Last weekend, I crossed off a major item on my bucket list. I went to Taco Bell in Germany.
"But Raven, shouldn't you aspire to better, healthier things that have a measurable positive impact on society?" I know that's what you're thinking, but I don't really give a crap... because you are not the boss of me. I wanted Taco Bell, because it's probably the one thing from back at home that I crave the most.
Say what you want about it (again, I don't give a crap), but get at me when you've spent years away from your homeland and are unable to acquire whatever nasty-ass comfort food is available wherever you're from. For me, my nasty-ass comfort food of choice is Taco Bell...with Sonic a close second. However, you can't even find Sonic all over the U.S. and I don't find myself craving burgers and hot dogs all the time (plus, those urges are a lot easier to satisfy than a craving for Mexican or Tex-mex).
And I can almost guarantee you that talking about Taco Bell with someone from the States (doesn't matter how long they've been in Germany), the conversation will go something like this:
Me: Holy Jeebus, I'm craving Taco Bell so bad right now.
Other Person: Ugh, ew, Taco Bell is so nasty.
Me: I know right? But it's also great.
Other Person: Yeah, I could actually go for a Cheesy Gordita Crunch...
Me: YES! Exactly... and some Cinnamon Twists...
Other Person: Nachos Bell Grande... Damnit! Now I want Taco Bell.
Everyone is aware that Taco Bell is not gourmet anything. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least five places that beat Taco Bell in terms of taste and/or price. If you don't want to click the links, then I'll just straight up tell you: Taco Mayo, Taco Cabana, Taco Bueno, Ted's Café & Escondido, and Chelino's. Bam. And those are the super obvious/chain choices. I'm not even talking about the taco trucks on most corners. But there's something about the combination of price + 4am availability that makes Taco Bell special.
So, hell yeah, I'd still go to town on some of that. And for years, I've been saying that a Taco Bell chain would go over like gangbusters over here. In the past eight years, the Mexican and Tex-mex food options have been getting better in Hamburg. There are now now five places that I could recommend off the top of my head: Qrito, Kombüse, Jim Burrito, Café Mexico, and El Pikosito. Each have their pros and cons, but the food is on point enough that I would recommend these eateries to others. This is probably not an issue in Berlin, for example, since Berlin has any kind of food you could want (and probably even foods you don't want). That said, Mexican food in Germany has come a long way since 1998, when I ate at a shitty restaurant called Señor Taco in Berlin-Kaulsdorf.
Tunde and his Chalupa at the PX in Ramstein AFB
Taco Bell in Germany is somewhat elusive. There are only five and all of them are located on military bases. There was one in Munich in the 80s, but I'm pretty sure that 1980s Germany was not ready for that. Anyway, since I never had any military base connections, I thought that this dream would just pass me by. But now that my brochacho, Tunde, will be stationed near Ramstein for the next four years, I feel like I've got all the time in the world.
Around this time last weekend, I was in the process of digesting two Cheesy Gordita Crunches and some Dr. Pepper.
One a scale of 1 to 10 bells, I'd give this Taco Bell a 5. They were thrown together a bit sloppily, but my food tasted the way that it was supposed to taste. It was not the best Taco Bell in the world, but since I have no other point of reference, I will say that it is the best Taco Bell in Germany.