Sometimes I fancy that I've had my lifetime supply of McDonald's, but the food wizards of Oak Brook, Illinois keep pulling me back with their culinary tweaks. Recently, it's McDonald's coffee, which is better than half the blends at Starbucks down the street, and Habanero Ranch Sauce.
The McDonald's at Ella Blvd and the 610 North Loop makes exceptionally good French fries if you get them at the high-turnover times of lunch and dinner. A co-worker, who grew up with a New York habit of dipping them into ranch dressing, recently became a chili addict, and started dipping her fries into the Habanero Ranch Sauce. Other people in the office thought her crazy, because the Habanero Ranch is surprisingly and definitely hot.
I tried the combo, and it was indeed crazy. Crazy delicious.
There are no reservations about Taco Bell, which I consider the fourth horseman of Southwestern cuisine: Tex-Mex, New-Mex, Mex-Mex, and Bell-Mex. Few fast-food lunches can top three Crunchy Supreme Tacos, which I bring home and pair with an icy sugary bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola.
I always get them with Taco Bell Mild Sauce, which lacks the heat but has more flavor than the Hot Sauce.
One day, while picking up some fries and Habanero Ranch Sauce for my co-worker, I noted the Taco Bell across Ella Boulevard, and an experiment popped into mind. I asked for some extra Habanero Ranch Sauce at McDonald's, then crossed the street and ordered two Taco Supremes, one with sour cream, and one without.
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After delivering the fries (they're never good cold), I opened up the tacos and put equal amounts of Habanero Ranch on each. My hunch about the sour cream was right--it was mild dairy overload--but the Habanero Ranch Taco Supreme without sour cream was tangy and silky and crunchy with a forceful amount of habanero burn. Both of the tacos left me with a soothing chili buzz.
It'll never replace regular tacos with Mild Sauce, but for a switch, I'll take a Habanero Ranch taco over a Cool Ranch taco any day, any lunch.