Free Is Too Much for Jack in the Box Tacos

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"Our tacos have had a cult-like following since the 1950s, when they gained a permanent place on our menu. This is especially true in Dallas, where our guests are counted among our long-term favorites," Brian Luscomb, Jack in the Box spokesperson, told me over the phone. With those words in mind, I ambled to the nearest Jack in the Box on November 16, when from 2 p.m. to midnight participating Jack in the Boxes were giving out two free tacos per customer.

Like all of City of Ate's contributors, I'm a fool for the gratis, and the chuckle-worthy Bill Cosby-Little Shop of Horrors-influenced commercial advertising the free tacos only increased my curiosity.

"We recently made proprietary improvements to our tacos and we want to share them with our guests," explained Luscomb, but declined to elaborate on what changes were made. "Our competitors would love to know what we've done." Whatever "improvements" were made, I'm here to tell you free was too high a cost for the Jack in the Box tacos.

The grease produced by the tacos softened the once crispy (and stale!) tortillas to the edge of transparency, not that there was any filling of consequence to be seen between the tortilla halves. The grease would make an excellent alternative to WD-40, something I require to silence the creaking of my medicine cabinet door. Inside the taco, a bramble of lettuce concealed a smear of gray meat paste and a Velveeta-like pre-sliced cheese product. A mild, annoying sauce contaminated it all.

The competitors of which Luscomb spoke, like Taco Cabana and the company's new street tacos, have nothing to fear from whatever tinkering the corporate kitchen workers have performed.

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