Monday, August 15, 2005

Chipotle salad buzz

did i hear free?

Chipotle has given birth to a salad—big news when the minimalist menu hasn’t changed since the company first started in 1993.

at 50 cents more, the only differences between the existing Burrito Bol and the new salad are: a lack of rice, a leafier bed of romaine (rather than the diced one at the end of The Line) and a honey-chipotle vinegarette.

now the real gossip to this late-breaking story.

according to an insider source at the M Street location, anyone in the DC area can score a free salad if they are first-timers (or at least appear to be).

it is not broadcasted in any advertisements or window displays, only offered casually if a customer appears hesitant or unaware of “this new salad.” with that said, disguises and/or multiple visits to a range of Chipotle locations are encouraged.

when ordering, be sure to act somewhat bewildered and confused, as if your purist Chipotle ways are skeptical of the new salad addition. with that, you should have the salad in the bag (the branded brown paper one, of course).

the salad is served in the familiar recycled cardboard bowl, just like the Bol, but forget the cilantro-spiced white rice (unless requested). instead, the leafier romaine lettuce acts as a foundation to the other toppings, which still includes (thankfully) a choice of black or pinto beans (black beans, please), grilled peppers, salsas and a choice of protein (chicken, please).

and its main distinction from the Bol—the honey chipotle dressing.

it is handed to you at the end of The Walk, sitting in a small plastic container. there’s just enough to last the entire bowl’s length and around again, but be careful not to drench. tastewise, it is a pleasant balance between honey sweet and vinegarette tang (and couples the Tabasco Green Pepper sauce, located near fountain drinks, very nicely).

you can't spell chipotle without hip

it is like other somewhat sweet vinegarettes, but such a novelty for Chipotle that it makes a statement. sure it may look like another fast food provider jumping on the carb-counting bandwagon (like McDonalds's Fruit n’ Nut salad), but we forget that eating healthy is a good thing.

plus the dressing is actually tastey. if it all just scares you too much, think of it as another salsa option (but with a 50-cent price tag) added to the Bol, since really that's all it is.

it is another way to personalize your order, similar to the west coast's In-N-Out burger joint, where customers are welcomed with a basic burger-and-fries menu at first, but digging deeper there lies a web of hidden permutations of toppings and condiments galore.

it is a way for Chipotle to appeal to the lifestyles of many-- no matter how in shape you feel, the aztec-decor is still the environment you need. think of it as the diet Coke of Chipotle-- still provides the same buzz, with roughly the same taste, minus the heavy guac, sour cream, rice and 340-calorie tortilla.

there’s no telling how long Chipotle will continue the under-the-table promotion (i give it a couple weeks tops). it is a secret known only by the Chipotle staff and groupies community, the kitchenette included, and now you.

to find your nearest Chipotle, visit this Washington DC store locator.

and if you really want to discover how many calories Your Order contains...try your hand at the Chipotle Nutrition Calculator. Mine has 37g of fat, and 929 calories...eek.


At 1:00 PM, Blogger DHHB said...

Thanks for the kind words on the new Chipotle salad. I'm pretty fond of it too (though in the interest of full disclosure, I work for Chipotle so my opinion -- as honestly intended as it is -- may not be viewed as entirely objective).

For those picking up on the freebie, I'm sorry if it doesn't go down as reported here. Fact is we often try to do things like that to help indoctrinate new customers or to reward our most fervent fans -- a genuine and friendly gesture that helps make us who we are.

Unfortunately, the more people try to game the system, the better the chances that we'll be forced to stop it and start behaving like everyone else. So far, we've managed to stay away from saying things like "at participating restaurants," or "one per customer," and other ridiculous and restrictive phrases.

Please, don't abuse the system. Help us protect our genuine spirit.


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