As a late-night DJ and frequent traveler, I’ve long gravitated toward the “fourthmeal” menu stylings offered by the one and only Taco Bell—and the novelty has yet to wear off.
There are many reasons to hit the Bell, but a few of my current favorites are: Selections are easily customizable, an order won’t break the bank (even when you chip in for friends’ snacks!), you can choose from a minimum of three different kinds of Mountain Dew at any moment, and 21-plus visitors can even wash down a Crunchwrap with an adult beverage at select Cantina locations.
But wait, there’s more! Another incentive to stop by Taco Bell is that unlike a lot of other large fast-food restaurants, they frequently roll out quirky limited-time offerings like the Naked Chicken Chalupa. These special items occasionally make it to the permanent menu, but more often than not they disappear after a limited time, leaving the diner with only a fond memory of their Diablo sauce-topped deal.
While attempting to research the whereabouts of said Chalupa (RIP), I stumbled upon a website called LivingMas.com, which bills itself as the home of news and information on everything Taco Bell. It was here that I found out about the latest special snack coming soon to the ’Bell, and luckily for me, it was slated to be available exclusively in the Twin Cities market for a limited time this winter.
That brings us to the Midnight Melt, which can best be described as a goth’s dream taco. It’s a delicacy that's currently on its second round of market testing, meaning if all goes well this month, it could be pretty close to making it onto the permanent menu. Contrary to its name, this taco is available throughout the day, and a visit to the 92nd and Lyndale Avenue location in Bloomington (a personal favorite restaurant) revealed it wasn’t so much a dark secret, as said taco was proudly advertised on all sides of the building.
At first glance, it looks like a quirky cousin of a classic Supreme hard-shell that comes wrapped in a La Croix-inspired paper holder. But one bite into the deep-fried, blue-approaching-black corn exterior coupled with the mouth-melting mix of Monterey jack AND cheddar cheeses will inform you that you're about to be in for a flavorful time with this selection.
Those familiar with Taco Bell’s menu will find an old friend here—it’s composed of fairly standard TB fare when ordered with no modifications. (We’ve got lettuce! We’ve got tomatoes! We’ve got beef and sour cream!). That means the unique cheese mix is the clear standout, as it softens the deep-fried shell and ends up livening the taco’s taste a bit more than normal. As is my custom with hard shells, I paired it with Fire sauce, and that seems a likely go-to for me next time as well.
Overall, the Midnight Melt is a solid, spooky reimagining of a Supreme. It’s slightly heartier than your average hard shell and it looked as cool as I’d hoped. I’d issue it 3.5 out of 5 Bells—something I’d absolutely toss in as a wildcard on an order from time to time. Next go-round, I'd add some spicy ranch—perhaps jalapeños to really give it some kick—or try it with beans instead of meat for a vegetarian-friendly choice.
The Melt is available as an a la carte shell ($1.99 each) or a $5 box combo (comes stocked with a hard-shell and five-layer as well as a drink) through the end of December at all Twin Cities area Taco Bell restaurants.
In the end, only time and customer reviews will dictate its fate, but I have a good feeling the Midnight Melt passes this final regional taste test, and that Halloween may end up being every day.