Comets v. Taco Bell: A case for #6

Erin Gutsche | Mercury Staff

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Taco Bell’s menu is full of broken promises, and I’ve been fooled into giving it another chance time after time. 

After waiting an excessive amount of time, you’ll receive your mediocre meal, take a bite, and wonder if you could’ve eaten anything else. Before attending UTD, I had stopped eating there altogether. However, thanks to UTD’s Meal Exchange program, if you already spent thousands on a meal plan at the beginning of the semester, there are a variety of spots on campus you can get a free meal from. For reasons unknown to those who enjoy good tasting food, one of those spots is Taco Bell. And just a month ago, it’s gotten worse: the loss of the quesadilla as a meal exchange is an assault on our stomachs, and Comets should protest to get it returned. 

Combo #6 — now known as combo #7 — was one of the best Taco Bell meal exchange items. It consisted of a chicken quesadilla, one crunchy taco and a beverage. It is difficult to ruin a quesadilla — despite Taco Bell’s best efforts — so on a late night, I’d endure the quesadilla, the awful crunchy taco, and the flat Sprite. At least the quesadilla was good. 

That was the past. As of late March 2024, if you’re hungry in a night class and desperately need something to eat afterward, combo #6 is no longer an option. If you don’t want to spend any of your meal money at Taco Bell, you have to eat an entirely new selection of food. Unfortunately, this new selection does not include the chicken quesadilla. The entire company recently shuffled around and removed items from its universal menu, but the chicken quesadilla hasn’t disappeared — it has simply moved down a number. Considering it still exists, I’m baffled by the decision to remove it as an option for the meal exchange. 

Why not eat the remaining options? Let’s start with the three crunchy tacos. The shell doesn’t taste good, and the beef is so incredibly greasy that it erodes the bottom of the taco. You’re soon left with a limp-lettuce, greasy, cheesy, two-halved mess that leaves you wanting to go to culinary school just to prove that you could have made this better. The soft taco is slightly better, but that doesn’t fix the problem of the mediocre ingredients used to create it. The quesadilla uses at most three ingredients, which is difficult to mess up. Sometimes they forget to cut it up into four neat pieces, but you can work with that. You can’t put the crunchy taco back together. You can’t make the meat less greasy. You can’t make the lettuce less limp. I intend on living fairly long, so I’d like to avoid the goop that comprises their burritos. 

This is a persistent issue I have encountered at all Taco Bells, not just UTD’s Taco Bell. However, unlike other locations, UTD’s meal plan provides an incentive for first year students to try and rekindle their relationship with Taco Bell. The chicken quesadilla was far from perfect, but it was the best they had to offer, and it came cheap with a meal exchange. I was fooled again. It became the most convenient option, and so I — probably like many other Comets — folded on my principles. But Taco Bell blatantly taking away their best menu item as a meal exchange option is disrespectful. It would be disrespectful to your own intelligence to continue eating there regardless of its convenience. 

Taco Bell should be replaced with any other fast-food establishment that doesn’t disrespect the entire Hispanic culture’s food as much. Luckily, it seems like UTD is willing to listen to us Comets. The dining website for UTD has a feedback section that you can send in your grievances about Taco Bell to. They also have a feedback email address, at foodservice@utdallas.edu where students can demand that combo #6 in return in its original form with the chicken quesadilla. If we Comets want any shot at getting back the best meal exchange option, then we must stand up and make our voices heard.  


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