Now look, I realize that this a bit of a touchy subject, but I am going to bring it up because 1) my position needs some clarification and 2) some of you guys are either out of your minds or are seriously misguided. Over the course of the last several years, no question has loomed larger amongst my group of friends here in Raleigh. No issue has caused more tension. No topic has been more hotly debated. For the most part, the debate has remained civil, save the time Daniel Renstrom punched me in the face over it. We all go to the one we like best; choosing our favorite on our own accord. And, accordingly, the debate rages on in hopes that some kind of accord can be reached on on the issue at hand: who makes a better burrito?!?!!?
First, some background. I am uniquely qualified to pass judgment on this issue. My Latin-American heritage provides daily insight into the world of Mexican food. I grew up eating all kinds of spicy peppers, beans, meat, hominy and plantains (See…you don’t even know what those last two things are do you?….DO YOU?!?!!?!?). My grandmother cooks the stuff better than any restaurant I have ever been to. In short, I know good stuff when I see it. I am not saying that you don’t. I am just saying that, compared to me, you really don’t. Further, as anyone who knows me will attest, my experience is nothing short of vast. Since I moved to Raleigh, I have eaten at El Rodeo precisely 1,017 times. (A quick aside…at ten bucks a visit…that’s more than $10,000…wow). All this to say, I know what I am talking about.
Now, I am going to narrow this debate down to only two real competitors. Qdoba, God love ’em. They are trying hard. They start off in the hole because of their name. What the heck does “Qdoba” mean anyway? Not to be overlooked is that they do make some awesome Queso. And it’s true, Qdoba does make a good burrito. But do they make the cut? My friend Enzor will hate me for this, but not in my book and my book is the only book that matters.
So, we are down to Moe’s and Chipotle. How about a quick run-down of each….yes??…ok then…
How can you not love Moe’s. They are so friendly (WELCOME TO MOEE’SSS!!!). They have really creative names for their food: the Homewrecker, the Ugly Naked Guy, the Full Monty, the Art Vandalay (THESE PRETZELS ARE MAKING ME THIRSTY!!!) and my personal favorite, the Joey Bag of Doughnuts. You get free chips with anything that you buy. The queso is decent. The cheese is yellow (who knows what kind it is). The salsa is lacking. The meat is sub par. The chicken is watery. The beef can, at times, be chewy. The beans are not bad. The cookies are good. And best of all, when you have to sign your credit card receipt, all the pens are sitting in that plastic cup with the uncooked rice….pretty awesome. And they have root beer.
So how about Chipotle. Less friendly. No creative names. No free chips. No queso. GREAT salsa. White cheese (again..no idea what kind). The meat is awesome. Chicken is chopped and seasoned. The beans are soft and tasty. The meat; seasoned to perfection and as tender as….well…something really tender. No cookies (lame). No pens in rice (also lame). Note, however, they too have root beer.
So how is one to decide?! Well friends, as the expert in all foods Mexican, let me tell you that burritos are serious business. When you go somewhere to get one, your priorities need to be right. You should be there for one reason only; to get a great burrito. You see, to eat one when its good, when its spicy, when your nose is running, when you need several refills of root beer, when you are not distracted by chips and cookies, when the meat is neatly chopped and seasoned, the beans are soft and tasty; yes, eating a good burrito is hard work, but having eaten a good burrito is nothing short of divine. For all of these reasons, the winner is, unequivocally, Chipotle. Moe’s is good. Nay, that is an injustice. Moe’s is great. But it’s too pop. They know they have an inferior product, so they jazz it up with cool names and boisterous greetings and pens in rice. All of these things are designed to distract you from the fact that they lack one thing: a kick-tail burrito. Chipotle just has better ingredients. That’s all there is to it. Moe’s is good, but if you want the real deal, it has to be Chipotle.
I hope that the masses will rest easy tonight knowing that the great controversy of our generation has been settled. If you think I am an idiot, leave me a comment and let me know. If you think Moe’s is better, leave me a comment and let me know. If you think the Armadillo Grill should have been included in this, leave me a comment and let me know. If you know what kind of cheese Moe’s or Chipotle has, leave me a comment and let me know, and if you want to go to El Rodeo, leave me a comment and let me know. I can be there in about three and a half minutes.