Okay, so I’m going to admit that I have a serious and debilitating obsession with Chipotle. In college I worked there and the downward spiral started my first day of work; I ate there every shift, brought grotesque creations home with me to eat after a night out, and went into eat for free even when I did not have a shift. My addiction has continued to this day – by some estimates, I have eaten at Chipotle an average of at least twice a week since I was 21 – a conservative estimate would be 1000 lifetime meals. My problem can be your advantage, however, as I will tell you the three best concoctions that can be ordered at Chipotle. My sampling of nearly every permutation of salsa, meat, and topping has enabled me to determine perfection in burrito form. So, without further ado, the first most tasty creation (and its not even a Burrito!).
The First One: “The Lava Boat”
1. Burrito Bowl
Okay this part is easy: ask for a Burrito Bowl. Tell them you want it “for here” (if you’re white and feeling like a douche, you can say “Para Acqui”). I guess you could take it to go if you want, but moving food always introduces risks (robbery/spillage/radioactive waste).
2. A Very Very Small Amount of White Rice
I can’t emphasize how important this step is. While rice contributes to the status of a burrito bowl as a wholesome meal (and generally looks fantastic), it has no place in a Lava Boat. Rice tends to soak up flavor, hiding it in its ancient mysteries instead of letting the flavors stab your tongues taste buds directly with their molecular chaos. The hot salsa in particular is rapidly absorbed by the rice, thus preventing its intricate fusion with other flavors in the Lava Boat.
Do not casually say “light rice” to the friendly Chipotle employee working at the Tortilla press station, as this will simply not properly convey the truly minimal amount of grains you want on your bowl. While specifying the exact number of rice granules is not necessary, it is important to be firm and confident, and if too much rice is added, then politely ask your burrito artist to pour some back – its okay. The right amount is a very non-topped off single scoop of rice – basically enough to fit in your hand while not dropping any.
While rice contributes to the status of a burrito bowl as a wholesome meal (and generally looks fantastic), it has no place in a Lava Boat.
3. Black Beans
Black beans are a hearty and healthy way to improve a burrito bowl. Here, the goal is simply to get a reasonably moderate amount of beans – probably a little more than normal, but not “double” beans. Sometimes burrito artists are subconsciously trying to offset your lack of rice with extra beans – I don’t recommend this, and its not necessary.
Okay, so this is the trickiest part of the order. I’m going to tell you that unless the Carnitas look reasonably soft and juicy, you should abandon the Lava Boat immediately (steak is a perfectly acceptable alternative at this stage). If teh meatz look good, commence with the order. Extra meat is ill-advised – too much carnitas will destroy the balance of flavors, and YOU WILL REGRET IT.
5. Hot Salsa (Red Chili Salsa) (2x)
You have made it through stage one, and are now moving on to a new Chipotle worker (or sometimes, if it is slow, the same worker). Hot Salsa is part of the critical one-two flavor punch of the Lava Boat (the other being the guacamole), and its spicy goodness is sometimes a bit harsh on the digestive system. For those of you with extremely sensitive systems, it is recommended that you build up to a proper Lava Boat, starting with a minimal amount of hot salsa, and moving on as you can.
For readers who like hot sauce, please proceed as follows: request 1-1.5x amounts of hot salsa serving at the line on your burrito bowl (“extra hot salsa” works). The goal while eating is to maintain a constant volcanic-like-flow of hot sauce around the other food, so you should then order a “reserve” side of that delicious red chili sauce. You want to be able to re-up the Lava Boat mid-meal. You’ll thank me later.
[T]he hot salsa flows like blood through the guac, creating a Frankenstein monster of delicious proportions.
6. Corn Salsa
Technically corn used to be called “medium” salsa. However, after numerous confusing exchanges where people requested “medium salsa” and “corn salsa,” (thus confusing the “spicy green tomatillo” for medium salsa, and leading to tons of ambiguity) Chipotle eventually adopted the custom of calling corn salsa, corn salsa, and spicy green tomatillo salsa, medium salsa.
In any event, put some mother flipping corn salsa on your burrito. It works great as a sweet balancer to the hearty flavor of the Carnitas.
Put light cheese on your bowl. However, note that cheese is not necessary, and in fact is probably the only ingredient that can be removed without losing the fundamental character of the Lava Boat. It is tasty, however.
8. Guacamole (2x) + Chips (1x)
This is super important – get guacamole on your bowl, and get a side order of chips and guacamole. Let me repeat: Put guacamole on your bowl, and order a side of chips and guacamole. The chips are basically your rudders for this exploration of modern fast dining, so ignore your Atkinsian impulses, and get those chips.
The guacamole and the hot salsa are an amazing biological union – the hot salsa flows like blood through the guac, creating a Frankenstein monster of delicious proportions. Together they are spicy, and sweet, savory and sublime, while simultaneously remaining a light and delightful addition to the already complex flavors of the free ranged pork served by Chipotle.
9. Eating Instructions
What you should have now is a beautiful mix of red/green/white/yellow, with the black beans forming the tapestry for this burrito painting. You should make some efforts to mix the bowl, but not too much. Take a chip, make sure hot salsa/guac/corn and Carnitas represented, and NOM! You will thank me later. Once you reach the black beans, your burrito will shift in flavor, but will remain amazing. You will run out of hot sauce or guacamole first, in all likelihood. Reapply liberally with reserve stores, and smile!
This concludes Part One of the Three Perfect Chipotle Orders – A Now So Life Exploit, brought to you by Steven Robinson