Crusty Beans

“NOOOOOOO” exclaimed Jeffrey.

He was sitting in the passenger’s seat next to me, and we were on Hwy. 1 headed home from outreach. He was staring at me like only Jeffrey does—about 16 inches away from my face, his eyes fixed on me, his face downward just enough to look mischievous (those of you who know him know what I’m talking about). I didn’t have to turn my head to know what was happening. His melodramatic gestures were easily distinguishable from my peripheral vision.

“Crusty Beans!” were the next words out of his mouth. He used that whiny tone of voice that probably hasn’t changed since he was six—though it’s probably gotten louder. “This is disgusting,” he said, “look at this.”

“Ohhh, that’s nasty,” I said, looking at the burrito he was holding for me to see. “At least mine isn’t that dry,” I thought to myself. Then I took another bite.

“EEEEEWWW.” Jeffrey declared, looking at my burrito. “Yours is just as nasty.” And it was…

I thought I’d ordered four Seven Layer Burritos. Apparently, they misunderstood the order, because they gave us four Crusty Bean Burritos.

I’ve had a pretty good luck eating at Taco Bell—or at least not any really bad ones. The worst experience I can remember was two Seven Layer Burritos I got at a Taco Bell in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was eating as I was driving home when I noticed the burrito was leaking a bit. I adjusted the wrapping so it would catch the drips and kept eating. About two bites later I got a mouthful of bean soup. It seems they scraped the lettuce from the bottom of the pan. When they did, they got some of that green water that’s lingered there since Taco Bell opened. I tried to finish the burritos—I really did—but the bean soup was rebelling. Every bite I took added to the number of insurgents inside my stomach.

“Freedom!!” was their cry.

It was clearly audible most of the night. I expected, at any moment, that one of their suicide bombers would detonate himself, causing wide-spread chaos. It was all I could do to maintain control and suppress them. We were eventually able to come to terms, and they quieted down and left the next day…. I didn’t eat at Taco Bell for almost a year after that.

That was three years ago. Tonight I was wishing they’d dug a little deeper in the lettuce pan—these beans could have used a little moisture…. I found that if I let each bite linger long enough in my mouth, the beans would re-hydrate enough to swallow. But I feared if I didn’t swallow them soon enough, their predecessors might try and join them. I was finally able to finish off one of the two Seven Layer Burritos. The second one is sitting in the fridge.

In the States, Taco Bell is imitation Mexican food. Here in Canada, Taco Bell is imitation Taco Bell—it’s like a copy of a copy. We were once informed that they were out of beans…. I have no idea why they were still there. If Taco Bell runs out of bean, you might as well lock up and go home.

Furthermore, every time I eat there I’m appalled at the price—$17 for four Crusty Bean Burritos. More than once we’ve driven all the way down to the US and crossed the border, just to get real Taco Bell.

So I’ve decided to take drastic measures. I’m boycotting Imitation Taco bell now. I’m not spending $4 on an empty tortilla (or one filled with crusty beans) in Canada anymore—and certainly not at the location we ordered from tonight!

And just so I don’t forget, I think I’ll frame the remaining Crusty Bean Burrito and hang it on my wall as a reminder—it’s already been dried so it should keep just fine.