Turkey, Bacon and Marechal Grilled Cheese by Dean Belder

There are few things I love more than a tasty sandwich, even better if it has melted cheese running throughout. Working at Benton Brothers has afforded access to a wonderful arrange of awesome cheeses, but I rarely take home more than just a basic cheddar.  I decided to change that this week. I grabbed some smoked turkey, a few slices of bacon, along with tomato and some lettuce. To top it off I surveyed the case at work, and landed on a delicious Swiss, medium in flavour, with a light peppery finish. It made for the perfect combo, along a side of Chipotle seasoned potatoes and onions.  

Chipotle, Lots of Smoke, Very Little Fire. by Dean Belder

Finally having a reason to be downtown, I decided it would be a good opportunity to finally try out a fast food joint that’s been getting a lot of buzz south of the border. Chipotle has made a great many claims in an attempt to change the fast food game, from efforts to source their ingredients locally, and from organic sources, to how they treat their employees, there’s even a documentary about them on Netflix that seems to support this, though to be fair it seems to also seems to be a well placed piece of corporate propaganda.

The location in Vancouver is one of only a handful of outlets in Canada, located across from the law courts on Howe street, the location’s primary competition is the food trucks and carts that frequent the art gallery space a short walk away. 

Walking into the restaurant, it’s clear they are trying to set themselves apart from the rest of the fast food set, but are they really doing anything revolutionary? In a word, no. They make vast claims to be having the customer as part of the food creation, but no more so than say Subway, and sure all the ingredients are prepared in house, a laudable change from the norm to be sure, but is it enough? I’m not sure it is in a city like Vancouver, other establishments have already taken up this model and are doing it in my opinion cheaper and better.

I ordered a carnitas bowl with a side of chips and salsa. Presented well, the bowl was layers of rice, beans and pork, topped with sour cream, tomatoes, salsa and lettuce.  The chips in a paper bag labeled “chips”, and a side of salsa in a little plastic cup.

The food itself was nothing special, the meat on the bland side, the veggies despite their organic nature were, well boring, the hot salsa medium at best, the chips also were nothing special, and didn’t seem to represent the “made-in-house” mantra that Chipotle pushes on what has become a loyal following in America.

Ultimately there was nothing wrong with the food, but at the same time I think the Red Burrito does the whole thing a little better, and a lot cheaper. If the price doesn’t bother you, then you’d be much better served going to La Taqueria, for a much more flavorful take on the Mexican experience, and if the chain restaurant is your thing, Chronic Taco’s is also a much better choice than Chipotle.

I was excited to try out Chipotle, and having the opportunity to try it I left a little disappointed, and very underwhelmed. I can’t help but think that Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck would have been a much better choice than a run of the mill burrito joint