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Second Take: Local food chains’ new menu additions add interesting twists on classics

Earlier this month Chick Filet added guacamole to its menu. The creamy texture pairs nicely with Chick-fil-A favorites, including chicken sandwiches, nuggets and waffle potato fries (Mia Kayser/Daily Bruin)

By Alexandra Del Rosario, Jerome Davis, and Sidra Rashid

Jan. 17, 2018 12:24 a.m.

Fast food establishments around UCLA and Westwood have been adding new items to their menus this winter. From In-N-Out Burger’s hot cocoa to Taco Bell’s $1 Nacho Fries, menu updates provide tasty new treats at familiar eateries. Daily Bruin Arts & Entertainment comments on these recent developments.

In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out has added its first new menu item in 15 years: hot cocoa.

Students can order an 8-ounce cup of cocoa for $1.60, a small but satisfying amount of the chocolate drink.

The beverage is what you would expect from hot cocoa – warm and chocolatey – and succeeds in achieving an ideal level of sweetness. It’s not bitter, like sipping chocolate, but not sugar rush-inducing either. Customers can also add marshmallows on top or on the side – a cozy addition to the drink.

One letdown, however, is the cocoa’s water base, which creates a thinner, less creamy consistency. Additionally, the drink leaves a bit of a powdery aftertaste instead of an authentic “homemade” feel, which made me think twice about paying for the hot cocoa instead of making it at home.

While the cocoa was nice overall, it seems odd to combine with a burger and fries, and not enticing enough to warrant its own trip to In-N-Out. It would, instead, be a great after-dinner dessert, or a nice pick-me-up if I were passing by a restaurant with no line.

However, now that the burger joint is willing to change its menu, here’s to hoping one day it’ll finally agree to put fries in my burgers.

-Sidra Rashid

Taco Bell

Taco Bell announced the new addition of french fries to its menu at participating U.S. locations  starting on Jan. 25. (Taco Bell Corp.)
Taco Bell announced the new addition of french fries to its menu at participating U.S. locations starting on Jan. 25. (Taco Bell Corp.)

Taco Bell is no stranger to changing things up from time to time.

They’ve introduced Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco Supremes, Mountain Dew Baja Blast Freezes, Cinnamon Twists, Chalupa Supremes and breakfast items onto its menus throughout the years.

But the newest addition to the list? French fries.

Taco Bell recently announced it will begin serving french fries on its $1 menu at participating U.S. locations Jan. 25.

I have always been a supportive customer of Taco Bell. Doritos Locos Tacos and Cinnamon Twists mysteriously find their way into my order every time, but I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the new fried menu addition.

While I am not opposed to the idea of consuming more french fries, Mexican food is not the most logical bedfellow to the crispy goodness that is the french fry. The pairing of gooey tacos, burritos and nachos with greasy, salty fries combines two very different flavors that seem too complex to be tasty.

But even with my doubts, I can’t help but commend Taco Bell for its continual development and history of making odd combinations work. Taco Bell managed to combine Doritos and tacos into a glorious nacho cheese flavorfest and found a way to make airy, crispy cinnamon swirls a nice pairing for any of its trademark Mexican food items.

So while I personally believe that adding french fries to the menu is an odd decision that will be hard to pull off, I won’t be surprised if Taco Bell manages to change my mind. Who knows? Maybe I’ll soon find myself ordering some tacos with a side of french fries.

Jerome Davis

Chick-fil-A

An unexpected condiment joined the Chick-fil-A sauce family in Westwood early January.

For 89 cents extra, customers can add guacamole to their Chick-fil-A favorites, including chicken sandwiches, nuggets and waffle potato fries. While the addition of the avocado dip may seem out of place, its smooth texture and slight tanginess enhance the original selection of Chick-fil-A flavors.

The guacamole, in its transparent, plastic packaging, is by no means attractive at first sight, resembling a zip-close bag of mysterious green lotion. While the dip’s packaging does not give off any signs of being freshly prepared, its surprisingly flavorful contents make up for the drab appearance.

Chick-fil-A’s version of the avocado condiment has a smooth enough texture that allows it to be used as a spread, dip or even eaten alone. The sauce by itself, with savory notes of onion and tangy hints of lime, proves to be a decent guacamole on par with the quality of the restaurant’s main foods.

When paired with Chick-fil-A’s crispy chicken nuggets, the smooth guacamole is juxtaposed with the chicken’s crunchy exterior, bringing out its tasty seasonings and making for surprisingly pleasant texture and flavor combinations. And while waffle-cut fries are no tortilla chips, the guacamole tastes just as good with the popular side dish.

However, though the guacamole pairs well with Chick-fil-A’s menu items, it won’t replace the classic, creamy and tangy Chick-fil-A Sauce anytime soon.

Alexandra Del Rosario

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Alexandra Del Rosario
Del Rosario is the 2018-2019 prime content editor. She was previously an A&E staff reporter.
Del Rosario is the 2018-2019 prime content editor. She was previously an A&E staff reporter.
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