Chipotle vs. Freebirds (and why I vote Chipotle)

I did an informal poll this weekend with a simple question – Chipotle or Freedbirds?

The results were exactly 2 to 1  Freebirds over Chipotle. People like Chipotle for the seasoning, freshness, and the CORN SALSA (can I get an amen?), while Freebirds fans like the wide selection, beans, and employees (quote from @btruax:  “employees care” … from @happykatie: “employees with tattoos :)”).

My favorite quote is from my very own boyfriend: “If I had to choose to save between a bus full of puppies and freebirds and had time for both I would choose freebirds just to be safe”

In case you were curious, my choice is Chipotle.

…But it wasn’t at first. Here’s some background:

My first experience with Chipotle was when they opened a location in College Station my freshman year of college. Keep in mind that Texas A&M University is a campus deeply entrenched in tradition, and one of those traditions is eating at the local INSTITUTION that is Freebirds.

Chipotle did what many new businesses do to entice people to come… they gave away free stuff. In the campus coupon book, at sporting events – everywhere you looked were free burrito coupons. At basketball games, the crowd might hiss (the Aggie sign of disapproval) when the logo came up, but they would certainly not turn down a free meal.

I have very vivid memories of going to Chipotle and sitting with friends as they ate. I would sometimes get a drink, but I never had the slightest interest in the food.

Fast forward a few years. I am interning in Dallas in a basement office directly beneath a Chipotle. Every so often a customer upstairs would spill a drink, which would seep through the slats of the wood floor and land on the head (or worse, computer) of a programmer. Eek. I avoided eating there at all costs – the point of lunch is to leave the office, and we were growing a little too accustomed to the smell. Over the next few years whenever the lunch group would opt for Chipotle, I would turn up my nose and decline.

THEN I moved to Houston. In the first few weeks of my new job, a group of coworkers were going to lunch (and I was invited!). Thanks to my favorite pescetarian Fayza (who loves Veggie Bowls but incidentally voted for Freebirds in the poll), we went to Chipotle. I went out on a limb and ordered chicken tacos. And I was hooked. The star of the show (and what makes Chipotle better than Freebirds for me) is the corn salsa. That stuff is addicting. Between that and the guacamole – I’ve been known to eat Chipotle 3 times in one week.

The iPhone app has furthered my addiction. With about 3 clicks, I can place my order and pay – then skip the line when I get there. I highly recommend it.

So Chipotle, you’ve made a believer out of me.

For those of you as Chipotle obsessed as I am, here is “the” individual sized Chipotle Guacamole recipe – from

  • 2 Hass Avocados
  • 1/2 of a Jalapeno pepper, seeded, and minced
  • 1/4 of a red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons of Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 of a lime, juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

And for those of you who prefer Freebirds, rest assured that you’re in good company!

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