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Fast Food Hackers

Filed under: California Food

There is never a good reason to eat fast food when you live in New York City. I don’t care if you only have 37 seconds for lunch, there are options a-plenty. Even if you resort to the dubious salad bar at your local bodega with mysterious smudges on the sneeze guard, there’s a point of pride in having avoided a six-incher from Subway. Not so in California. Not. So. In my quest to achieve fully integrated vegan status (I can eat anywhere! Really!) I have invented a take on a Taco Bell® regular that is undeniably delicious if you don’t make the rookie mistake of thinking it’s actual Mexican food (don’t judge!). Here’s the recipe:

SV: Hi, I’d like to order two (2!) Double Decker® Tacos.
TB®: Ok…
SV: With no meat.
TB®: You wan’ beans instead?
SV: Yes! Please! And also no cheese.
TB®: No cheese…
SV: And add guacamole?
TB®: *sigh* Next time say it all at once. Guac is 50 cents extra.
SV: Sorry. That’s it, I swear.

The amazing thing about Taco Bell® is that they make your food to order and never mess it up! And the amazinger thing about Double Decker®s is that you get the softness of a tortilla and the crunchiness of a taco and and double the amount of beans. Slather some of their red sauce on top (spicyness to suit your individual set of needs, I like mild cause I don’t enjoy having my nose run while I eat) and enjoy. Do you have a favorite fast food hack to share? Post a comment!


  1. Comment by

    Jason Das

    on #

    My favorite fast food hack is going to McDonalds or Starbucks to use the bathroom and then sneaking away. (Yes, Starbucks counts.)

  2. Comment by

    bunk existence

    on #

    Don’t those tortillas have glycerin in them?

  3. Comment by


    on #

    I agree that there is definitely never a good reason to eat fast food in NYC, but…..what’s the “good reason” that leads you to eat fast food in California?

    My favorite fast food hack is not giving my money to
    Taco Hell or any other corporate corpse-dealer.
    You can’t subvert an industry by helping fund it.
    If I spend my money at a fur store because they happen to sell a really cool pair of cotton socks, am I a “fur hacker?”

  4. Comment by


    on #

    Their guacamole probaby has meat juice in it. I wouldn’t trust a giant corporate fast food chain to do anything legitimately.

  5. Comment by


    on #

    AND, chances are, their guacamole probably has sour cream in it. You should actually be boycotting Taco Bell, because their labor standards are atrocious. The folks who pick their tomatoes and other ingredients get paid shit and have poor working conditions, while the wealthy stockholds get rich off their sweat. More info can be found here:

  6. Comment by


    on #

    Their guacamole is actually vegan, believe it or not. I eat there more than I’d like to – if they were being shady, I’d get very sick.

    Also, ordering tip: if you ask for the double deckers (which are also my item of choice) “Fresco style”, they’ll replace the cheese (and on other items, also the sour cream) with a chunky salsa.

  7. Comment by


    on #

    Two issues:

    One, tons of vegan options in L.A. Two, Taco Bell has screwed up more than one of my orders. Seems not everyone knows what Fresco style means…

    When I am stuck at Taco Bell (say, in the middle of nowhere on a drive across country), I prefer the 7 Layer Burrito knocked down to a 5 Layer Burrito.

  8. Comment by


    on #

    Andrea, you should know that you won’t be a true vegan until you boycott every restaurant in LA except RFD.

    Just FYI.

  9. Comment by


    on #

    Not all of the franchises use vegan rice – some use chicken broth in preparation. I suppose that you could always ask when ordering?

    If I were out in LA, there’s no way in hell I’d frequent fast food. But, alas, there’s not much in the way of vegan places out here in the boonies.

  10. Comment by

    Jason Das

    on #

    From TB’s official “ingredient statement” (it’s available as a PDF via their annoying flash website). It’s a semi-scary list, but it does say “vegetarian broth” in there:

    Rice, Seasoned
    Water, Seasoning: Salt, Vegetarian Broth [Natural Flavors (Including Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Autolyzed Yeast), Maltodextrin, Salt, Citric Acid, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Tapioca Dextrin], Tomato Powder, Corn Flour, Spices, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Dehydrated Bell Pepper, Dehydrated Onion, Dehydrated Tomato, Paprika (Color), Extractives Of Paprika (Color), Citric Acid, Disodium Inosinate And Disodium Guanylate, And Less Than 2% Calcium Silicate Added To Prevent Caking. Rice (Raw) – Enriched Precooked Parboiled Long Grain Rice [Rice, Niacin, Ferric Orthophosphate (Iron), Thiamine Mononitrate (Thiamine), Folic Acid]. Oil: High Oleic Low Linolenic Canola Oil, TBHQ (to protect flavor), Dimethylpolysiloxane (an antifoaming agent).

  11. Comment by

    Laura Leslie

    on #

    I understand where you’re coming from, and can’t blame you. I’d never eat fast food in NYC, but there are those situations, when you’re somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, pulling off the highway, having subsisted on nothing but energy bars and crackers for three days, and you can’t imagine anything more satisfying than a hot meal…. and Taco Bell is *right there*….

    Unfortunately I usually choose to starve, because something like ten years ago I succumbed, and the teenager behind the counter *swore* that my food would be vegetarian, and so I took a great big huge bite and it turned out to be ground beef, and I’ve never been able to set foot in a Taco Bell again. (And certainly I’ve become more cautious about checking food before I bite into it!)

    But I admire the fortitude of anyone who is willing to try…

  12. Comment by


    on #

    TB has screwed up my order more often than not. I order the bean burrito “al-fresco” and always add: “and be sure to make that with NO CHEESE please!”. After about three times getting it with cheese, I’ve given up and have not gone back.

    Its too bad too, because TB is the only vegan fast food option I’m aware of.

  13. Comment by

    Patrick Kwan

    on #

    Vegetarian Resource Group has a super vegan police guide to fast food restaurants. Sadly, it costs $6. My personal opinion is that they should have the guide up for free as a PDF.

  14. Comment by


    on #

    Believe it or not, TB has only screwed up my order once, and they’re very cool about correcting their mistakes without any attitude.

    I feel like I’m playing the shill right now, but maybe the TBs in my area are just more attentive?

  15. Comment by


    on #

    I made a similar, and I guess ended up being tastier concotion at Chipotle yesterday. A black bean fajita with tomatoes and corn. They didn’t even try me like an alien.

    Though I don’t trust Chipotle food either, but sometimes we get desperate.

  16. Comment by


    on #

    i too believe there’s never a reason to go to a fast food place, whether or not you’re vegan. bc you can always find some carrot sticks and lettuce or go buy a can of beans. When I travel I stock up and if I can’t, I’d rather go to the store than to a questionable restaurant.
    (i’m not ashamed to admit I’ve done it. supermarkets, and when desperate, convenience stores are your friends)

    but anyway, this website has a bunch of restaurants and fast food places and says what they have that’s veg and not – good resource –

    I use it when I’m going out with boring, unadventurous non-vegs who insist on going to a chain instead of a ethnic restaurant where I’m more likely to find a million things to eat. (also good if you’re stuck in some small back-o-woods town, though I did find decent Mexican and sushi in Macon, GA)

    here’s info on TB
    the beans and corn tortillas are vegan, but not the soft burrito tortillas.

  17. Comment by


    on #

    well taco bell is also owned by yum brands yes yum brands also owns kfc! http://WWW.KFCCRUELTY.COM for more details.
    now i live in pennsylvania!!peace out richie

  18. Comment by

    bunk existence

    on #

    Thank you for answering my question neishababee.

  19. Comment by


    on #

    chipotle is actually really good! haha im not gonna lie, i ate their yesterday :P there arent too many mexican places in nyc that ive really liked so ill go there, its the only fast food place ill go to & before anyone says “but they’re owned by mcdonalds” which people will say to be quite often..they haven’t been owned by mcdonalds for almost a year now

  20. Comment by


    on #

    Rather than get info from an old website (whose information contradicts itself – burrito tortillas are vegan, but “soft burrito tortillas” aren’t? Does not compute.), I always check the company’s website for ingredient information as it’s usually the most up to date.
    Taco Bell’s tortillas are all vegan.
    Go to – Go to the “Our Food” button, and click on “Food Facts”
    When that loads, click on “Ingredient Statement.” All questions answered.

  21. Comment by


    on #

    Aren’t we all better off in Burritoville than Taco Bell anyway? At least in New York…

  22. Comment by


    on #

    As far as I know, McDonalds has $360 million invested in Chipotle. I was liking Chipotle until I read about McDonald’s interest in the company.

  23. Comment by


    on #

    I occasionally give in to the guilty pseudo-pleasure of my local Taco Bell, and have eaten many bean and guac burritos on the road across the country as well. They have rarely screwed up my order in years, and this confounds me. The local Bell is clean as a whistle and has the most amazing friendly, professional staff. I frequently give them kudos on the TB web site and suggest paying them more. As for all the knocks in the comments, I can’t disagree that the company is rotten, although they did agree to pay the tomato pickers more as a result of the boycott, and this is one reason why I decided to go back now and then. Since even the highly self rightious food co-op where I buy most of my groceries sells meat and corporate crap like Heinous Celestial products, I think the main thing is to make the best possible choices within the framework of an imperfect world and cheerlead for improvement. I remember a time when the idea of vegetarian beans in a Mexican/fast food restaurant was considered outrageous, so there’s something to be said for coloring outside the lines a little – if veg folks refused to go to Taco Bell, they would be selling even more animal products. Although I don’t indulge often, I am voting for vegan at Taco Bell when I do.

  24. Comment by


    on #

    I’ll use their bathrooms, but I prefer to avoid anywhere that sells meat at all. I don’t trust that even if the food’s vegan that it hasn’t been handled or touched by anything with ‘meaty residues’ on it, and I don’t want to breathe in any of the smells – those are meat-containing molecules.

  25. Comment by


    on #

    A lot of fast food restaurants will accomodate a vegan diet. My website is like a vegan fast food guide for both vegans and transitioning vegetarians to see which options are on the menu at their favorite chains. Check it out: