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I tried Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza for the first time, and now I finally understand the hype

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Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza
Taco Bell's famous Mexican Pizza is finally back, and I tried it for the very first time.Anneta Konstantinides/Insider
  • Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza is finally back, delighting everyone from Dolly Parton to Doja Cat.

  • It features beef and beans between two tortilla shells topped with cheese, tomatoes, and pizza sauce.

  • I tried the Mexican Pizza for the first time and loved its texture and flavors. It's worth the hype.

After petitions, protests, and the pleas of some very famous fans, Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza has finally come back.

Taco Bell Mexican Pizza
Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza is finally back.Taco Bell

Taco Bell fans were outraged in November 2020 when the chain discontinued its Mexican Pizza after 35 years on the menu. More than 170,000 people even signed a Change.org "Save the Mexican Pizza" petition.

But the beloved Mexican Pizza has returned to menus this week, answering the prayers of everyone from Dolly Parton to Doja Cat — who first revealed the Mexican Pizza was coming back on May 19 during her Coachella performance last month.

"Our menu is full of fan-favorites, but the Mexican Pizza is at the top of that list," Taco Bell CEO Mark King told Insider at the time. "Mexican Pizza has a long history with the brand, and I'm glad we could give fans what they crave and bring our classic Mexican Pizza back home where it belongs."

There's been so much excitement surrounding the Mexican Pizza's return that Taco Bell and Dolly Parton are even making a musical.

Dolly Parton Taco Bell Musical
Dolly Parton and Taco Bell are making a musical about the Mexican Pizza.Duncan Hines/Taco Bell

Dolly Parton's fandom for the Mexican Pizza first came out when I asked about her love of Taco Bell during a Zoom interview in January.

Parton was telling me about her usual Taco Bell order — a soft-shell Taco Supreme with a side of rice and beans — when she mentioned that she also used to love the Mexican Pizza.

When I asked the country-music legend if she thought Taco Bell should bring the Mexican Pizza back, Parton's answer was immediate — and enthusiastic.

"I think they should!" she said.

Now Parton is joining fellow Taco Bell superfan Doja Cat for "Mexican Pizza: The Musical," which will premiere on TikTok on May 26. A spokesperson for Taco Bell told me the satirical musical will follow "the story of those who fought to bring back the Mexican Pizza."

But I never got a chance to try the Mexican Pizza — until now.

Anneta at Taco Bell Pacifica
Me at the world's most beautiful Taco Bell in Pacifica, California.Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

As a Northern California native, Taco Bell was a frequent fast-food stop for me and my friends. But I was always loyal to the Crunchwrap Supreme and never thought to try the Mexican Pizza.

Over the last year, I've been exploring Taco Bell's menu, trying everything from the delicious $2 burritos to the chain's twist on a fried-chicken sandwich. I even visited the most beautiful Taco Bell in the world. But, until this week, the Mexican Pizza evaded me.

So when the calendar hit May 19, I headed straight to my local Taco Bell. It was finally time to see what all the hype was about.

My Mexican Pizza came in a small purple box.

Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza
It was finally time to try Mexican Pizza for the first time.Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

As far as fast-food packaging goes, I really liked the Mexican Pizza box.

The purple, pink, and yellow colors are modern and fun. Plus, repeatedly writing "MEXICAN PIZZA" down the front seems to perfectly encapsulate the excitement people feel about this menu item.

My Mexican Pizza definitely looked messier than the promo picture, but I was still excited to dig in.

Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza
The Mexican Pizza at Taco Bell.Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

For those of you not in the know, Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza features ground beef and refried beans sandwiched between two tortilla shells that have been topped with cheese, tomatoes, and pizza sauce.

My Mexican Pizza didn't have as much pizza sauce as I'd hoped, but there was a generous sprinkle of cheese and fresh tomatoes on top and I could see some beef oozing out from the sides.

I also took a peek inside.

Inside Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza
Inside my Mexican Pizza.Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

It seemed like there was an even ratio of beef to refried beans, although I was surprised it appeared they hadn't been mixed together.

It was finally time to dig in, and I was an instant fan.

Anneta with Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza
I loved the texture and flavors in the Mexican Pizza.Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

I wasn't sure what to expect from the Mexican Pizza, but it had a great combination of texture and flavors. The tortilla base was crispier than I expected, adding a nice crunch to every bite. The beef was nicely seasoned, and I loved the fresh tomatoes and pizza sauce on top.

My only gripe was that the beans and beef weren't mixed together. While I got some delicious slices where the beef was prominent, my parents — who were also trying Mexican Pizza for the first time — said they could only taste beans in their slices.

I also decided to try the vegetarian version of the Mexican Pizza.

Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza beef and vegetarian
Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza with beef is on the left, while the vegetarian version is on the right.Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

The veggie Mexican Pizza is almost exactly the same, except it only features refried beans between the two tortilla shells.

The vegetarian Mexican Pizza has a huge fan base, especially among Indian-Americans.

Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza vegetarian
My vegetarian Mexican Pizza.Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

I first heard about Mexican Pizza from my best friend Shivani, who was always ordering it when we went to Taco Bell in high school. For many years, I didn't even realize there was a meat version.

Shivani was among the many people I knew who were devastated when Taco Bell took Mexican Pizza off its menu. And she was the first in line for its return, downloading the Taco Bell app so she could get it before the official May 19 release. When I asked Shivani what the Mexican Pizza meant to her, she revealed it's always been her favorite item to get from any fast-food restaurant.

"Growing up as a vegetarian, it was always tough to find food that was tasty and fulfilling — especially when it came to fast food," she said. "Anytime my parents asked if we wanted to eat out, my first thought was always Taco Bell."

Krish Jagirdar, who launched the successful Change.org petition, also spoke about Mexican Pizza's significance for the Indian-American community.

"Like many Indian-Americans who grew up vegetarian, we had limited access to the 'fun' fast food," Jagirdar said. "Taco Bell became a bridge to belonging in American culture for many kids like me who grew up in immigrant households."

The vegetarian Mexican Pizza also had great flavor.

Inside vegetarian Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza
Inside the vegetarian Mexican Pizza.Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

Thinking back to the '90s, the only vegetarian items I remember being offered at fast-food restaurants were french fries, salads, and In-N-Out's grilled cheese sandwiches.

But the Mexican Pizza is original, playful, and delicious. Now that I've tried it myself, I can see why it's so beloved by vegetarians — especially those who grew up in a time before fast-food chains began embracing non-meat options.

I'll definitely be ordering the Mexican Pizza again soon.

Anneta with Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza
I loved the flavor and texture of Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza.Anneta Konstantinides/Insider

Has the Mexican Pizza unseated my first Taco Bell love, the Crunchwrap Supreme? Nah, but I'm definitely still one of its fans.

The Mexican Pizza is such a fun way to satisfy your fast-food craving. It's light but filling, with plenty of delicious flavor. I have a reputation for getting Taco Bell after a big night out, and the Mexican Pizza has now definitely earned a spot on my takeout order.

Read the original article on Insider