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Chipotle Remix

08/08/2010

Has someone ever described to you the perfect food but you don’t live close enough to try it?  Mine was CHIPOTLE!

America's Mexican Grill

Not a single one within 100 miles. Friends tortured me with tales of great cilantro lime rice, perfect tortilla chips, creamy guacamole and burritos the size of your head.  Oh the burritos.  I’m a sucker for anything thrown in a tortilla and wrapped up.  The perfect portable food.

In seminary we wen into NYC for ministry opportunities and church (only a 30 minute drive).  Awesome enough because I love the City, the experience was intensified 10x by the CHIPOTLE around the corner from The Salvation Army on 14th street.  Every trip I ate dinner in CHIPOTLE ordering a head-sized burrito, alternating between the various meat options.

This is half!

No CHIPOTLE meal is complete without the chips, multiple salsas and guac.

(Source)

Today I discovered the chips alone were two servings and more calories/points than I consume in one meal…let alone as a side dish.  They were so good dipped in the burrito after I ripped a hole in the top and poured on the extra salsa and guac.  Pure heaven.

CHIPOTLE and I had a falling out.  I was tempted to eat there every trip to the City but never feeling good after.  The flavors were divine but I left so stuffed I had to unzip my skirt and unbutton my  jacket so I could breathe.  Completely uncomfortable.  Ugh!  That feeling would last all evening and sometimes I woke up still full. I called it the CHIPOTLE hangover.  Finally I’d had enough!  I sent CHIPOTLE a Dear John letter and walked away to a make your own salad place.

I didn’t look back.  It would have been too painful.  I loved CHIPOTLE despite how it hurt me.  The smell of cilantro would have been enough to lure me back in.

I was good for over 3 years…then one opened in the nearby Albany area.  Oh boy…not good.  I drive that road at least twice a month and dream of stopping.  The only thing stopping me is the fact that Hunni hates CHIPOTLE…with an ever-burning passion.  Becoming a vegetarian made it easier to not darken those doors…my favorite filling was Carnitas.  (Just a fun CHIPOTLE fact…they are committed to “Food with Integrity.”  Their food is high quality, organic and as local as possible.  No sacrifice in quality for price.  This principle made me love CHIPOTLE even more if that was possible. The founder discussed his philosophy on Oprah.)

 

Food with Integrity described on the menu.

Yet today I became friends again with CHIPOTLE…in a healthy way.  My friends Heather and Toby were in the area visiting so Chelle and I met them at the new location for a nice lunch.  I was prepared.  I had looked at the CHIPOTLE Nutrition Fact Calculator to make a filling meal that wasn’t the size of my head.  The calorie counts are also located on the local menus because the restaurant is in NY.  I love New York 🙂

Here are my fun tips to a CHIPOTLE remix…feeling satisfied, not stuffed.  Instead of the head-size burrito check out the other main options.  Same choice of ingredients without the huge flour tortilla you can’t taste.

I ordered the burrito bowl because I love the burrito insides and I’m sure the chipotle-honey vinaigrette would have twisted my IBS stomach.  I asked for half the rice…same lovely cilantro-lime flavor without the extra calories.  One more grain of rice and I would have been stuffed.

Choose your protein wisely. All are yummy…trust me I’ve tried.  Menu descriptions are deceiving.  You’d think the grilled chicken or steak or braised carnitas (pork) would be your best bet…but you’d be wrong.  Hand over your money 😀  Barbacoa is the best option unless you go with the beans.  I chose the beans of course…black to be precise but the pinto are just as delicious.

The fun is in all the sauces and toppings.  CHIPOTLE offers several different salsa choices for little calories with lots of flavors.  My favorites are the Roasted Chili-Corn and Fresh Tomato.

Be very careful with the other toppings.  Cheese, sour cream, and guacamole can add a hefty amount of calories to your meal…holy moly guacamole.  My dairy restrictions made the choice easy…I went for the guac.  It’s best to choose one of the three.  Ask for smaller portions if you must have them all.  They are fairly heavy-handed with these toppings…not that I’m complaining.

The CHIPOTLE menu offers lots of other extras and drinks you won’t find at a normal fast food place.

I’ve heard good mexican food needs a margarita but I’m okay without it…okay I don’t drink alcohol anyway.  I’d rather eat my calories/points than drink them.  Instead I asked for water and added some lemons.  If you want the tortilla chips (I know some cannot enter CHIPOTLE without grabbing some of their salty lime goodness) remember the bag serves 2 not 1.  Very deceiving because they give you one bag and I don’t like to share my food…MINE, DON’T TOUCH!

Putting these techniques into practice this was my masterpiece…

Just look at the guac!

That green goodness on top reminded me a lot of Mama Pea’s version of CHIPOTLE.  It only looked so pretty for a second…then I smooshed it all together and inhaled savoured every bite.

You can opt for one of the kids menu options but most kids meals aren’t any better than the adult counterparts.  In fact some can be worse.

Being able to enjoy foods that make you happy is important to Healthy Living instead of dieting.  I’m glad that CHIPOTLE have made up and have a healthy, satisfying relationship instead of the abusive one we once shared.

Have you reworked your favorite foods to make them healthier?

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. 08/08/2010 9:17 AM

    So glad that you were able to enjoy one of your favorites without feeling yucky afterwards!

    • 08/08/2010 9:36 AM

      So am I. It was such a nice change of place from the good food/bad food mentality I used to employ.

  2. 08/08/2010 10:15 AM

    I was never a fan of Chipotle until my husband introduced me to the amazing fact that they will make anything they have the ingredients for – doesn’t matter if it is on the menu or not. Just feel like one soft taco? They can deal with that. Want rice and lettuce, no prob. Means I’m able to get the size meal I want. Now I’m a total convert.

  3. 08/08/2010 10:57 AM

    that was a good idea…and I”m the same with my food…it’s mine don’t touch

  4. 08/08/2010 12:05 PM

    It’s always nice when you can eat what you love without overdoing it or feeling bad afterwards. I definitely try to do that when I’m eating at some of my favorite places.

    Chipotle is awesome! I haven’t eaten there nearly enough!

    • 08/08/2010 2:37 PM

      I love that too! I really want to eat at Chipotle more now that I know it is so yummy and healthy.

  5. 08/08/2010 4:11 PM

    Haha, this post is too funny/too true. I have never had a love/hate relationship with chipotle simply because I would rather cook my own food most of the time but their burritos are so good. There is one four blocks from me by my dorm/school; some kids practically live off it. If I do go I get the burrito bowl or I have a big burrito as a treat, but only once a year or so. I like making mexican at home — it’s pretty easy and you know exactly what and how much food is in it.

    • 08/08/2010 4:19 PM

      I have friends who live in the city and their students live off Chipotle. It’s nuts. I do normally prefer to cook. I make great mexican food at home.

  6. 08/08/2010 4:17 PM

    Honestly, I’m not a giant Chipotle fan. Maybe I just need to try it again, but the portions are just so enormous and it is more overwhelming to me than anything else!

    • 08/08/2010 4:18 PM

      I never had a problem with their portions until I started being more mindful of how much I was eating. I always saw them as a treat until the treat became every week. 🙂 The burrito bowl I got was just filling enough and I could control how much I wanted.

  7. actorsdiet permalink
    08/08/2010 11:49 PM

    i hope other fast food places take a page outa chipotle’s philosophy – they’re a great option!

    • 09/08/2010 3:38 PM

      I wish they would too. It’s hard to be a vegetarian and not be able to eat a fast food places on long trips. And I don’t like mostly corn based stuff anyway. I’d rather spend a bit more to eat a WF salad bar or go to Chipotle. 🙂

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