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Taco Bell's 'Cantina Burrito' aims at rivaling the taqueria type of burrito

By Jonathan Farrell
Posted Jul 17, 2012 in Food
In recent years Taco Bell has introduced new food items to its traditional American "taco." Rice bowl creations to pita bread style taco-sandwiches some years back, Taco Bell like many fast food chains is doing its best to appeal to the public, which despite warnings from health and nutritional experts, Americans still enjoy fast food.
Back in the 1990's the concept of "dual-branding" caught on and since that time established franchises like Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken have teamed up to enhance the fast food outreach nationwide. This reporter remembers when the old HS Fish and Chips place gave way to a Taco Bell and KFC. The neighborhood along Irving Street in San Francisco's Sunset District has not suffered any loss of foot traffic.
The dual-branded franchise is almost right next door to a very busy Starbucks which makes for a hub of consumer activity people stream along the busy corridor just off of 19th Ave.
More than 20 years ago, such a chain would not have been accepted. And not too long ago, neighbors protested the installation of a Burger King along the more upscale 9th Ave and Irving area. But the social demographics have changed since the 1980's and '90's.
The culture is more commuter minded and centered than years prior and so fast food continues to fit into the lifestyle.
And, it is so easy to stop by a fast food place on the way home from work, rather than spend extra time shopping at the grocery store and then cooking. And, during a lunch hour rush, fast food fits the schedule.
This past lunch hour, on a summer day in July in foggy San Francisco on busy Irving Street, I stopped in to the Taco Bell/KFC to try the latest food item the "Cantina Burrito" and the new taco supreme that has a especially made taco shell. Who can resist Dorito's?
Yet, this reporter was also curious about the "Cantina" burrito which from the poster ad outside the franchise looked so delicious. For just over five dollars, it is not bad. Yet, while it aims to compete, it really is not the same as a fresh made burrito or taco from the locally owned and managed taqueria.
Fresh made beans, rice and of course all the real fixings like fresh salsa, guacamole, etc. No comparison really. But, in this age of commuter traffic and little time Taco Bell and others like those at the "golden arches" keep trying. For less than $1.40 the Dorito's taco is a deal. Something about the flavor of the Dorito's corn chip shell that makes the entire taco a treat.