Conan O’Brien Visits Taco Bell Test Kitchen, Creates The Irish “O’Taco”

One of the staffers on Conan O’Brien’s show is an aficionado of the fine, authentic Mexican cuisine at Taco Bell, so using the “incredible power” he has in show business, Conan did what any good boss with a TV talk show would do — took the staffer to the Taco Bell test kitchen for a segment.

And so Conan and his staffer Chris visited the “sleepy little hamlet… tiny little Mexican village” that is Taco Bell HQ on Glen Bell Dr. in Irvine, CA.

They visit the company’s in-house museum, which features a brick from an early Taco Bell in San Bruno, CA, but they don’t make any mention of the original Taco Bell building in Downey, CA, that currently faces possible demolition.

This is followed by an erotically charged visit to Bell’s sensory lab, where Conan and Chris gawk as a taste-tester drizzles some sort of sauce on her taco-like food item.

“Do you ever hire someone to watch people as they’re eating the food?” asks Conan. “Because I would do that.”

Finally, on to the “Innovation Kitchen,” where they get to be the first to publicly try something dubbed a “quesalupa” or perhaps “case of lupus” (though more likely the former than the latter). As with just about everything at Taco Bell, it’s something wrapped in something else and judging by the name it’s a combo quesadilla and chalupa.

“If there’s one thing we know about me, it’s that I’m a very good Mexican chef,” states O’Brien proudly as they begin to create their own menu items.

Conan acknowledges that Taco Bell has got things covered when it comes to foods delivered in taco shells and wraps, but “You’re overlooking one of the most time-honored food-delivery systems around — the ice cream cone.”

He then packs a cone — that he apparently had stashed in his pocket for the trip — full of various Taco Bell ingredients to create “La Cona.”

Conan also suggests that Taco Bell could make things easier for drivers who want to eat burritos while driving if they simply sold a device similar to the one used by musicians who play the harmonica while strumming their guitar.

The trip concludes with the creation of an Irish taco, or the “O’Taco,” as Conan calls it, complete with cabbage, mashed potatoes, and corned beef, then drowned in “my own special sauce” (aka Guiness) before heading to the grill.

You’ll notice no one actually eats the O’Taco on screen, unlike the “everything in the kitchen” Pinata created by Fast Company’s Mark Wilson earlier this year, which actually got a test run for an afternoon at a real Taco Bell.