In the beginning there were four. Four amazing chalupas, products of the vaunted Taco Bell R&D division that produces culinary wonders which satisfy us physically, spiritually, and emotionally to this very day. Three of them are well-known to the masses – Baja, Nacho Cheese, and the sole survivor to the current era, the aptly named Supreme.
But there was a fourth.
Some say she was too good for this world. Some say the menu could not bear the weight of four titans. Some say the unique ingredients of the Santa Fe Chalupa – red beans, corn, and Santa Fe sauce, were logistically impractical given that they were not used in any other menu items. Whatever the reason, while her sisters returned at times to remind us of the glorious past, and while newer chalupas joined the pantheon for a limited time, the Santa Fe Chalupa died a true death.
I was a middle schooler in the early 2000s. With a head full of dreams and not much else, you could even say I was quite annoying, as middle schoolers are wont to be. Honestly, I didn’t even like Taco Bell that much back then. I ate the soft tacos and burritos, mainly because I couldn’t seem to eat the hard tacos without them crumbling in my hands. For me, the idea that food items could just be “invented” blew my mind. A Santa Fe was a part of every Taco Bell order throughout my youth and believe me, I ate a lot of it. Good times.
Unfortunately, nothing in this life is forever.
To my everlasting regret, I was not there when she died. I could not even tell you when or where she was buried. All I can do now is wax poetic about that which no longer lives in our stomachs, only our hearts. I would not say everything from the past is worth keeping, but sometimes too much is lost in the name of profit margins and sales numbers.
Her name was Santa Fe.
Brian T. Yee works in another industry that is highly competitive, heavily marketed, and produces chemical compounds that make us feel better about ourselves. He has a previous publication about MRI Noise Correction, but is far prouder of this one. He remembers where he came from to help inform where he is going. Both places are Taco Bell.