Chipotle, huh?


So. Chipotle. Making all kinds of money, spreading all over the country, turning out great commercials. Personally I wasn't interested until I saw a poster at the BART station saying they serve---I forget---three acres of cilantro a day or something. That sounded good.

But still. I have Gordo and Cactus and Picante and Talavera and a million other local places. Why would I go to Chipotle?

Well, a reason arrived in the form of a fundraiser. Half the money I spent tonight (I'm writing this on the 20th) goes to my kids' elementary school. Good enough.

First, the good news. The chips! Holy smokes! What great chips! I don't know what sorta grease they cooked them in, but mmmwa! And the salt! Seriously. Among the best chips I've ever had.

Now, the bad news. Everything else.

I'm sorry Chipotle fans, but really? Really? What do you see in this place? It's a chain, but it's not cheaper than the good places. And it's not better than, say, Cafe Rio or Rubio's. The carnitas is simply bad and everything else ranges from the flavorless to the off. Honestly. I'm utterly mystified what people see in this place.

I mean---if the rest of the country is that desperate for a burrito, okay, but why are there two within a couple miles of my house? Can anyone explain this to me? The burritos aren't even wrapped well! The employees were nice enough (though between my head cold, their music, and some noisy fans, we could barely communicate) and the menu was reminiscent of burger places that know what's up (In-N-Out, Five Guys), but that stuff's mere trappings. The real test is the food and no matter how free-range their chickens or organic their tomatoes, their food just ain't good.

Now. Who wants to make a Gordo run?


  1. YES. YES. A million times yes. I gave it a second try and was just as disappointed with the burrito. Everything seemed so...bland. Except the lime-salty chips. Those were tasty.

  2. .

    I can't get over the carnitas. I don't know if it's a side product of cooking it sous vide or a flaw of their seasoning packet or what, but it just tasted . . . off. If you can't make carnitas delicious, how do you belong in this business? It was an almost chemical flavor. Nobody wants that.

  3. You Cal-ee-fornyuns sound pretty high and mighty out there in the Bay Area. Come on over for a burrito-joint tour of Southern Indiana. Then tell me how gross Chipotle is.

  4. .

    I concede the point. I admit I'm extremely lucky in the confluence between my geography and burrito options. If I lived in a burrito desert I might well feel differently.

    For another amen, however, from Twitter @motleyvision:

    A Motley Vision ‏@motleyvision 7m
    @thmazing And you're totally right on the burrito construction. Bay Area snobs may overstate things a bit--but not that.
    View conversation
    A Motley Vision ‏@motleyvision 8m
    @thmazing Also: I miss Rubio's. By far my favorite fast food place.
    View conversation
    A Motley Vision ‏@motleyvision 9m
    @thmazing But what it comes down to is: it's a solid option when all your other options suck.
    View conversation
    A Motley Vision ‏@motleyvision 9m
    @thmazing The cilantro lime rice makes me angry. The pinto beans are okay. The hot tomatillo salsa is okay.
    View conversation
    A Motley Vision ‏@motleyvision 10m
    @thmazing I actually like their carnitas. Not amazing, but when you haven't had carnitas in a long time, it works...
    View conversation
    A Motley Vision ‏@motleyvision 11m
    @thmazing Blogspot still hates me so I'll have to comment here...

  5. Can't remember if I've ever tried Chipotle. Guess I'll stick with Cafe Rio, which I LOVE and is cheaper anyway.