Like most journeys in life, the creation and progression of my IG account was sparked by a miscalculation. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved Taco Bell since I was in the womb (my mom ate the Taco Bell bean burrito all throughout her pregnancy with me, which is a story for another time), but my love for what I do now all started when my brother and I made a midnight Taco Bell run.
It was a late night in Pittsburgh back in 2015, when Taco Bell had the DareDevil Grillers on the menu (RIP). Having lived together in the past we decided to bring back a brotherly ritual of grabbing TB and coming home to enjoy it with beer. Nothing could beat the beautiful pairing between a warm tortilla, grilled to perfection, packed with grilled chicken, nacho cheese, red strips and your choice of chipotle sauce, habanero sauce or the fiery ghost pepper sauce and a chilled, amber, malty, carbonated beer. We decided that we would get one of each. Thankfully he lives a few minutes from a TB so we drove up, procured the goods and headed home. Super smooth process with no hiccups. Upon our return, we unfolded the warm aluminum wrappers on the grillers and took a moment to cherish what we were about to dive into. Plates were set, sauce packets were on hand as we delicately transferred the grillers from the wrapper to the plate. The Yuenglings were being chilled in the fridge, ready to be cracked open and release that pop of effervescence, or were they. Not checking the fridge before leaving was a catastrophic misstep. To our dismay, there was no beer in the fridge, let alone in the entire house. Behind the milk, sodas, Gatorades, juice bottles and Hershey’s syrup sat a Riesling and so with nothing else to drink we cracked that twist bottle open.
It looked elegant, but prior to this moment I had no idea what wine really was. I knew it came from grapes, it was fermented and was bottled in tubes of glass. Aside from that, I found it to be unapproachable not because of taste but because of its air of sophistication. In a wine glass sat this fancy looking crisp, gold hued, slightly bubbly beverage. It smelled great. The aroma was as if someone had spiked water with hints of jasmine, lime and apples. I took a sip and it was not sweet, which I liked. Apprehensively we began the meal. I took a bite of the Ghost Pepper Griller and was immediately floored by the heat. It was hot enough for my body to realize that there was trouble but it peaked at a level before I began to perspire. I was stuck in the limbo between carrying on and putting the griller down to have a break. At that moment is when I grabbed the Riesling and took a very generous sip.
In an instant my taste buds felt relief, but they also detected a palatable satisfaction. The wine had an acidic profile which cut through the fattiness of the nacho cheese and the creaminess of the ghost pepper sauce. Its chilled floral notes curbed the ghost pepper spice while balancing out the smoky char on the chicken. My mouth went dry (which I later learned is attributed to the dryness of the wine) as if I had not eaten anything spicy, which led me to craving the Griller even more. I was really enjoying this meal so I took a moment to sit back and take it all in. What I found to be intimidating actually tasted fantastic. My taste buds were experiencing a sensory overload as I tried to comprehend what I was feeling. Before continuing with the meal, I had a moment. The juxtaposition of our Taco Bell and wine was eye opening, looked hilarious and was a serious lesson in trying new things. I took a photo.
This fortunate misstep definitely set the path that I am on now and it has broadened my horizons more than ever. Follow me (here and hit that follow button on IG) on my journey of exploring the Taco Bell menu while I try new wines, talk to culinary and wine experts, and create content that I find funny and hope that you do too!