Taco Bell’s Quesalupa is an edible anticlimax.

One Saturday morning about a month ago, I was enjoying some coffee and suddenly became absolutely overwhelmed with exuberance. This was because a few moments prior, I had been alerted a Honda Element – the perfect Honda Element – was mine for the taking at a dealership in St. Louis. I’d gotten all the info I needed. It was flawless – dent-free, fresh rubbers, highest trim level, EVERYTHING. I’d talked the guy down a few thousand on price, and gotten our trade value increased by a couple grand. Things were great, and when Cate blissfully awoke from her weekend slumber, I informed her we were embarking on a trip to St. Louis to obtain the car of our dreams. The squeal projected from her mouth resembled that of a child who’d just been informed she was inheriting a pony. We packed our shit, made a playlist, and departed.

We sang songs and played games as we cruised – attempting to squeeze as much enjoyment as we could into the final hours of owning our current Element. All was well, friends, as we exchanged smiles, laughs and memories over the course of the trip. All of that ended the moment I laid eyes on the St. Louis Element. Everything the sales guy told me was inaccurate. Paint was missing on the back. The interior was home to a nest of flaws. There was a smell. We had been played by a guy we thought we knew.We felt betrayed. We felt wronged. It hurt, man. It hurt.

Eating Taco Bell’s Quesalupa was roughly the same experience, and nearly too much of a letdown for this gringo to handle.

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Quesalupa review coming soon.

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The hype surrounding the Quesalupa was seemingly unavoidable leading up to its announcement during the SuperBowl, and I’ll admit we both bought in – big time. A delightful mix of fast, Mexican food greatness housed within a cheese-stuffed shell? Seriously, sign me up a thousand times. This blog needed it because of the cheese. I needed it like I need whiskey on Wednesday. So, Cate grabbed us a couple on her way home.

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The Quesalupa was wrapped in foil and hoisted up by a very hype-y paper holder. We bit in, and the texture was not as advertised. No melty cheese strings stretched from your bite to the Quesalupa. Speaking of which, the cheese within the shell was more like a cheese patty. Beyond that, it was really just your basic taco – meat, cheese, lettuce, and sour cream.

Much like the visit to Mungenast Honda in St. Louis, the Quesalupa was an excruciating letdown. That said, I think Taco Bell would have been better off if they had just let the Quesalupa sell itself. Sure, it would have still been a bummer, but with the overbearing levels of #hype they shoved down our throats, Taco Bell essentially mass-distributed sadness to the country’s entirety.

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All this aside, it’s important to remember that none of us are perfect. We all have a reliable set of skills, and you can’t blame TBell for reaching for the stars on this one. Taco Bell is a fantastic establishment, and Cate and I will still buy thousands of Crunchwrap Supremes and Cheesy Gordita Crunches in the years ahead. For now, Taco Bell just needs to go back what they do best – serving America delightfully shitty Mexican food.

-D

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Even the dog wanted no part of it.

7 Valentine’s Day Gifts for Your Cheese Lover

So I know you’re thinking, Gouda Life, the big day of love and romance is coming up and I need your help! What do I get my lover of cheese and holder of my heart? 

Well, you are in luck. Because I’m about to tell fill you in on a secret. For starters, I am a cheese lover, so I know what (most) cheese lovers want. I look at loving cheese on a spectrum. I, for instance, am on the far end of the spectrum. Not completely obsessed-on-the-verge-of-consuming-my entire-life, but I’m towards that end. Take this list and really think about the person you’re looking to swoon. Tweak some things if you see fit. These are just my recommendations to get you started.

I ask that you just keep in mind that this is a list focused around the whole day. To perfect the cheesy Valentine’s Day, it needs to be a complete experience. From the smells, the sounds, the feels, and the tastes. Alright, are you ready? Hold on to ya’ butts…

slicer

Sliced your way.

  1. Hand Held Cheese Slicer. I am always a fan of the fanciest cheese knives a girl can use (see number 4 on this list), but sometimes, I just want the perfect width of cheese of my choosing. As much as I’d like to say I’m a fan of the marble slicers with the handle and the wire attached, I’m not. From my personal experience, the wire only lasts about 3/4 of a brick of cheese before it needs to be replaced. Do they look cool? Absolutely. Do they work on the majority of cheese? No way. Is replacing the wire a pain in the butt? You bet your bottom dollar it is. I recommend a slicer similar to the Norpro Adjustable Cheese Slicer ($9.20 at Jet.com). This cheese slicer allows YOU to make the decision on how thick of a slice you’re looking far. Handheld, high quality, hard-cheese approved.

    winewipes

    Check yo’self before you wreck yo’self.

  2. Wine Wipes. This is one of those things that I wonder, why the hell didn’t I think of this?! My answer to myself would be, Well, Cate. You didn’t truly enjoy a glass of red wine until about a year ago when you decided to become a semi-grown up. ANYWAY, I honestly haven’t used these yet myself, but how could they go wrong? No one likes wine teeth. If anyone tells you it’s sexy, they are lying to you. You can order all sorts of these bad boys online from WineWipes.com or at your local winery. (KC peeps, Cellar Rat has ’em!)

    crackers

    Crack is not an actual ingredient in these crackers.

  3. Snacks to Accompany Your Cheese. Of course the cheese is the Beyoncé of the evening, but why not step up the background dancer game? Nuts are always a good choice. Almonds are my personal favorite, but walnuts are a good go-to as well. Crackers or thin bread will add a unique texture to your platter. I’m mildly obsessed with what I always use to call Crack Crackers, but actually they are Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers. They add the perfect crunch to your cheese arrangement. My only warning is to NOT go overboard with flavors. Don’t overpower your Beyoncé, the queen doesn’t appreciate it. Other suggestions are of course, fruit. I’m not a fig girl, personally, but people say figs are where it’s at. I’m a simple cheese woman. Crisp red apples and BIG green grapes are my favorites.

    cheeseknives

    Aren’t they beautiful?

  4. Cheese Knives With a Story. Anyone who is anyone can waltz on down to Bed Bath and Beyond, use their 20% coupon, and get you a lovely set of cheese knives. I get it, I’ve done it. It’s a useful gift. But if you really want to woo your partner, take it to the next level. My husband found some pretty LEGIT cheese accessories from our (hopefully future) friends at Brooklyn Slate Co. They are a pretty sweet duo with a cool story and they make some LEGIT things. I would do some questionable things to get my hands on the Cheese Knife Essential Kit. (Just kidding, Mom, no I wouldn’t… I’ll just put them on my Christmas list…)

    Woodwick, candle, gifts, cheese

    Your nose won’t know what to do.

  5. WoodWick Candle. You need to SPECIFICALLY get a WoodWick. They look good, sound good, and by golly do they smell good. I recommend the Sand and Driftwood or the Bonefire. DAYUM.

    Record Player, vinyl, music

    Our set up.

  6. Record Player. Girl! You must be outside yo’ mind! At times, but I think it is essential in the perfect Valentine’s evening. We have recently become record player snobs and I think I ‘get it’ now. We’ve got ourselves an Audio-Technica AT-LP60 and it makes for some smooooothhh jammmmsss. Not too expensive, and does a damn good job. We’ve just started our record collection, but whatever you two love birds are in to, DO IT. We’ve been between Ray Charles and Minus the Bear.

    Cheese, gifts, love

    Treat yo’self.

  7. Cheese. Of course! How ever much or little you want. Try out a new cheese together. Get recommendations from your local cheese shop. Whatever cheese you get, enjoy it with the one you love.

That’s all I’ve got. May you and yours grow ‘mold’ together and enjoy this Valentine’s Day!

-C