. Dunkin' Donuts
  3. Cold Stone Creamery
  4. Jamba Juice
  5. Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops
Best Value:
  1. McDonalds
  2. Wendy's
  3. In-N-Out Burger
  4. Subway
  5. Chipotle / Taco Bell (tied)
Best Value Menu:
  1. McDonald's
  2. Wendy's
  3. Taco Bell
  4. Burger King
  5. Arby's
In the food categories...

Best Burger:
  1. In-N-Out Burger
  2. Wendy's
  3. Burger King
  4. McDonald's
  5. Whataburger
Best French Fries:
  1. McDonald's
  2. Burger King
  3. In-N-Out Burger
  4. Wendy's
  5. Chick-fil-a
Best Coffee:
  1. Starbucks
  2. Dunkin' Donuts
  3. Peet's Coffee & Tea
  4. McDonald's
  5. Caribou Coffee

Monday, June 08, 2009

Another Fast Food Related T-shirt

It has been awhile since I posted a link to a Threadless t-shirt, but my addiction to their t's has not waned.

And now they have another one that relates to my topic here: fast food.

This one is called Baron VonFunburger's Haunted Castle and includes fast foods altered to resemble certain horror genre characters, like Vampirger, Mummy Burger and Chickenstein VonNuggets.

Here's what it looks like:


Dunkin's Donuts Intros Breakfast Wrap

Dunkin's Donuts has expanded their breakfast food line-up with their new Wake-Up Wrap.

The Wake-Up Wrap is a five-inch round tortilla served toasted with scrambled egg (half an egg) and a slice of American cheese. It is priced at 99¢. A slice of cherrywood smoked bacon can be added for 30¢ more.



The Wake-Up Wrap is listed on Dunkin' Donuts' DDSMART menu of better-for-you foods and beverages. It has 170 calories and 10 grams of fat. Here's the complete nutritional data:



The Wake-Up Wrap coincides with Dunkin's new advertising campaign and slogan "Breakfast NOT Brokefast." The new advertising campaign "declares that in these challenging times, a fast and delicious breakfast needn't cost Americans more than pocket change."

Part of the new ad campaign will be display ads at public fountains in NY, Chicago & Boston... the displays will have legs sticking up from the water with nearby signs stating, "Please Do Not Remove Change for 99¢ Items at Dunkin' Donuts." Like this:

This photo was supplied by Dunkin' Donuts ad agency behind the campaign, Hill Holliday. It was taken today at Copley Mall in Boston.

UPDATE: A review of Dunkin' Donuts Wake-Up Wrap is already available at Grub Grade.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Chick-fil-a's Peach Milkshake for Summer

Chick-fil-a has introduced a new peach flavor to their line of "Hand-Spun" milkshakes for the summer months.

It will be offered between June 1 and August 22 this year.

The Peach Milkshake is made with real peaches and "is hand-spun with Chick-fil-a's popular 'home-style' Icedream and topped with light whipped cream and a maraschino cherry."

Chick-fil-a is also now offering a smaller milkshake size for all their shakes that will be a permanent size. They are now offered in 14 oz. or 20 oz. cups and cost $2.49 and $2.89 respectively.

"We continue to build upon the overall success of our Hand-Spun Milkshakes by creating limited-time flavors as a way to celebrate special times of the year," said Woody Faulk, Chick-fil-A's vice president of brand development.

Boston Market Brings BBQ Back For Summer

Boston Market has introduced their Summertime BBQ selections.

The new items are available in individual meals, family meals or via Boston Market Catering. You can get a gallon-to-go of lemonade or iced tea for only $2.99 when you purchase a Family Meal.

“Boston Market is known for home-style food that friends and families can enjoy together,” said Judy Cantrell, Boston Market chief brand officer. “Our new BBQ menu provides even more great ways to enjoy Boston Market – it’s perfect for summer gatherings like a family reunion, quick dinner or even a company picnic.”

The new items are (as described by Boston Market):
  • Boston Market’s signature Rotisserie Chicken and new Beef Brisket, brushed with a sweet and spicy BBQ sauce with hints of smoky molasses and brown sugar.
  • Sandwiches including the Whole Rotisserie BBQ Chicken Carver® and the 1/2 Rotisserie BBQ Chicken Carver® Combo, available on Boston Market’s $5 Menu.
  • A selection of fresh and delicious summer side dishes, including Baked Beans, Coleslaw, Fruit Salad and Potato Salad.
  • Two classic American desserts, Apple Pie and Chocolate Cake, will be brought back later this summer and remain on the permanent menu.
The new items will be available through August 31, 2009.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Taco Bell HQ and Test Kitchen Tour

Taco Bell invited me and several other food bloggers to Irvine, CA to tour their headquarters and test kitchen and to discuss their new Volcano menu. They flew us in from as far away as Maryland, Michigan, St. Louis and Texas (that’s me).

Taco Bell HQ

I'll have much more in future posts about the visit and the answers to some questions submitted by you, Fast Food News readers, and Reddit users. In this post, I'll outline our visit and share some photos. More photos are available in this Flickr set.

Most of us arrived on Tuesday afternoon (last week) and they took us out to dinner at Five Feet in Laguna Beach.

On Wednesday morning we walked the 2 blocks from our hotel to Taco Bell's headquarters.

In their main building,

Taco Bell HQ

we saw their company cafeteria (featuring KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell),

Taco Bell cafeteria

and their lobby, (that's a cut-out of founder Glenn Bell in the center)

Taco Bell HQ

with their original menu, logo and mascot:

Taco Bell HQ

Then we went to the building next door to their glass headquarters building to visit their test kitchen (that has the same food and equipment as your local Taco Bell),

Taco Bell test kitchen

and meet their 'food innovators.'

First, we tasted their new "Lava Sauce"

Taco Bell's new Lava Sauce

That is used on their Volcano Taco

Taco Bell Volcano Taco

and their Volcano Burrito, seen here being made in their test kitchen,

Making a Taco Bell Volcano Burrito

and completed:

Taco Bell's Volcano Burrito

I have to confess to loving the Lava Sauce and, at this very moment, craving a Volcano Burrito. They gave us each a Volcano taco and burrito to eat there in the test kitchen... and then we were given a chance to make whatever we wanted in the Taco Bell kitchen. Most of the other bloggers were much more creative. I tried to re-create the Volcano Taco (plus some sour cream), but it looked pretty sad when I was finished:

My creation

Although I'll have much more to share... here's a few tidbits we were told:
  • They'll be a new Volcano menu item coming in August.
  • They test new products all the time at Taco Bell and the employees are sent an e-mail about that day's test inviting them to the test kitchen for a free lunch and feedback on the new product.
  • The original, in-house name for the Crunchwrap was the "Origami Tostado"... you know, because of the folding.
  • This summer's Frutista Freeze flavor will be Pina Colada, with real Pineapple chunks. (We tasted it.)
  • 70% of Taco Bell's business is done in the drive-through.
Here are links to posts about the trip by other bloggers in attendance: Grub Grade, Scott Robert's Web (hot sauces), Epic Portions, Endless Simmer, and Food Beast.