Chipotle in Westwood Village [moved from LA board]
I noticed the other day that a Chipotle is opening up in Westwood Village.
It's going to be in a storefront that used to be a chicken place -- in between the movie theater and the empty Hamburger Hamlet location (which is next door to Jerry's Deli.) You know, across from Stan's Donuts.
I've never been to a Chipotle -- and this might get moved to the chain board (OTOH, it's news of a new restaurant in a specific location, so who knows?) I usually loathe chain-Mexican: El Torito, Acapulco's, any of that stuff.
Anything worth eating at a Chipotle?
Known for their burritos, I actually don't love the smoky flavor to all their meats. Much prefer Poquito Mas, which is on Westwood at Olympic. Best in town, imo.
Chipotle is awful, much worse than Baja Fresh and Poquito Mas.
Think McDonalds doing Mexican food. Everything is pre-cooked and sits under those heat lamps, like at a cheap Chinese buffet. When you order, they just scoop the stuff under the heat lamps. Half the time, the chips are stale, and there is no variety in the food.
This explains its popularity.
It's odd. It's not that much more difficult to make decent food. Even decent fast food. There is nothing inherently wrong with Baja Fresh or even La Salsa (though, like I said, the sit down chain Mexican places are bad).
If Baja Fresh can do decent, at least fresh and edible Mexican fast food fare, why is a place like Chipotle popular, if, as you say, they are awful?
Thanks to you both, now I don't have to try the Chipotle in Westwood.
I wouldn't put Chipotle in the tank, rather I'd put it just a step below Baja Fresh....and as I think about it, it just comes down to what I prefer rather than Baja Fresh being a lot better. I think WHills goes overboard with the heat-lamp/cheap buffet description. Chipotle cooks the food more often and turns it over more quickly. They're pretty close to as fresh as Baja Fresh, really. I agree with yogachick that I don't much like the meats, but I think the rice, tortillas, salsas and guacamole are all decent to good. Given the options in SF, I wouldn't go there...but in the middle of a place I don't know with no other local burrito options around, I'd head to a Chipotle.
i'll take counterpoint. we love CHIPOTLE. we've eaten at several.
our favorite is the barbacoa burrito with black beans, everything, little bit of hot sauce, and guac. it's so big, we split it. yes, the carnitas and barbacoa and their other proteins are pre-cooked because it's been braised for hours and hours. the barbacoa is braised with fruit juices and cinammon. yum! i don't want to wait for someone to cook rice & beans from scratch.
their vision is Food with Integrity and they use many products that are sustainable, naturally raised, added hormone free, etc. some of their suppliers include NIMAN RANCH, HARRIS RANCH, and DU BRETON. they also use sour cream that is RBGH-free.
the food is good and we can eat at CHIPOTLE closer to the way we choose to eat at home. it's a home run with a continuous line outside of our location to prove it.
it is MCD doing mex in a sense that it was financed by the MCD special ventures unit. steve ells, the founder, has great foodie credentials. he worked at STARS in SF for two years, is a graduate of CIA/hyde park, and received a Silver Palate award. i think he's influenced MCD on some of their recent changes in the proteins their using.
to each his/her own, i guess.
disclosure: we own stock in both MCD & CMG having eaten there several times before they IPO'd.
it's essentially a San Francisco Burrito, but that being said, it's customized as your burrito-ista asks you what you want and makes it in front of you. you can have rice and beans or not. you can have sour cream, cheese and lettuce or not. the meats are slow cooked and braised vs. grilled.
here's some culinary history on the SF burrito:
also, you might enjoy www.burritoblog.com
i wouldn't normally respond to a post like this, but thought you deserved to hear the other side of the coin. i was raised on the YUCA'S burrito. the awesome aspect to LA is the plethora of burrito choices. olé!
I'm a big believer of "too each his own" ...
I'm not for or against the San Francisco burrito ... I've never actually gone to San Francisco to eat one. But I've had that style, it's not my thing. On the other hand, there aren't exactly a lot of good burritos in Westwood Village, so I might give it a try at some point.
Here is a thread I started once that is sort of related:
It's the yay or nay rice in a burrito thread.
Chipotle is basically a chain-ified version of the San Francisco burrito. It's rice, beans, meat, salsas, guac, sour cream and cheese - generally wrapped in a tortilla, but they'll make tacos, put it in a bowl, or make it into a salad.
A burrito with the works probably has enough calories to fill your daily allotment, but I enjoy it. After 10 years in SF, a huge burrito is exactly what I want when I'm starving.
Chipotle is actually going to be in the former site of D'Amore's Pizza on Broxton, about a block south of the location you're talking about. The old Star Chicken site is going to be a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut.
I ate at a Chipotle once, and it seemed like standard Baja Fresh/QDoba-type stuff. Apparently the average college student loves it though. Poquito Mas is way better though.