When Taco Bell introduced FirstMeal in the Western U.S. earlier this year, I was one of very few in the blogosphere to mostly enjoy the offerings. I believe that is because I went into it with fair expectations and reviewed it objectively. I expected it to be just like everything else from Taco Bell, packed with grease and sodium and other bad things. Why would I anticipate anything different from the pseudo-Mexican chain? And that's exactly what it was: an unhealthy breakfast.
I judge the foods I review not based on nutritional value, but on how satisfying they are based on taste, texture, etc. Otherwise, everything would get a big, fat F. A health-conscious fast-food reviewer should not be reviewing fast-food or junk food for the same reason I should not review health food: because I don't find it appetizing.
With that in mind, let's take a look at Taco Bell's newest breakfast items: the A.M. Crunchwrap and Mtn Dew A.M. The A.M. Crunchwrap is the breakfast version of the well-known Crunchwrap Supreme -- basically, a tortilla pocket filled with your usual Taco Bell ingredients. The A.M. version includes your choice of sausage or bacon, eggs, cheese, a hash brown and what I believe to be their jalapeño sauce. Basically, they took the Johnsonville Sausage Wrap (which I gave an 8/10) and added a hash brown (also an 8) and sauce.
Mtn Dew A.M. is Taco Bell's strange new breakfast drink, made from a combination of Mountain Dew and Tropicana orange juice. I believe OJ to be the best thing to drink in the morning, because it's delicious and nutritious and wakes me right up. Mountain Dew, on the other hand, not so much. I mean, it does have caffeine, so there's that. But who is this drink for? People who want Mountain Dew in the morning but feel the need to justify it by mixing it with orange juice? Do those people exist?
Anyway, I set out to try these items about a week ago. As my town still doesn't have FirstMeal, I once again crossed the bridge to Portland to sample the goods. I ordered 2 Crunchwraps (1 bacon, 1 sausage) and a regular-size Mtn Dew A.M. The wraps are $2.49 each, and the drink is $1.69 for a regular and $1.99 for a large. I also got some Cinnabon Delights, because that sh*t is delicious. I gave them a 9 in my original review.
So I started out with the sausage wrap, and it was quite tasty. I liked the original sausage wrap, even if it was a little bland. Adding a hash brown and jalapeño sauce just takes it to the next level. As with the original, the eggs are a necessary component because their light fluffiness keeps the wrap from being too heavy. The hash brown adds weight and obviously potato flavor, and even a little crunch, although the grilled tortilla already does well in that department.
But I think the sauce is what puts the A.M. Crunchwrap over the top. I was surprised to find it in there because Taco Bell's description does not include any sauce. I was glad it was there, though, because even with the hash brown, the wrap still would have been somewhat bland. Not lacking flavor, but just not really packing a punch. It needed something to break up the savory flavors of the potato and sausage, and the sauce did exactly that. 8.75/10
Pretty much all of the same things can be said for the bacon version. While still good, I enjoyed the bacon a little less than the sausage because the sausage patty was just bigger and better than the bacon bits. 8/10
Finally, we have the Mtn Dew A.M. I was half-expecting it to be shockingly delicious because I like both Mountain Dew and orange juice, but it fell a little short. I think what did it in is the fact that the orange juice they use is just your standard bottled Tropicana, and not something of better quality and freshness. It basically tasted like carbonated, low-quality OJ with a hint of that lemon-lime-y Mountain Dew flavor. I don't think I'd order it again. 6/10
In conclusion, the A.M. Crunchwraps are a welcome addition to the already-solid FirstMeal lineup. If you have Taco Bell breakfast in your area already (list of locations here), I definitely recommend giving these a try. If you don't, you should remain very jealous until they finally give it a nationwide release in 2014.
Review by Peter.