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Taco breakthrough at Taco Bell

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New "cantina"-style tacos at Taco Bell. Newsday photo / Erica Marcus (August 10, 2010) Photo Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus

Until today, the last time I was impressed by anything I ate at a Taco Bell was — well, never. That changed after a pal and I hit the Farmingdale branch to try the new line of "cantina"-style tacos, made with soft corn tortillas.

Best, in my book, was the carnitas taco (200 calories), consisting of two warm tortillas rolled round a stew-y filling of slow-roasted shredded pork showered with fresh cilantro and chopped onion, a lime wedge accompanying. Good, too, if not on the same level, was a chicken taco (170 calories; all-white meat – wish they’d used dark) and a marinated steak taco (160 calories), both topped with the same bright mixture of chopped onion and cilantro. The tacos cost $1.59 apiece, two for $2.99 and three plus a soft drink for $5.99. I can also recommend the new limeade sparkler, a refreshing new addition to the repertoire at what looks to be an evolving fast food chain.

Last year, when I wrote an article listing Long Island’s top tacos, neither Taco Bell nor  the higher-end Chipotle Mexican Grill had soft corn tacos — only hard (crispy) ones, as well as large flour tortillas. Three months ago, Chipotle added the more authentic Mexican soft corn tacos to its menu. Now, Taco Bell gains its own measure of taco cred.

Another fast-food chain to keep in mind for quick bites when traveling the Interstates.

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