"[C]ritics Casey Deeha, Chipp Oatlay, Sal Savirdy and 'El Presidente Mole' promise to provide 'not merely a description of burritos, but a more writerly experience that gives the attention to burritos that they deserve.' Yep. You heard it here, folks. - Jay Barmann, SF Grubfest
"[Casey Deeha] also thinks it could be a matter of cultural heritage and sense of place why a Mission-style burrito is thought to taste the best in San Francisco." - Tamara Palmer, Zagat
"Bay Area Review of Burritos -a must read for anyone remotely interested in foil-wrapped tube food" - Kevin Montgomery, Up Town Almanac
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Chipotle, Lakeshore Ave, Oakland
Written by Casey Deeha
Let's be honest - a good burrito is subjective and is based on one's personal selection of ingredients.
For all intents and purposes, Chipotle, as a franchise, plays upon this simple fact and has been successful to brand this to the masses. It is for this reason, that any Chipotle I walk into, I can't help but feel like a banal cow wandering with the herd within a rather large cattle farm - there is a sense of independence, but it is certainly manufactured and my impending future is burgers, steaks and death.
At Chipotle, Oakland, I entered the urban sleek metal clattering with this in mind and despite the well mannered and tattooed staff that has become emblematic of the understated stylish folk of 'Oaktown', I knew that no amount of personality would change the homogenous character of my imminent burrito.
I went with the ubiquitous benchmark of a burrito - the veggie burrito - a fundamental denominator of the burrito family tree. With black beans, guacamole, lettuce, brown rice, salsa fresca, cheese, sour cream and a tortilla which leaned on the side of healthy wheat, I attempted to wipe my mind of a preface that has become habitual when eating at Chipotle - I wanted a fresh and pseudo-un-biased experience. With this - I bit once and then again with the Chipotle 'wannabetabasco' sauce and was met with an affirmation - Banality. A flavorlesness that said: 'We are trying to take the otherwise unhealthy perspective of a grease-ridden burrito and making it digestible for the otherwise health conscious young demographic of the West Coast but ending with mediocrity.
Needless to say, I finished the burrito like the cow wandering into a black void and thought that the personalization of a burrito is a packaged experience at this and perhaps any Chipotle, which is punctuated by the pushy cow-like march through the line where a thousand Chipotle staff shout at you for the sake of expediency.
I hate being a cow. I love being a cow.
Salsa rating: mildly bland