I like commercials for Jack in the Box way more than I like their food. The latest ad begins with a pitch for the "Jumbaco", which consists of a Jumbo Jack sandwiched between two tacos. It's not a real menu item—the ad-within-the-ad is a clever way to promote the Jumbo Deal (2 tacos, a cheeseburger, fries, and drink for $4.29), but even so, with the jingle stuck in my head, I got to thinking: maybe the Jumbaco could actually be good.
I had to find out.
The real life version isn't nearly as pretty as on TV. A chunk of pale iceberg juts out one side, and the tacos look infinitely more sad. Eating it posed several challenges such as navigating the edges of the taco, which stuck off past the bun, and the sheer height of the burger, which required a slack jaw. I ate mine in the courtyard of my condo building, so there was also the fear of witnesses. Eating a double taco burger definitely requires privacy: it's best to consume it in secret, quickly, and then burn the evidence.
Still, despite the inevitable shame and messiness of attempting to eat three fast food items simultaneously, the Jumbaco was an improvement on the plain cheeseburger.
Cheeseburgers and tacos share a lot of the same core ingredients, so the flavors blended together well (with the exception of the pickle). This was probably helped by the fact that asked for mine without ketchup and onion. The taco did more for the burger than vice-versa. The shell added some texture, and the two extra slices of cheese and taco "meat" brought a touch of simulated Mexican flavor to the burger, which is pretty mono-texture and bland on its own. On the downside, you need about one napkin per bite, and under no circumstances should anyone ever look at the slimy meat paste inside the tacos.
I'm no marketing expert, but I figure there are two main target consumers for the Jumbaco: young boys who eat one on a dare, and those under the influence of appetite enhancing chemicals. Oh, and shameless food bloggers.
Adding it to the menu as a legitimate item would be too weird, but a burger with taco chips and some of that seasoned beef wouldn't be a terrible idea.
About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best cheap and tasty eats in San Diego, including all things sweet and sugary, for her dessert blog San Diego Sugar and great meals under $10 for San Diego Magazine.