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For you faithful readers of our Friday column, I think that you might notice that we have had pretty good experiences with Saffron Road products. Not perfect, but overall they have been reliable with a few misses - and some of their meals are great. We especially like their chicken broth and it is one of the best on the market.
I was surprised to find that they are now making frozen tacos. Yes. Tacos. Tacos? Really? Frozen tacos?
I am not sure how you freeze a taco, but if anyone could pull it off, it would be Saffron Road.
First off, the packaging is just too cute for words. A thin cardboard box in the shape of a taco truck. Yes. A taco truck.
That bit of marketing was enough to make me overlook the amount of sodium, with the two varieties I selected coming in right around 500 mg per taco. When I got them back to Dr. Gourmet World Headquarters I wondered if I might not return the tacos because of this, but we forged ahead. After all, "We eat it, so you don't have to."™
First up was the Korean Style Taco with Chicken and Heirloom Corn Tortilla. That's a mouthful and the directions are pretty strange. The package asks that the taco be wrapped in a paper towel, microwaved for 60 seconds, turned over and heated for another minute. What comes out of the oven is a particular disaster. Half of the taco shell was split and too moist and the other half was tough and chewy.
Not just a little chewy. A lot. The texture is that of half wet and half old, dried out cardboard. Not very much flavor either, and this is what I imagine cardboard might taste like when used as a taco shell. Maybe this is called "heirloom" because it was made in the 1920s and has been stored in the freezer since then.
The "shell" was bad - but the filling even worse. No real flavor, not much chicken, a lot of bitter cabbage, and considering the amount of sodium, it doesn't even taste very salty.
But wait, it gets worse. The Korean Taco with Tofu and Heirloom Corn Tortilla (also from Al Capone's long locked freezer) is one of the worst frozen products we have ever tasted. The taco shell is even chewier and even more tasteless - inedible, really - and the filling is plain awful. There is a slight hint of some sort of Asian flavor like weak Pad Thai (very weak). I think that this has tofu in the filling but it was hard to tell.
We have certainly come to expect more than this from Saffron Road. It just goes to show that packaging does work, and when it is too cute for words we can be suckered into buying almost anything.
Reviewed: June 20, 2014