29 August 2008

A Tale of Two Meals

It was the best of food, it was the worst of food for lunch this week.

I blew off work for most of Tuesday and met up with pal, Reya, at Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar on Capitol Hill. In addition to enjoying good company, I thought the food and wine were perfect, light, flavorful, and nuanced. I was pleased with the service, the presentation and the setting, too.

Then, Wednesday, a group of us went out to lunch for someone's birthday. The birthday babe had the choice of any place in the area and the rest of us would pick up the tab. Any place at all. Her pick. Total free will. [You may note that I can not stress this enough.]

She chose... (wait for it...)


Fast food. I say, if you want Mexican food, that's great. Pick a real Mexican restaurant. But, no. She wanted McDonald's version of Mexican food. I couldn't begin to tell you why.

Here's what my lunch looked like:

Except this picture is 1/1,000,000th the actual size. Chipotle makes burritos the size of Canada. Maybe bigger. The choice of ingredients was mine, so I can't entirely blame Chipotle. It tasted fresh. It looked colorful. The plating left a little to be desired (foil, wax paper, plastic basket) and the wine choice... well...

Sadly, ultimately, I have no one but myself to blame because I knew the Chipotle experience. I knew, dammit! And, still, I ate that entire burrito, Vancouver and all.*

Why? Because it was in front of me. Pretty weak defense, I know.

The rest of the day was spent in regret. I felt like this:

but not as fetching.** The dinner hour came and went and I wanted nothing. Nothing... but to be free of the Chipotle experience then and always.


* Vancouver makes it tangy.

** My come hither look can not compete.


Anonymous said...

Oh I am familiar with the Chipotle hangover. That hurts. You can right this wrong when it's your birthday you choose the lunch place.

Reya Mellicker said...

OMG that lunch is disgusting. It looks like something you'd find in the back of a biology lab refrigerator. Yuck!

I used to tell people it was OK to bring any kind of music they wanted to listen to during massage ... until someone brought in a Kenny G CD.

From that moment on, I never ever gave a client that kind of leeway.

Gilahi said...

I've eaten at Chipotle exactly once. For lunch. I spent the rest of the day and much of that night in agony. Now I feel a bit nauseated whenever I just drive past one. Never again.

zandria said...

I go to the Chipotle on King St in Old Town sometimes because it's a great people-watching location. I get the burrito bowl...not bad if you don't eat the entire thing. Definitely not something I'd choose for my "if you could have anything" birthday dinner, though!

Bilbo said...

Well, heck - I like Chipotle. But I guess I'll never change... ;-)

WordNerd said...

I've never been to Chipotle because you're right -- it does strike me as the McDonald's of Mexican food. If you really need Mexican fast food that's vaguely authentic, try Baja Fresh. Their carnitas are pretty close to the real thing. As for an authentic restaurant, I've found I have to hit the Colorado border before finding anything that resembles Mom's cookin' in the States.

Mike said...

mexican food = military intelligence

Kate said...

There's a place in Des Moines that spouts they have burritos as big as your head. And it is so. And I've eaten one. I've never been to Chipotle, but I will NEVER ever again eat a burrito or anything Mexican that is bigger than my head.

Herb of DC said...

I love Chipotle but I agree with Zandria above and get the burrito bowl.

lacochran said...

CharlotteHarris: True. And I can simply refuse to go to Chipotle ever again.

Reya Melliker: Kenny G! Ew.

Gilahi: Yeah, not pretty.

Zandria: Right? A birthday lunch is a chance to get something really good!

Bilbo & Herb of DC: Enjoy your Chipotle. Have mine.

Wordnerd: Actually, I was being literal. McDonalds owns Chipotle. They are one and the same.

Mike: Slamming Mexicans and the military in one strike. Ouch. I've been to Mexico numerous times and always enjoyed the food.

Kate: I think that "nothing bigger than your head" philosophy is a good one and should probably not be limited to Mexican food.