***Disclosure: I received complimentary product to facilitate my review. No other compensation has been provided, and all opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
Okay, so who made Elsa mad again? Here in Ohio, the weather has been interesting, to say the least. We had a pretty active winter, complete with tons and tons of snow and ice, as well as bone-chilling temperatures. I thought Spring was finally here, but it seems this is not the case. Right now, as I gaze out the window, I see about a billion snowflakes falling. Wonderful. Elsa, you can cut it out now, woman! (Can you tell I am fed up with winter? I am scolding a fictional Ice Queen.)
Anyway, when seasonal changes begin, it usually makes me sick. Literally. Flip-flopping between nicer days and frigid days truly messes with my system. Not to mention, all of the spring pollens, rainstorms, and other things that cause my defective sinuses to go haywire. So this time of year, there are definitely days that the last thing I want to do is head to the kitchen to prepare a meal for my family. This is saying a lot, since I absolutely love cooking!
Yesterday was especially rough on me. I was sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and basically felt like a semi-truck ran me over...twice. I totally blame the weather. Anyway, around 4:30, everyone in our house was starving. Since the hubby and the kids claim to be completely helpless and don't know their way around the kitchen, that left feeding everyone up to me. As usual. Obviously, I didn't feel like cooking, so I started looking for a solution that satisfied everyone's hunger but didn't leave me riddled with "Mommy Guilt."
I have to admit, I generally avoid fast food places like the plague. Those golden arches we all know so well? Well, I won't step foot under them. The same goes for most of their competitors. I worry about what ingredients go into my childrens' bodies, and I just don't trust menu items that read more like science experiments than real food. The way I see it, if I can't pronounce it or determine what an ingredient even IS, chances are, I shouldn't be eating it or feeding it to my family.
That's why I was SO incredibly thrilled when a brand new Chipotle opened up here in town. It was actually a HUGE deal in my city. You see, we have a shopping area, Portage Crossing, that has been in the process of being developed for years now. Every time you drove by, all that could be seen was construction. (This really annoyed residents, by the way. I could sit down with a bowl of popcorn and entertain myself for hours by reading related threads in our local Facebook groups.) Finally, over the past few months, businesses have been opening their doors, and our community has some wonderful new shops and restaurants to enjoy. One of which just happens to be my favorite, Chipotle! Hooray!
Yes, I know. I just denounced fast food in general. And now I am praising Chipotle, which many consider "fast food". Chipotle is different, though. In a good way. Sure, you can run to Chipotle and grab a quick meal. They're actually lightning fast, especially considering that their dishes are made to order.The food you will receive, though, is actually FOOD.
Did you know that the folks at Chipotle actually care about what they're feeding their customers? That's right! Chipotle is committed to quality. Here are some quick facts about Chipotle that you may not have known:
So naturally, for these reasons, I don't view Chipotle as your typical "fast food" joint. I like to think of them as real food, really fast. They are literally one of the only places I can take my kids without worrying about whether or not I am unknowingly feeding them something toxic. I wish more restaurants would follow Chipotle's good example!
Recently, I learned about Chipotle's Picky Eater Challenge, and I couldn't wait to see how MY picky eaters would fare. All 3 of my kids have their "food quirks", and it's often hard to make them all happy while eating out. I was pretty confident that everyone would be able to find something to suit their tastes at Chipotle, so we headed on over to find out.
Since I felt like death warmed over, I decided to utilize Chipotle's online ordering system and just send the hubby out into the rain to pick it up. I didn't feel like taking off my footie pajamas or giving up my blanket if I didn't absolutely need to. Yes, I am whiny and annoying when I don't feel well!
Ordering online was super-easy, and was a fun, family affair. Chipotle's menu may look small, but looks are definitely deceiving in this case. While the main players are Burritos, Tacos, Burrito Bowls, and Salads, these dishes are completely customizable. You get to choose which ingredients you want, and the possibilities are endless. Oh, they also offer kids meals, too!
So what did we order?
I chose to try an order of the hard tacos. This is the only thing that I hadn't tried before, and I was just in a taco mood. I got black beans, lime cilantro white rice with extra cilantro, chicken, and some of their awesome steak. I did order cheese, but somehow, this was left off. My salsa was left off as well. I pouted a little, since I absolutely love cheese above all other foods in the universe, and then headed to the fridge and added my own. Problem solved. These tacos were absolutely delicious, and a definite step up in flavor from that taco place that shall not be named.
My oldest son and husband ordered a burrito. Again, for some reason, there was no cheese to be found on either of their burritos.. (I chalk this up to the fact that this is a brand new location and I am sure the employees are still learning the ropes.)
My husband chose to get the spicy Barboaca filling with rice, black beans, and hot tomatillo red chili salsa. He likes things spicy enough to "make his eyebrows sweat", and this definitely did the trick! He ate the whole massive burrito in about 4 minutes. I guess he was super hungry! Or maybe the food was just that darn good.
My 15 year old, Kyle, isn't a fan of heat. He got a chicken burrito and loaded it up with romaine lettuce, black beans, rice, and guacamole. Now if you've never had Chipotle, let me tell you, their burritos are very large. Very. My teen devoured his, and then begged us for any leftovers we may have. He raved about how good it was!
My 4 and 5 year olds tend to have smaller appetites than the men in my life, so they decided to share a Burrito Bowl. This is basically everything you would stuff into a burrito, but without the tortilla. This is especially good for those watching their carb intake. Sophie and Xander got corn salsa, romaine lettuce, chicken, rice, black beans, sour cream, and guacamole. And this time, they remembered the cheese! Hooray! Me, Dan, and Kyle can survive with missing cheese, but the wee beasties might have had a meltdown. So seeing the cheese made me breathe a HUGE sigh of relief!
As you can see, my picky eaters are quite content at the kiddie table with their delicious burrito bowl. Sophie and Xander picked at it a bit, just to make sure there wasn't anything "yucky" in it, and then they went to town on it. These little kids ate and ate, and then ate some more. Eventually, their bowl was empty, their bellies were full, and they were ready to settle down for a movie. I can't say I blame them! After such a great meal, I don't want to bounce off the walls, either! The stomach needs time to settle, after all.
Overall, I was pretty happy with our experience at the brand new Chipotle at Portage Crossing in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Ordering was simple and convenient, and our food was all ready to go by our designated pick up time. Dan didn't even have to wait in line. He simply went to the counter, and they handed him our food. The food was tasty, filling, and full of the vibrant, fresh flavors this chain is so well known for.
Yes, they forgot the cheese on most of our items, but it seemed to be a very busy afternoon, and like I said, It's a brand new location, and I totally understand that it takes time to get things to run perfectly smoothly all the time. I forgive them, and I will absolutely be back.
I am so happy to have a faster food option that I can feel good about. From their sustainable, eco-friendly practices to the high quality ingredients, Chipotle is one place that is definitely doing it right. And the lack of "Mommy Guilt" is definitely an added bonus, too.
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I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud Mom of 3 amazing kids. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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