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Expect the Unexpected: Taco Bell Cantina Bowl

By Amalah

This post is sponsored by Taco Bell. Inviting you to try the bold new Cantina Bowl.

I have possibly in the past been labeled something of a food snob. And I will own that, to a degree. I LOVE food, but I hate crappy tasting food. I hate boring food. I have an adventurous palate and love bold and complex flavors and lots of spice.

On the other hand, I will not ever pretend that I don’t occasionally just want some super-convenient, inexpensive comfort food. Fast food, even. Preferably via a drive-thru so I don’t have to unload my litter of children and stand in line and PUT DOWN THE KETCHUP PACKETS I MEAN IT.

My go-to convenient comfort food of choice is almost always burritos. I have never met a burrito that I would not happily and enthusiastically eat the bejesus out of.

And yet when Taco Bell started promoting the Cantina Bell menu — complete with a burrito AND (be still my calorie-watching heart) burrito bowl — I admit my little food snobby ways kept me kind of suspicious.

Even as I watched Lorena Garcia — the chef behind the Cantina Bell menu — wipe the floor with her competition on Top Chef Masters, I kept thinking: But. Taco Bell? Really? I haven’t eaten there since college, probably. Or at least since having children and I’m no longer regularly on the prowl for salty-cheesy-crunchy food that’s available after the bars close. I don’t even know what time that is, anymore. GO TO SLEEP, PEOPLE.

But when I was asked to write about the Cantina Bowl for AlphaMom — with the stipulation that hey, yeah, YOU NEED TO ACTUALLY GO EAT ONE — I figured it was a sign. A sign that someone wanted to pay me to go eat a burrito bowl and that I have the greatest job in the history of ever. (I am easily pleased in the job satisfaction area, yes.)

I’m not exaggerating when I say I haven’t eaten at Taco Bell in a long, long time. In fact, I couldn’t even remember if there was a location nearby and had to Google it. I found one (with excellent Yelp ratings!) and headed out for the Great Cantina Bowl experiment.

And you guys, from one fast-cazhj burrito aficionado to another, it’s really good. I feel guilty going on and on about what I expected from Taco Bell — perhaps a bowl of tasteless iceberg lettuce mixed with a mish-mash of bland-but-over-salted flavors — but it’s nothing like that. Lorena Garcia’s cilantro sauce is no joke, the guacamole is perfectly creamy, the roasted corn salsa and pico de gallo and romaine and black beans and rice and delicious chicken…well. FINE. I ate the bejesus out of that thing. And then realized that I probably should’ve taken a picture of it before reducing it to one lettuce remnant and a few specks of rice.

Welp. There’s an easy solution to THAT problem:


Me, eating the Cantina Bowl in the Taco Bell parking lot, ALL BY MYSELF in an empty kid-free minivan, like I am the Queen of England or something. TREAT YO SELF!

Published November 1, 2012. Last updated May 22, 2018.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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