"[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

Monday, May 13, 2013

Chipotle, South Shore Mall, Alameda

Written by Casey Deeha

Why I'm choosing to review Chipotle in Alameda is really beyond me - as an intentionally homogenous chain they really aren't much different from each other. You could perhaps read my review of Chipotle in Oakland to get a drift as to how Chipotle makes me feel like a cow wandering in a slaughter house. Either way, it's another taqueria so why not.

If anything, Chipotle's existence in Alameda could be seen as representative of the inevitability of what Capitalism breeds. Taking Alameda, once a resort town in the early 20th century, one can really see this development - driving along the breadth of the island, you can witness this capitalist evolution through the architecture as the houses evolve from grandiose mock Victorian summer houses to 50s and 60s apartment complexes created by a Utah construction company who were also responsible for the lagoons. Of course, a transition from wealthy Victorian housing to a more suburban-style tract housing may not necessarily be emblematic of any capital pursuits, but perhaps over population and changing trends. The South Shore Mall, however, certainly falls within this category. With many of the well known chains - T.J. Maxx, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Dress Barn, Old Navy, Payless Shoes, and Ross - the capital gavel has been struck. And with Chipotle's presence, South Shore only cements itself as a the source of mass commodification in Alameda.

Stepping into the Chipotle is similar to stepping into the Matrix (more like part three) where I questioned the reality of anything. Once again, I was moved through the very long line at Chipotle like cattle only to be met with the familiar militaristic shouting by the so-called burrito makers. To make a long story short, I doused my burrito in salsa hoping to give it some familiar Mexican-like-happiness but no luck. The burrito was dry and very disappointing.

What's slightly more shocking is my view. I eat my burrito on the Chipotle patio overlooking the mass of Shorline Mall that has come to dominate this part of the island in relation to what was once here: a summer resort town where young strong swimmers used to swim around the guarding wall in order to lap up the luxury of the more affluent beach goers. And while I am pleased to see the dissemination of wealth coming from such class differentiation, commodification of our weekendly pursuits only places us, once again, in the hands of those few who control it.

On weekends, however, there is section of the parking lot dedicated to culinary food trucks - it looks much more inviting and, if my burrito senses serve me correctly, I sensed foiled tubes somewhere in there and will certainly return to more brightly color my perception of the South Shore mall.

I'm bantering on. Don't go to Chipotle; the burritos are a far cry from where they cam from.

Salsa Rating: Mildly Cold

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