It’s pronounced chi-POHT-lay

It was only the first Friday in the month that I claimed I wouldn’t eat out for lunch, but there I was, sitting at the Chipotle counter happily eating my barbacoa burrito (which I could barely finish for some reason). At least I have a legitimate excuse, or at least a personally-justifiable one, for not driving home for lunch – my truck was in the shop.

Impending $300 windshield replacement cost and my false claims aside, the point is that Chipotle Mexican Grill is fucking magnificent.

For those of you who know me, or even those of you who tolerate my Twitter rants, it’s probably no surprise to you that I love Chipotle. I’ve pretty much told anybody who would listen that I could be a happy (although slightly more overweight) man eating Chipotle for nearly every meal. (The thought of it for breakfast kind of makes me nauseous, or maybe that’s just the barbacoa starting to make a move.)

Although my first Chipotle experience was slightly weird (and jumping straight to the hot salsa was a bad idea), it inevitably started my longtime love affair with the pseudo-Mexican restaurant. It was a mainstay throughout college, and I became a regular with my friend Tina. Whenever I feel the urge to go out to eat, my first thought is usually Chipotle.

Breaking the routine

Through years of experimentation and variations, I found what I consider to be the best burrito known to man—chicken fajita burrito, green chile and corn salsa, sour cream, and cheese. However, recently the local Chipotle was out of naturally-raised chicken due to supplier problems or something (how do you expect me to read the sign when I’m in line and can only think about the burrito?), so I decided to switch things up and branch out…again.

After trying all the meat combinations with the rest of my usual, I have come to one conclusion: I miss the chicken. (By the way, I did try the chicken they had stocked and it didn’t taste nearly as good, although this could have been purely psychological.)

Since lists are really important, and my opinion is highly valued (hey, my mom says I’m cool) I decided to rank the burritos in my preferred order.

Burrito is in the eye of the beholder

All the burritos listed will include the burrito-sized tortilla, rice, fajita vegetables, green chile and corn salsa, sour cream, and cheese.

  1. Chicken. The naturally-raised chicken is nearly always cooked to perfection, seems to be slightly lighter than beef varieties, and is just damn tasty.
  2. Vegetarian with pinto beans and guacamole. I found this combination when I was experimenting with vegetarianism. I believe the pinto beans are cooked with bacon, which is why the usual vegetarian combination includes black beans, and is also why they will stare at you vacantly when you request it. It’s a very solid burrito that I would happily eat if I weren’t a carnivore. I turned my friend Dan onto this combination (sans guacamole), and he seems to enjoy it.
  3. Barbacoa. The shredded beef is spicy, moist and delicious. However, it’s also overwhelming and makes me think I’m eating a brisket burrito. It’s also quite possibly the messiest of them all.
  4. Carnitas. The shredded pork always seems too dry to me. I want to like this one more, I really do, but I can’t.
  5. Steak. If the steak were cooked correctly this would probably be my second choice. However, it seems like nine times out ten, the steak is undercooked and rubbery. Maybe I’m just picky about steaks.

Well there you have it. I believe I’ve tried every component (not necessarily every combination) that the chain offers, and there are very few things that I dislike. The guacamole is good, but it’s way too much with the sour cream and cheese – at additional $1.80, it’s too much in general. The fresh tomato salsa is too citrusy for me and makes the burrito soggy. I actually really like the hot salsa, but not the morning after.

I think there is plenty of room for the introduction of some seafood options, especially shrimp.

Since I basically said this same thing in 140 characters or less on Twitter (and you had to sit through the long version – sucker) some of my friends had their own take.

Sounds almost exactly like my usual, but I always get carnitas. So tasty. Also, I’m not always in the mood for their corn salsa.

Josh Works

Barbacoa burrito, black beans, half hot/half tomato salsa, sour cream, cheese and lettuce.

Ben Carmean

Josh also had a great idea:

Chipotle should let you order famous people’s usual burrito, ala iTunes Celebrity Playlists.

Then again, it would be really awkward to eat Alec Baldwin’s burrito. For example.

part onepart two

I support the idea. I think Lady Gaga might have an interesting taste in burritos.

So what’s your favorite?