For a high school student on a budget, in West Hartford, without a car, and craving a burrito bowl, options are pretty limited. That’s why I started going to Chipotle: it was convenient, easy, and cheap. But after the first time I tasted the miracle of flavor that is Chipotle, I was hooked.
I quickly became addicted, often going weekly. However, when my bank account dipped alarmingly low, I knew that I had to change something, or my favorite pastime would become unsustainable.
So, like any student of any craft, I began researching. I watched videos with titles like “Five Hacks to Save Money at Chipotle!” and read articles that promised to teach me how to get the most value for my money.
Most of this educational content fell flat, but a few tips were life-changing. Now, I never go to Chipotle without ordering a tortilla on the side to create my own burrito out of my bowl.
The veggie burrito bowl is my go-to order at Chipotle.
Ordering is a high-pressure event, as the employees pile ingredients into my bowl at a rapid speed.
Nonetheless, it brings me joy to race along with them, exclaiming, “White rice! Pinto beans! Lettuce, pico, sour cream, cheese, and corn!”
When my bowl reaches the end of the line, I pay (a reasonable seven dollars for a bowl that will last me two meals) and grab the cardboard vessel, the bottom warm from the freshly cooked beans.
I sit down at a small metal table — the decor in the restaurant is decidedly modern and minimalist, with wood chairs accompanying sleek overhead lighting. Then, I dig in.
Each ingredient dazzles on its own, but the beauty in a Chipotle burrito bowl is the melding of the flavors.
The beans, the basis of my vegetarian meal, are slightly spicy when I eat them alone, but paired with Chipotle’s signature cilantro-lime rice, the spice and herbs balance each other out.
The sour cream pools on the side of the bowl, forming tangy puddles that provide the perfect counterbalance to the spice of the pico de gallo.
The lettuce is crisp, the only crunchy element in the bowl. And the melting cheese is the glue that holds the meal together.
Each ingredient is the perfect companion for the others, forming a colorful and delicious dinner.
The meal is outstanding eaten alone, with only a fork and a side of corn salsa sprinkled on top to add a sweet element.
But the ideal way to eat the dish is using the side of tortilla I mentioned earlier.
In the veggie bowl, the beans are all in the middle while the outside edges of the bowl are occupied by plain rice with a few shreds of cheese. I use the tortilla to make my own burrito, placing forkfuls of rice, beans, and each of the other toppings into the shell until I reach the perfect ratio.
This way, I know my meal will be exactly how I like it, and I save the rest of my veggie bowl for lunch the next day. I always leave Chipotle in a better mood than I arrived in.
I eat a lot of Mexican food, and authentic Chipotle is not. But they know that.
The restaurant is, in many ways, self-aware. It knows that no one is expecting a full and complex meal with mole sauce.
It doesn’t pretend to care about the culture its menu is plagiarized from. I don’t go to Chipotle to eat Mexican food.
I go to Chipotle to eat a vaguely Mexican veggie bowl. And damn it, they give it to me.
Chipotle is easily accesible for many Kingswood Oxford students. You can go after practice or a game and still make it back in time for when your parents pick you up.
It is located in West Hartford Center, so it is also walking distance for those who cannot drive. Chipotle also caters to events such as form gatherings at Kingswood Oxford. You can contact Chipotle at 860-586-8281and locate them at 996 Farminton Avenue, West Hartford, Conn.