These views do not necessarily reflect the views of other FWF staffers, who shamelessly eat Chipotle burritos on the reg.
Newsflash: Chipotle is safe and mediocre. It is, by no means, the hero it proclaims to be. Its burritos have been lauded by celebrities like Kendall Jenner, because basic loves basic. And the bros love Chipotle, too—specifically those looking to beef up and add a burrito to their daily intake of protein powder and Natty Ice. (Bruh, do you realize that a steak burrito has 1,045 calories and 85% of your daily recommended sodium intake, which is more than a Big Mac and large fries at McDonald’s?)
If you’re more of a rap buff than a Mexican-food buff, let me break it down like this: Eating at Chipotle is akin to listening to Big Sean—you know what you’re getting every time you go, but what you’re getting is something incredibly average; he’s a big brand that receives too much credit for his artistry. On the other side of the equation exists the burrito equivalent of E-40—a supremely talented, yet gritty performer who has stayed true to the roots of hip-hop for decades—which can be found at that mom-and-pop burrito spot where the tortillas are tender and lard-laden, the salsas are complex, and the meat is seductive.
It’s your choice: You going to listen to Big Sean or E-40? Are you going to be that mindless sheep who settles for convenience and mediocrity, or are you going to support the musicians, the cooks, or whomever is giving it their all?
But let’s be clear—Chipotle’s soullessness and ridiculously high sodium content is not my only gripe with the “burrito” chain. Let me elaborate on why I think Chipotle is utter trash, and why the devil’s greatest trick was convincing America that Chipotle is what it appears to be.
Choosing Chipotle over a mom-and-pop is lazy AF.
Take a look at this Chipotle burrito bowl. What’s wrong with it?
It’s 75% bland rice, and the salsa has no depth other than salt. Let’s be honest: both the bowl and the burritos look like a plastic food replica that belongs in some depressing restaurant’s window display.
But, you say, Chipotle is on your way home from work; there’s also a location next to your house. The burritos there are $9 a pop, and you spent all your dough this month on protein shakes and a gym membership. Guess what? I went to a burrito spot called Al & Bea’s on my way home from work today, and the burrito was $4, and it looked and tasted hell of a lot better than the fake-ass carnitas burrito that I reluctantly ordered from Chipotle for the sake of this article.
Now that’s a burrito.
Don’t want to go on an adventure to explore the non-chain restaurants around you? Pull up Yelp, search burrito, and go to whatever spot looks good that isn’t Qdoba, Chipotle, Moe’s, or Taco Bell. And if you live in an area devoid of burritos, go get the next best thing that’s not a Big Mac. Get out of your comfort zone, America.
The company’s food-safety standards are sus.
Just this month, three people in the Portland area and 19 people in western Washington became sick from E. coli. Seventeen of those people had eaten at a Chipotle during the few weeks prior, causing the chain to shutter 43 of its stores following the outbreak.
Text conversation with my mom.
And that’s not the first time the fast-casual titan’s been affected by tainted ingredients. Back in September, 64 cases of salmonella were linked to tomatoes used by the burrito-makers at 22 Chipotle locations in the Minneapolis area.
Is this “food with integrity”? Dafuq.
People think they’re living a virtuous (and healthy) life by eating Chipotle. #StayWoke
In our country, we’ve decided it’s okay for people to eat garbage. That’s why when a fast-casual chain like Chipotle comes about that uses better products than the dregs of the food chain (i.e., Arby’s), we think it’s “ethical” and “healthy.” The chain has made billions convincing America it serves “real, whole foods” that are prepared “using classic cooking techniques” through its deceptive but brilliant marketing.
News flash: the New York Times reported that the average Chipotle order—an inappropriately large burrito—contains over 1,000 calories, which is more than a Big Mac and large fries at McDonald’s. And then there’s the fact that Chipotle regularly brags that its food is organic. According to the Chipotle website, the only organic items are beans, oregano, avocado, cilantro, jalapeños, and rice—and according to the chain’s twitter, only 40% of those beans are actually certified organic.
But what about the fact that Chipotle’s entire menu is now “GMO-free”? After the chain proclaimed it was “G-M-OVER IT,” The Washington Post accused the company of joining a “global propaganda campaign that is not only contrary to the best scientific knowledge but also potentially harmful to vulnerable populations around the world.” But damn, GMO-free sure looks good on marketing materials.
So, Chipotle pretends to be something it’s not so it can take teenager’s money while making them obese. That being said, the chain has done some good for society. Taco scholar Bill Esparza explains, “At least they taught America how to say chipotle right.”
I beg you, burrito lover: Go find some local joint near you. Here’s a helpful list of incredible burrito spots around the U.S. to get you started.