Tag Archives: burrito

Chipotle: the model fast food chain

There are only a few places that I recommend eating at and Chipotle is one of them. The food is quality and the ownership cares equally about health and profits. Which sets them apart from all other fast food chains.

pronounced: chi-poht-lay

Our country has reached a strange time when a “green” company is booming during a recession. Yet, it is happening all across the country. Since 2006, Chipotle has tripled is revenue and doubled the number of stores.

Which makes it all the more unique that they don’t advertise on TV. They have no Ronald McDonald or Jared the weight loss wunder-kid (Subway).

Just what are they doing to convince you to buy their burritos?

They are raising prices and improving quality…and people are loving them for it!

Maybe Americans really do want good food, or perhaps they are beginning to recognize the quality difference. Either way this is worth looking into…

The story starts back in 1999, when founder Steve Ells visited a farm. What he saw was a CAFO and it disturbed him deeply. Ever since he has been on a mission to fix the problem.

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“I did not want Chipotle’s success to be tied to this kind of exploitation.”

Steve Ells, Founder & CEO

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Fast forward to today and Chipotle has one of the most effective sustainable and ethically sourced supply chains. They even buy meat from Polyface farms which was featured in the book Omnivore’s Dilemma.

They have an amazingly strong commitment to meat free of hormones, antibiotics, and cages. Produce that is organic, local, and fresh produce. Well, most of the time…

While the farmers markets in this country are exploding, the transition to big business is hitting roadblocks. Small farmers are great for us locavores, but to meet the needs of a typical Chipotle requires much more. A cooperative network of farms, trucks, coordinated deliveries, and processing facilities.

This means that Chipotle restaurants can’t go completely organic and sustainable. They have to wait for the infrastructure to be built, or build it themselves.

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Ells said in his statement to Congress:

“This move transformed the way we run our business…it set us on a journey to examine each of the ingredients we use to make our food, and how we could get them from more sustainable sources.”

Ells concedes that Chipotle’s business model is not easily replicated by other restaurant companies as the supply of ingredients from more sustainable sources is limited, and the costs tend to be higher for buyers of these better ingredients.

“Chipotle is a unique success story in that we have found a way to serve more expensive, sustainably raised ingredients, but in a way that remains affordable to the average customer.”

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I can’t say enough about what they are doing. We are all living in a better world because of their work.

If you want to learn more about Chipotle’s commitments visit their Food With Integrity program.

In the meantime, watch this 2-minute animation they made.

The song is a Willie Nelson cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” and it’s pretty powerful:

This is not their first foray into the movie business. In 2009, the company sponsored free screenings of the movie Food Inc. in 32 cities.

For this short they are purchasing time to show it as a preview at 5,700 movie theaters around the country.

Thank you Chipotle!

Perfect Fish Tacos and Breakfast Burritos

I’ve never done a recipe post before, but I have to talk about my breakfast burritos and fish tacos. In the small world of “me” they are legendary.

I’ve started surfing and my apetite is ravenous. Being from Southern California I have to – absolutely required to eat fish tacos.

Fish Tacos

The best place to enjoy a fish taco in Orange County is the secret spot, Bear Flag Fish Company. The place is always packed with surfing families, potheads, and high school dates. No need to recommend anything because you should try them all.

They also sell fish by the pound (sometimes local fish too). This is where I start my fish tacos by ordering up a pound and grill it at home.

Fish is the easiest thing in the world to BBQ. Just throw it on the grill, cut down the middle to check it out, and when dry but oily take it off.

Next comes cabbage, the secret fish taco ingredient. Not much taste to cabbage (red or green) but it is a crunchy-wet-filler for the fish.

Tortillas, say it like this: torrrr-tiya with as slick an accent as you can produce.

I use small corn tortillas that smell delicious, which as far as I can tell is the only way to determine quality. Heat them up a little first (10 seconds in microwave).

Lay the fish down first and the cabbage on top of it.

If you prefer the creamy route then lay down some sour cream with hot sauce on top. This is key, you must lay the hot sauce on the cream, it’s magical that way.

Vegetables, like pico-de-gallo (diced tomatoes, peppers, onions) or avocado round out the fillings.

Just remember that less is best, don’t make a potpourri.

 

Breakfast Burrito

The tacos are for dinner but in the morning it’s all about the breakfast burrito.

The challenge to making a good breakfast burrito are the potatoes. These crunchy delights serve up the best burritos but take forever to prepare. Your best bet is to pre-cook them on a weekend or something and make a huge batch.

Boil them, then pan-sear ‘em (turn pan on high, burn/crisp as much as possible, maybe use oil).

With taters in hand move on to the typical ingredients: large flour tortillas (heated in microwave, 10 seconds), eggs, sour cream, pico, avocado, sausage, etc.

The key is to combine the taters and warm tortillas with the best ingredients on hand. If needing protein go for a meat (sausage or soy-rizo, which is spicy tofu) or eggs (scrambled vs easy). If not, go the vegetarian route.

I only buy food at the farmers market so the ingredients always change. Right now the best item I’ve found are bean sprouts, I don’t know what kind but they are tasty and healthy.

Enjoy making your Mexican-American feast and share any tips you have!