|Custom designed artwork by Mayatek, Inc, at a local Chipotlé|
(South Kirkman and Metrowest Blvd location)
Concept: 3 out of 5
Execution: 3 out of 5
Yeah, but: Mine is better than yours.
The Long Version: There are times when a body just has to have a heaping helping of carbs, salt, protean, and fats, and they want it Now. And then there are times when you want all of that, but with a bit more class than the typical burger joint. If you're in that kind of mood, then there is no better place to sate that hunger than at a Chipotlé Mexican Grill.
Chipotlé Mexican Grills are all over Orlando (and in other civilized areas, including two locations in Toronto). They're quite distinctive with their brown or gray industrial metal signage and the distictive Chipotlé name prominently displayed.
|Typical exterior, oxidized bare metal Industrial Mayan.|
(University Blvd location)
Once inside, you're presented with what can be best described as Mayatek decorations; bare concrete floors, lots of bare corrugated metal on vertical surfaces, and shellacked laminated plywood over all the horizontal surfaces. It gives each store a distinctive ambiance for the masses, one that certainly sets it apart from the look-alike burger joints, especially the hideous McDonalds near major tourist attractions.
One unexpected consequence of going into these stores for me (and probably one of the odder reasons I'm attracted) is the extensive use of all that sanded and shellacked laminated plywood. That type of wood, for whatever reason, was a big do-it-yourself raw material in the1950s and early 1960s. I know this, because my dad used it, and it was used extensively in an Atlanta suburban nursery I used to attend when I was but a wee tot. The nursery used it because it was cheap and damn near indestructible, even around little munchkins like me. They would cut it with round corners, sand down and round the edges, then shellac the wood with enough coats to withstand any spill, drool, or disgusting little stain you could imagine. I suspect that if the place is still in business that it's all still there.
|Busy counter workers.|
(South Kirkman and Metrowest Bvld location)
Once inside you place your order at an efficient, assembly line-style counter. Everything you can order, along with pricing, is prominently displayed across the top. There aren't that many major items, and certainly not that many combinations. But what is available is all very good, at least according to my unsophisticated palette. Everything that's hot (cooked) is constantly made fresh; all the rice, beans, and green peppers are cooked in the back with the grills, and all the meats are grilled. According to Chipotlé's main web site, they work to provide as much organic food as possible, and work to include locally grown produce, such as the tomatoes used in the salsa. They refer to this as "Food With Integrity".
|My typical meal, a chicken burrito bowl with Chipotlé Tobasco sauce.|
(University Blvd location)
While I believe everything is good to eat, my regular meal is a chicken burrito bowl with rice and black beans, grilled bell peppers with onions, mild salsa, corn salsa, and a little sprinkle of cheese. I try to make it healthy and save about 200 calories by not getting a regular burrito with a tortilla, as well as leaving off the sour cream and guacamole. Besides, the burrito bowl is the best deal in the house, giving more burrito contents than a regular wrapped burrito. That huge bowl full of food with a regular ice tea (unsweetened) sets me back one penny less than $8.
Chipotlé might not be clase alta for some, but for me it fits quite well into a busy schedule and a need to avoid the all-to-typical American-style fried fast food. The only other fast casual dining eatery worth eating at (when I'm not eating leftovers for lunch) is Greens and Grille (which I hope to review soon as well). Chipotlé Mexican Grill might not be the cheapest, but unfortunately in this country good healthy food costs a little more. For me, though, it's well worth it.