When you think “Friendsgiving,” thoughts of burnt Stove Top stuffing, your friend’s lumpy mashed potatoes and the worst Pilgrim Punch hangover ever probably dance through your head. You’re typically not thinking Taco Bell, purveyor of late-night Mexican-inspired fast-food eats and hot sauces.
But after attending Taco Bell’s seventh annual Friendsgiving festivities, we’re here to tell you that you should be.
Before you go wrinkle your nose at the idea of fast-food for your celebration, Taco Bell’s Friendsgiving feast was a lot more polished than heading to your local drive-thru to order Cheesy Gordita Crunches, beefy burritos and a bunch of Crunchwrap Supremes (hold the tomato).
This year’s dinner at Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine, Calif. was inspired by the farm to table concept and included locally sourced produce and ingredients from Southern California. However, everything we were served by Taco Bell’s in-house chef Rene Pisciotti (the mastermind behind Taco Bell’s nacho fries and many other dishes) included either a menu item from Taco Bell or flavors inspired by something on TB’s menu.
Fancy dinner party vibes? Check. Recognizable flavors and dishes you know you already love? Also check.
These flavors are Taco Bells’ bread and butter
The first course included a rolled chicken tacos bisque that was topped with nacho seasoned cheddar crisps. We’re glad it was a soup because had it been a sauce, we would have been dunking everything into this spicy, cheese-y, chicken-y soup.
There were also a ton of fresh vegetables served with black bean hummus and Taco Bell's verde sauce with crema.
The star of the first course was the sauce packet compound butter served with Parker House rolls. These brightly-hued compound butters came in mild, hot and fire sauce flavors. The fire flavor was quickly deemed the favorite of our table for the addicting smoky heat it gave the butter on every bite of bread.
Petition to make Nacho Fries a Thanksgiving staple
We were then served roasted cauliflower in hot sauce honey, a grilled buttered corn sprinkled with crumbled up Taco Bell Fire! Tortilla chips that you definitely can make for your own Thanksgiving (and we recommend you do) and nacho fries au gratin.
Nacho fries are already a cult-favorite Taco Bell menu item. People freak out when they come back or leave. They’re better than nachos because...fries. Now imagine a whole pie of them, topped with crispy melted cheese. Just meditate on that.
For our entrees, Chef Pisciotti made guests a taco-season beef Wellington and turducken al pastor tacos with cranberry chipotle salsa that we admit, is much fancier than anything you can typically order from a Taco Bell. We do think turkey tacos would be a welcome addition to a Friendsgiving feast, though.
Even though we could barely keep our pants buttoned at this point, we still made room for dessert. We’re glad we did, because it was epic. Taco Bell served us a holiday pie triplelupa.
If the word “triplelupa” is familiar to you, it’s because Taco Bell was testing them out at the beginning of the year. Only the dessert-version of this trio of pull-apart soft taco shells were dusted in cinnamon sugar like a churro and filled with pumpkin dulce de leche, spiced apple and vanilla ice box frosting.
Basically, we think churros deserve a spot on the Thanksgiving dessert table now.
Inspired by this Taco Bell Friendsgiving feast?
Chef Pisciotti shared the recipe for his delicious starter, rolled chicken tacos bisque, on Taco Bell's site and it can be found here.