Most of you know my long-held view that Chipotle relies entirely too much on the nasty herb cilantro. Like a villain in my own personal nightmare, it seems cilantro is woven into every morsel you taste at this particular restaurant. The chicken is marinated in it. The rice is crawling with it. Predictably, every kind of salsa is married to it.
In the past, I’ve been able to find a few items that are either cilantro-free (crispy carnitas tacos) or aren’t quite so enmeshed that I’m unable to pick it out (guacamole). I’ve been known to make a meal of guac and chips at Chipotle. (More on the chips to come.) These items are fine, but not meals that have had me raving or coming back for more on a consistent basis. Much to my husband’s dismay.
However!! I’ve recently found a meal that is both cilantro-free and mouth-watering for me. Something I will gladly agree to dining at Chipotle for.
Are you ready for it?!
The crispy veggie tacos.
I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me before. Probably because I’m a hardcore, ingrained meat eater. But adding sautéed peppers & onions to a crispy taco shell, covering it in tasty cheese and topping it with shredded lettuce is a no-brainer, folks. Did I mention that guacamole comes FREE with veggie tacos?!!! So you order it on the side, saving yourself a small bundle and only have to pay for a crisp bag of homemade chips with the flavors of citrus lime & giant sea salt (I search for the ones with the most visible salt, I’m not gonna lie). Now you’ve got a meal fit for a queen. Enough to share with her king – if desired – as long as that king gets his own tacos / burrito / you get the picture.
I don’t do beans in my veggie tacos. No, thanks. I guess any miniscule amount of protein in this meal is coming from the cheese or the guac.
Have I ever mentioned to you, my faithful readers, that the perfect pairing for any Chipotle food is lemonade? Rarely do I order this beverage anywhere else. (Penn Station back east is an exception to this rule, since their lemonade is home squeezed deliciousness.) But the tart tanginess of lemonade is the just the right compliment to the fresh Baha flavors of Chipotle.
My husband is a big fan of the Tabasco sauce options they have available as well. You can choose from original Tabasco, the milder green jalapeno Tabasco or his favorite: the smoky chipotle Tabasco. I really don’t need any extra flavors accompanying my meal, but many find these options a delightful addition.
I also like that Chipotle is trying to be part of the food solution, rather than the problem. Doing things like supporting local farms, using organic produce, etc. It’s probably not as much as they could do (only done “when practical”), but it’s something. It’s awareness. It’s “food with integrity”, as noted on the front page of their website.
My one complaint (other than the constant cilantro overdose): Chipotle is stingy with their toppings. I have to ask for “extra” on every topping but lettuce. Including my main ingredient of peppers & onions!! My husband asked for “extra” salsa, received about 1/3 of what he wanted, asked for more and received about another 1/3 and just gave up.