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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

An Unsolicited Endorsement

I think we can agree that I should be bringing my lunch to work on a daily basis, but I rarely do. I would like to point out, however, in my defense, that I do manage to both pack my yoga bag AND dress myself most mornings (although I did discover a missing button on the way to work today) and therefore have at least that going for me.

But my pride in being fully dressed and semi-alert in the morning? These things mean nothing at 11:30, when I am ready for lunch. As Scarlett O’Hara said in Gone With The Wind, pride only tastes good when covered with meringue.

Couldn’t have a can of soup waiting in a desk drawer, could I? Ohhh, nooooo. Couldn’t have packed up whatever was the most recent leftover and shoved it in this over-sized valise I call a purse, could I? There I am, all smug and secure in my my-clothes-are-all-relatively-clean world only to find that my clean undies will not feed me over the lunch hour.

And I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere; but it’s just too easy, isn’t it?

But that’s not why I’m here today. I’m here today to expound on my new favorite place: Chipotle’s. And believe me when I tell you that I WISH someone at McDonald’s – isn’t it owned by McDonald’s? – had asked me to do this because that would imply that there would be money involved later or, at the very least, gift certificates…

What can I tell you about my love for Chipotle’s? What makes it so good? Is it the marriage of rice and cilantro? The piquant dance of flavor that is the fresh salsa? Is it the lovely bits of fat you find still clinging wistfully to the carnitas? The ingredients are the stuff of dreams!

I got my love of well-prepared food from my parents. My parents were/are excellent cooks. As a child, everything but the bowl of vanilla ice cream my father had every night before bed was made from scratch, a source of irritation to us kids’ junk-food cravin’ souls. The kids across the street had kitchens full of sugar-frosted breakfast cereals, beef stew in cans, frozen TV dinners while we complained bitterly over the fresh, home-made meals they forced on us. And so it was that I grew up with the legend of the Big Mac, the Whopper.

I remember my first fast food experience. I know I was at least in 8th, maybe 9th grade. I don’t recall the why but I recall the what: a Big Mac. Perhaps it was my father’s first time, too. “Mmm,” he said, chewing slowly, thoughtfully assessing it. “Knowing, yet innocent. An insouciant, jaunty and carefree blend of flavors with just a hint of crap.”

And yet! And yet, from the corporation that brought us the Big Mac, shakes that never truly melt so much as they gel, and chicken bits that don’t taste like chicken bits, we get Chipotle’s with its organically raised meats, fresh guacamole (bless you, my fast-food-working friends) and fax-ahead lunch orders. It makes your head spin.

So yeah. I’m going to Chipotle’s, as I do at least once a week, for lunch. And please – please! – if you happen to know something bad about Chipotle’s? Don’t tell me. A gal needs her dreams.

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