I'm ashamed to admit that up until a week ago I was under the mistaken impression that this was a gordita. As a person with a vested interest in having broad and accurate knowledge of food, I don't usually look to fast food companies to wield correct culinary terminology. However, for some inscrutable reason I quite literally took Taco Bell's word for it. For the past 20-odd years. Shameful.
My revelation regarding the gordita came when I ordered some takeout from Ruchi's Taqueria. Ruchi's isn't the best Tex-Mex, but it's within walking distance of my house, and sometimes I'm not looking for my enchiladas to double as works of art. Fatty meat, melted orange cheese, beans, and the odd tortilla is often all that's required.
I could tell from the menu description that the Pollo Gordita ($2.69) was obviously not the crumbled beef and flatbread monstrosity I had seen on television. Far cuter in construction, this little pocket wrapped in tin foil was also entirely different in content. Plump, with shredded dark-meat chicken, a smattering of refried beans, and a healthy quantity of Monterrey Jack cheese, Ruchi's gordita was devoid of salsa and "creamy pepper jack sauce" seen in the Taco Bell version. I hardly missed either as I savored the mixture of tender chicken and melted cheese punctuated by the occasionally spicy bean, all ensconced in a grainy corn tortilla. My only regret is not having ordered the Tinga (beef stew) Gordita for comparison.
"Complex" is the last descriptor I would ever assign to the Pollo Gordita. "Comforting" might be the first.
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