For reasons I can’t explain, I’m usually a little skeptical of the incorporation of fast-food flavors into non-fast food. If the idea of, say, a Taco Bell–flavored Thanksgiving fills you with glee, however, get a load of Taco Bell’s Friendsgiving Feast menu. It’s not a Thanksgiving dinner formed out of Taco Bell products; rather, it’s a Thanksgiving dinner in which all of the dishes have been infused with the chain’s signature items. I haven’t figured out if it’s genius or terrifying yet, but maybe you can help me decide. Brace yourselves, because it’s about to get a little crazy all up in here.
Taco Bell started the Friendsgiving Feast tradition last year; alas, though, you won’t be able to get these creations in any actual Taco Bell locations. A rep for the chain told Mic that they send out invitations to “the brand’s closest friends,” so unless you’ve got thousands of Twitter followers, a huge crowd of YouTube fans, or are, y’know, an actual celebrity, you probably won’t be able to attend yourself. Luckily for us, though, those who did score an invite also Instagrammed the heck out the event, allowing us to see what the whole thing looked like. You can see the whole menu laid out in a pretty orange graphic over at Mic; in the meantime, though, here are a few of what I consider to be the most notable dishes, either due to their creativity, weirdness, or some combination of the two:
1. Caramelized Corn and Nacho Cheese Sauce Shooter with Taco-Seasoned Popcorn
Part of the “plated appetizer trio” that kicked off the meal, this wacky-sounding shooter kind of defies all explanation. It’s a shooter…of nacho cheese (of which I am generally not a fan)…with…both caramel and taco popcorn? Is the popcorn in the shooter? Is it served on the side? Or something else? I couldn’t figure it out on my own, but luckily Brand Eating was in attendance and Instagrammed the dish.
2. Crispy Skinned Turkey Roulade with Cinnabon Delights Mole and Cranberry Foam
How exactly does one foam a cranberry? Like this, according to iJustine.
3. Mountain Dew Sangrita Blast Cranberry Relish
Because nothing says “Thanksgiving” like Mountain Dew.
4. Sweet Potato Chorizo Stuffing Made with Seasoned Beef, Taco-Shell Cornbread, and Caramelized Onions
Part of me wants to believe that the “taco-shell cornbread” was actually made by using ground-up taco shells in the place of the standard cornmeal. I realize that’s probably wishful thinking, though. You can see the stuffing in the upper right hand corner of Tim DeLaGhetto’s plate.
5. Soft Yeast Rolls and Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos Infused Garlic Butter
Okay, so the rolls themselves aren’t that exciting — but good gravy, Cool Ranch Doritos Locos butter? As was the case with the nacho cheese shooters, I have a lot of questions about this one: Was the butter infused with actual crumbled-up Cool Ranch Doritos Locos taco shells? Or was it just blasted with Cool Ranch flavoring? Does garlic naturally occur in Cool Ranch? If not, how well did the two flavors pair together? I must know!
Of course, even if you didn’t get to go to Taco Bell’s official Friendsgiving Feast this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t hold a fast food–inspired event of your own. BuzzFeed has instructions on how to pull off a Thanksgiving fast food-a-thon in the classiest way possible, including recipes for a Doritos Locos Festive Dip Wheel, Red Slurpee Fruit Sauce, and (of course) a bird created from as many different kinds of chicken nugget–type items you can get a hold off.
Or, y’know, you could just stick with mashed potatoes and what have you. It’s probably safer.