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Want to Try Taco Bell's New 'Fresh' and 'Healthy' Menu? Make a Run for the Border (of Kern County)

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Photo by compujeramey via Flickr
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Taco Bell is testing out a (relatively) fresher, healthier menu that it has dubbed "Cantina Bell." And if you want to give the new menu a try, you're in luck because one of the two markets that are getting a test run is just 90 minutes to the North in Bakersfield (the other is in Kentucky).

The new menu includes black beans, cilantro rice and grilled corn salsa, which might seem familiar to anyone who has darkened the door of a Chipotle, according to Reuters. However, the chef claims the similarities to Chipotle are TOTALLY a coincidence.

"That's crazy talk. I'm not trying to reposition Taco Bell to be Chipotle," the chain's Chief executive, Greg Creed, told Reuters.

The new tacos, burritos and bowls are pricier than the typical Taco Bell fare at around $5 each, but that's still cheaper than Chipotle. Reuters gave the food a taste test and seemed to like it:

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Reuters tasted the food and found that the Cantina menu's flavors don't whack you over the head like Taco Bell's usual bean, cheese and meat-loaded fare. Marinades, guacamole and salad dressings have herbal and citrus notes that let the underlying ingredients shine through without being bland.

But can Taco Bell overcome its rep as a junk food hub and lure in health-conscious consumers and self-described Chipotle addicts? The Bakersfield Californian interviewed local Kaitlin Hulsy, 26, who says even the slightly cheaper Chipotle-esque fare wouldn't lure her back to the Bell: "I'd rather pay the two extra bucks."