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FYI--Chipotle in Davis SQ.

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Noticed a fairly hidden sign indicating that one of these franchises is set to open at the old Buck a Book site on 9/28/07. Having never eaten at one of these franchises, I'll withhold comment until I do.

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  1. I've only tried it once, but - dare I say it? - I really liked it. I don't like burritos in general, but the carne asada burrito I had (with cilantro-seasoned rice), plus a Bud, was pretty dang good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MB fka MB

      I'm a big fan of Chipotle, mostly a western chain there is a location in Medford. I find the food to be wicked good, with large portions. Plus the employees are friendly and when you order you aren't being rushed through the burrito making process which is one of the reasons I like it better than Anna's. I'll be interested to see how they do in Davis Square with Anna's being right there and having such a command of the burrito industry.

    2. I like Chipotle, and though I'm not a rabid fan as some are, the thing I admire most about them is their dedication to sustainably and responsibly farmed meat. All their pork is from Neiman Ranch plus two or three other similar outfits, their chicken from Bell & Evans (etc), and they have naturally raised beef. Their website has the details on which ranches and farms they partner with. They've made inroads in using using organic beans as well. For a chain with such a large number of stores (not in MA though), the extent to which they've been able to find and leverage sustainably farmed food into their production line is kind of remarkable. It's certainly enough to make me choose them over other fast food places, though FYI, like all those other burrito houses (qdoba, etc), the caloric content is not, shall we say, insignificant.

      Edited to add: I will say that depending on the location, sometimes the food there can get super salty. Tasty, but salty.

      4 Replies
      1. re: litchick

        Chipotle is still ok, but it sure isn't cheap... apples to apples to Anna's, it will be about $2 more for the same amount of food ($6+ to get started).

        1. re: tibizzers

          The burritos at Chipotle are almost twice the size of Anna's. The size of Anna's burritos have been shrinking drastically lately. My buddy got a burrito without rice and it was slightly larger than a tacquito. Although smaller, I think the quality of the burritos I've been getting lately from Anna's is better than it has been in the past - but I stick to the same thing everytime - steak with black beans, extra salsa....no, I want extra salsa...some more please...more salsa...a little more....

          I have enjoyed my Chipotle experiences in Colorado and other places around the country, but the one burrito I got from the Medford location a couple of weeks after they opened was just horrible - dry, bland from too much rice, and poorly rolled. They are going to have to do a better job if they are going to compete with Anna's in Davis Sq.

          1. re: tibizzers

            Yeah, with Anna's you can almost imagine a Seinfeldesque rolled crepe incident happening.

            1. re: LStaff

              I agree on the "Incredible Shrinking Burrito" phenomenon at Anna's. Seems like every time I get one there they get a bit smaller...

        2. Thanks, that's great news to me! I grew up in Denver and visited Chipotle a couple of times a week. Chipotle may not have the most authentic food, but it's tasty, cheap, abundant, and incredibly addictive! Plus they serve beer--which will give them a huge edge over Anna's in Davis :)

          8 Replies
          1. re: davis_sq_pro

            The positive responses have me looking forward to its' opening. I was never a big fan of Anna's. Qdoba id ok at best. But I'm a big fan of Tacos Lupita down the road from Davis.

            1. re: Sal Monella

              Tacos Lupita has pretty great food, but when I go in there I feel like they HATE me. This started with my very first visit so I don't think I could have done anything to piss them off... When I went in last week, the person behind the counter gave me a look that I can only describe as a combination of disgust and contempt as I ordered. Why??

              Luckily, the al pastor torta more than made up for my feelings of inadequacy :)

              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                They don't hate you - it's just really HOT in that little kitchen. Just keep smiling.

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  Funny stuff Bob. I would sense the ladies working the kitchen were never happy but I rolled with punches. You may have hit the nail on the head...good reason to go this weekend for verification. :>)

                2. re: davis_sq_pro

                  Agreed, I'd probably go a lot more often if they were more pleasant (and quicker). Still, I can't stay away too long and get my al pastor fix every so often.

                  1. re: davis_sq_pro

                    true, true. lupita's kitchen staff are all surly....while the kitchen is cramped, it's hardly an excuse. service can also be quite slow. nevertheless i'm willing to put up with these minor grievances so long as they give me a quality product.

                    1. re: jackal

                      Interesting comments. And I never dine in, always take-out cause I live nearby, but correct me if I am wrong - I don't think anyone has ever complained of poor service from these folks - they are just not very...warm. (I think there was a mention in the past of a heavily placed dish). Just saying...the food never really suffers due to service-related issues, as far as I am concerned. I lived a block away for about two years and there was zero recognition that I was a loyal and repeat customer. The only amused reaction I got was when I would go in wearing a suit and tie after work, which would provoke quiet chatter among the staff. Lord knows what they were saying, but the food was always great. Honestly, I think it has to do with the language barrier - there is sometimes a man behind the counter who is more fluent and more friendly. Eh, who knows. Just don't want people to think you are going to deal with "Soup Nazi" type service, which is really not the case, IMO.

                    2. re: davis_sq_pro

                      Granted, I've only been there 3 times and always on the same night of the week and same time, but the guy that has been taking my order has smiled and said hello and he hasn't given my any dirty looks for asking for both green and red hot sauces. That's all the friendliness I need in burrito joint. Service has been prompt as well - even when there was a line ordering in front of me. Maybe I'm just getting lucky, or maybe I'm not being a pain in the ass by not asking for special items in my burrito - I just say al pastor burrito and take what they give me.

                3. There is no reason to go to Chipotle when you have Anna's and Boca, both of which are vastly superior. Well, maybe for the carnitas...but that's it!

                  14 Replies
                  1. re: a_and_w

                    agreed. why anyone would go to chipotle, qdoba, boca or anna's with taco's lupita near by is beyond me.

                    1. re: a_and_w

                      Anna's and Boca Grande are both bland and carelessly constructed - pretty bad. Chipotle's worth at least a try.

                      1. re: Prav

                        I'm with Prav, Anna's and Boca Grande are a waste of calories. Yes, I love me some Tacos Lupita, but it seems a waste to get a burrito there, when there so many other tasty treats.

                        1. re: MB fka MB

                          Put it this way, Anna's and Boca are the closest thing *by far* I found to a Mission style burrito in over 15 years of living on the East Coast (MA, NY, DC, CT). For Bay Area expats hungering for a taste of home, those are the places to go.

                          I agree re sticking with the tacos at Tacos Lupita, who I seem to recall putting niblets in their burrito rice. Feh!

                          1. re: a_and_w

                            that's because Anna's and Boca owners are cousins with the Gordo's owners in SF... i grew up on Gordos... though Gordo's isn't so popular these days it seems

                            1. re: tibizzers

                              that's wild, i never knew that. i went to gordo in sf with a friend who grew up in cambridge and we couldn't BELIEVE how similar it was to annas/boca. funny. really interesting that the folsk who own anna's and boca are related too...

                            2. re: a_and_w

                              Wow, I could hardly disagree with the analogy more. Anna's and BG are both so lacking IMHO, so bland, dull; it makes me listless even thinking about them. But a Mission style burrito, now that's something worth traveling I'd travel for. It's a given that nothing around compares to California Mexican food (SoCal or Mission style), but Anna's and BG seem about as far as one could get. At least Felipe's is on the same continuum.

                              1. re: chilibaby

                                I don't know what to tell you...I cut my teeth on La Cumbre's carne asada in the Mission. You're entitled to your opinion re taste, but a "Mission style" burrito is clearly what Anna's and Boca serve. As tibizzers correctly notes, they're related to the Gordo's folks who own a number of taquerias in the Bay Area.

                                PS: How long has Felipe's been around? I don't remember that being an option when I lived in the area and I'm pretty burrito obsessed.

                                PPS: I currently live in LA and would kill for even one place that does a true "Mission style" burrito. You'd be surprised how elusive they are...

                                1. re: a_and_w

                                  Fair enough, I probably went to Gordo twice - always thought it was bland, and now I understand better about the comparison. I guess I discounted the place as an anomaly in a city with copious delicious burritos, so I wouldn't put La Cumbre in the same class. I think of "Mission style" burritos to like those, or ones from Farolito, or maybe Cancun in Berkeley too. Anyway, I haven't found rivals here, in large part due to the blandness and lack of outstanding salsa/ hot sauce.

                                  I think Felipe's has been around 2 or 3 years. It's not great, but at least you can get decent hot sauce and some Mexican lime slices.

                                  1. re: chilibaby

                                    felipe has been around about 2-3 years like a&w says... felipe was the main guy who ran all of the Anna's stores... he used to run the harvard street one when i lived there in the late 90's. all of the recipes at felipe's and anna's are virtually the same. it's all one big, and apparently not-so-happy family

                                    1. re: chilibaby

                                      Mission style-Missing? The fresh cut salsa laced with jalapenos option, for sure!
                                      Pure guacamole(not blended w/ other items)...
                                      Don't get me started on lack of real corn tortilla flavor, lacking in the tacos here...

                                      I'm a Pancho-Villa Veggie burrito kind a guy...

                          2. re: a_and_w

                            to each his own i guess. personally, i think anna's is terribly inconsistent and mediocre. i believe they've become complacent over the years. i've been to chipotle (in DC) a few times and was happy with the product. granted...i'll still go to tacos lupita (best al pastor) any day of the week over both anna's and chipotle. a little competition in the davis/porter area is always welcome.

                            1. re: jackal

                              It's possible they've become complacent -- my last experience was 5 or 6 years ago. To be honest, I was never a fan of Lupita because I'm a burrito guy, but I missed Anna's and Boca the entire time I lived in NY, where Chipotle was the best option available.

                            2. re: a_and_w

                              I have to disagree with the positive opinions (to each his/her own, of course!) Anna's and Boca's burritos are truly like eating cardboard to me. Zero flavor, poorly constructed, just a poor excuse for a burrito. I truly can't understand the fascination. Chipotle, on the hand, is very consistent, delicious, and I have zero complaints!

                            3. This thread is pretty hilarious given that Chipotle was started by McDonald's and spun off a few years ago (with Mickey D's being the main shareholder) and that Qdoba is owned by Jack-in-the-Box. Anna's is local. Boca Grande is local.

                              Having eaten at Anna's and Boca in the past 3 weeks, I can say the burritos have not shrunk and aren't tasteless. It's amazing that small differences in the taste of a burrito from one place to another evoke such extreme reactions. I ate a fish burrito from El Pelon yesterday and it was good, shaped a little different than an Anna's or Boca burrito so it could appear either larger or smaller depending on your perspective - it was more rectangular like a Qdoba burrito. Since each burrito at each place is made by an individual, some may be rolled tighter but that doesn't mean that one burrito is the restaurant's standard.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: lergnom

                                {-- don't mean to only post about Chipotle's! --}

                                Just to clarify, the chain wasn't started by McDonalds. It wasn't until after the chain did remarkably well in the Denver metro region that McDonalds joined as a major investor. As a former Denverite, I can vouch that while they may be a corporate entity now, their food still is just as good as when it wasn't.

                                And I've _really_ tried to like Anna's and Boca, but am just not tasting the complexity of flavor and freshness there that I get from a Chipotle's burrito.... I will keep hunting for a suitable replacement, however, at least until Chipotle opens somewhere south of Davis!

                                1. re: lergnom

                                  Chipotle ownership/backing isn't a secret. And local isn't always better:
                                  http://www.dol.gov/esa/media/press/wh...

                                  1. re: lergnom

                                    Chipotle was not started by McDonald's, but rather Steve Ells, a CIA-trained chef. Later, McDonald's bought varying degrees of interest in the organization until, yes, it was majority owner. Just because McD's buys into a successful chain (and then spins-off) does not make the place bad. Ells has done a good job with the chain. McD's completely divested its shares recently, although it did give McD shareholders a discount to trade/purchase McDs stock for Chipotle stock.

                                    http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/...

                                    Personally, I don't think there is enough of a difference in taste to warrant an argument between the two, supposedly mission-style burritos. Anna's are fine as are Chipotle's; neither are great by any means. I'd rather have tacos or a torta from Lupita any day.

                                    1. re: PaulB

                                      I wouldn't say the Anna's burrito has shrunk over time. It's always been small. As I mentioned elsewhere on this thread, I grew up in Denver and was a longtime customer of Chipotle there (way pre-McDonalds, and I agree, the food has not changed much if at all since their buy in). When I moved here nine years ago I went to Anna's, ordered a super burrito, and was shocked that not only was I able to finish it, but I probably could have also eaten a taco or two. Absolutely no comparison, size-wise to the massive Chipotle burritos. And certainly no match taste-wise, either.

                                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                        I hear you (which is why I always favored Picante across the street and later Lupita), and I know it depends on the maker behind the counter but I still believe their super is less of a meal even compared to what it was just a few years ago.

                                        Anna's has its place of course but it still pains me to see it viewed outside CH as the preeminent burrito destination.

                                        1. re: PaulB

                                          Wow...I thought Picante was awful. The tortillas are way too thick, the rice is tasteless, the beans are too gooey, and as I recall, you have to eat them with a knife and fork.

                                      2. re: lergnom

                                        The key difference is that Anna's and (I think) Boca steam the tortilla with cheese inside. The main problem with Chipotle burritos is the awful tortilla, which has to be super thick to prevent breakage because they don't steam. Also, the cheese never melts and the resulting burrito is cold with poor ingredient dispersion. Then there's the pintos, which are the wrong consistency -- not quite whole, not quite refried. Finally, this is just picking nits, but burrito rice should be orange!

                                      3. my problem with Ana's and Boca is the quality of the meat. I found the chicken at Ana's to be barely passable and the steak at Boca to be extremely fatty. I know they are $3 burritos but I rather pay $5 and get some quality meat. The one time I tried Chipotle I had the Carnitas and it was far and away better quality than anything I have ever had at Ana's or Boca.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Gordough

                                          The carnitas and chicken are great, but the steak tends to be gristly at Chipotle.

                                          1. re: a_and_w

                                            But the barbacoa is good. Tender, yummy beef.

                                            I much prefer the cleaner flavors at Chipotle to Anna's etc. Back when I was in the Bay Area, I didn't love Gordo's either...