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Published November 03, 2010, 12:00 AM

Fast-food review: Taco Bell’s XXL Chalupa is bigger, but is it better?

If your doctor is after you to up your intake of fast-food beef and fried bread, you’re in luck. Taco Bell now offers the XXL Chalupa, a larger version of the fast-food chain’s item that wraps fry bread around meat, vegetables and sauces.

If your doctor is after you to up your intake of fast-food beef and fried bread, you’re in luck. Taco Bell now offers the XXL Chalupa, a larger version of the fast-food chain’s item that wraps fry bread around meat, vegetables and sauces.

Aside from being bigger, the XXL version of the Chalupa also has a flatter bottom, allowing it to “sit” upright.

But is bigger better?

The fry bread that corrals the contents of this plus-sized pocket is soft, crunchy and chewy all at the same time. It’s a warm hug for the lettuce, beef, salsa, reduced-fat sour cream, and everything else within it.

It’s also greasy, as revealed by the darkened spot left behind on the napkin that I used to put some pressure on this puffy pouch. Add some nacho cheese, beef and a three-cheese blend, and you’ve got a fat-rich fiesta – 39 grams of total fat, according to Taco Bell’s website.

Those offended by heavy fare may want to use caution with the XXL Chalupa. I am not one of those people.

But I could do with a bit less salt and more flavor in the beef. The Chalupa struck me as salty and bland at the same time.

That said, all the elements taken together as a package, including the crunchy little tortilla strips, worked as a pleasing low-brow blend of creamy, crunchy and chewy sensations. And the $2.99 price tag doesn’t seem too bad either.

For all the big talk, the XXL Chalupa doesn’t tip the scales like you might guess, not that it’s a lightweight. It comes in at 650 calories, which puts it between the caloric total of a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese (510 calories) and a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese (740 calories).

Moving down the nutritional chart, watch out for the XXL’s 1,300 milligrams of sodium. That’s more than half of the recommended daily allowance.

But if you’re considering the XXL Chalupa, are you really someone who’s closely watching his or her sodium intake? Chances are you’re more like the type of person who’ll like it. I know I am.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734

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