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Let me just start by saying I like Chipotle. I really, really like them. When it comes to premium Mexican-American fast food, I think they're the tops. And they're really trying to be the "good guys" of the fast food world. I love that. But is a Chipotle burrito like an iPhone? Come on, now. That's just crazy talk.
But somebody went there.
Last week in Slate, Matthew Yglesias compared Chipotle to Apple. Apple as in the company, not the food. He said, "In many ways, the Chipotle burrito is very similar to the iPhone." Look, I know iPhones. I use one every day. But the Chipotle burrito is no iPhone.
A lot of Matthew's post about Chipotle is about their business model, so that's one thing. But then he gets all excited about how they cook their meat using sous-vide technology. Whatever, it's just carefully-calibrated cooking meat in a vacuum pack. And it's neat and all. But it doesn't give you that fatty, melting, smoky porkgasm that real roasted or barbecued carnitas give you. Mmmmmmm, carnitas .....
Sorry. Where was I? Oh yes. I won't go as far as to say "Chipotle burritos are terrible." Like I said, I think they're tasty. Take it from a real, live Mexican-American, Chipotle makes pretty good Mexican-American food. Just not OMG IS THIS BURRITO FOR REAL?!? good.
If Steve Jobs had micro-managed that burrito like he micro-managed the iPhone, it would be spectacular. He would have figured out how to get that real barbecued carnitas flavor into his pork -- using sous-vide or otherwise. The Chipotle burrito is not ALL that a burrito can be. It does not revolutionize the burrito. It does not make burrito eating easier than you'd ever imagined, in ways you don't even notice at first. However, at least here in Midtown Manhattan, if you want a Chipotle burrito for lunch, you have to stand in a line that's almost as long as the lines you see every time a new iPhone launches. So I guess there's that.
And now I'm hungry. In conclusion: The Chipotle burrito is not an iPhone. But I still want to eat a Chipotle burrito.
Do you think Chipotle's burrito is as good as the iPhone?
Image via Adriana Velez