For my parent's anniversary I tried to make a Chipotle-esque meal. Our family is a big fan of Chipotle's veggie bowls. And their chips.
However, a Qudoba opened in town a few weeks before my parent's anniversary and I was curious to see what they had to offer. Turns out they didn't have much. I really, really wanted to like Qudoba, because the 'local' Chipotle is an 2 hour drive round trip. The Qudoba is only 10 mins. away.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed by Qudoba. Not only are the portion sizes half the size of Chipotle's - Qudoba is more expensive and the food is very flavorless.
I tried Qudoba twice, because I wanted to believe that the first time was just a bad mistake. The 2nd time I took some 'authentic Mexicans', as in friends visiting from Mexico. They also thought the food was flavorless and we all walked away disappointed and still hungry.
I wish I had weighed the 2 meals! The Chipotle one was MUCH heavier. The round bowls are deceiving.
Qudoba: Veggie/Naked bowls $6.29 each + .69 for veggies (stupid) = $6.98
Chips - $1.99
Chipotle: Veggie bowl $6.25
After eating the Qudoba meal I was still hungry. I could only eat 1/2 of the Chipotle meal.
I did the testing on 2 different days - to be fair ;)
So could I make Chipotle at home???
Well, I tried. I made a Cuban black bean recipe that had green olives and chocolate in it.
I had corn, olives and queso fresco - which is tasty with lime squeezed over it.
And I made fruit salad. Bonus fruit salad ingredient picture!
I sauteed onions in achiote oil - achiote paste and olive oil. It makes a tasty red oil.
I pan seared peppers and onions. Plus added a little bottled smoke flavor to give them that grilled smokiness.
And we had a delicious meal. BUT I would still drive 2 hours to eat Chipotle. It just can't be replicated! Or replaced!