Chipotle. You have always been there for me. Since we first met in 2000 via fax-in order, my life has never been the same. It was that day that I had carnitas soft tacos with corn salsa and sour cream. I will never forget the impression you made on me.
From that day forward, I had to have you (at least weekly). I had to go and find you, take it all in in-person. Fax simply would not do. I would gather as many of my friends as I could to take the stroll over the skyway and stand in line at 50 South Sixth. And the lines were long. Everyone wanted a piece of you.
We would stand outside the glass for several minutes before reaching the doors. Once we crossed the threshold the sounds, the smells of your goodness would overtake us. We would chatter in excitement. What would it be today?
The usual? Perhaps. It started as a chicken burrito with pinto beans, medium salsa, sour cream and cheese. This was consistent for some time. I would cut it in half and eat the gooey insides of the burrito, getting it down to a reasonable size for normal consumption. Until every last bite was gone.
But as I grew (and I mean GREW) and changed, my burrito had to change as well. I could no longer afford the calories that the flour burrito that could envelop my thigh brought to the table. I had to make a major life change. I had to go with the bowl.
It was a gradual change. At first I started filling the bowl the same as the burrito. But, life is too short, and the desire for more, for a unique, adventurous relationship began. I would try the steak, back to what originally attracted me – the carnitas, also the barbacoa. The experimentation was delightful. It made me love you even more.
And the chips, how could I forget the chips? With a bowl and a lime and sea salt encrusted chip for scooping, I could not have been more delighted. I could crunch through a bag with others quickly, talking about our busy days and our crazy lives. But also taking a moment for you, Chipotle.
During these times of change, as the love grew, I campaigned for you and your attention. I sent e-mails to your corporate offices and made it know there was new retail space for development just over a mile from my home. Imagine how much closer we could become if we could see each other on the evenings and weekends? We could share so much more together, our lives would see the benefit of the intersections that are now numerous. I cannot express how joyful I was, and am still, to see you every single day. I may not always stop, but I always smile.
And yet, through all of this change, I still needed to downsize my body. You listened again. A salad? For me? With Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette? You do love me, you do. During the hard times, the weight loss times you gave me even more reason to depend on you Chipotle, my dear Chipotle. I was able to shift my usual to the salad, with chicken, black beans, mild, medium and corn salsas – hold the cheese and sour cream, please. But honey – PLEASE give me that Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette. You really know how to spice things up.
And suddenly, once the weight came off during that year, and I was ready to break out and experiment again, you really did it. With such humility and respect. It had been right there before me for all of these years: guacamole. You never insisted, you never pushed. You just let the guacamole be guacamole and you let me be me. Until one day, I finally noticed. I noticed this amazing gift that had always been right there. I had been too busy. Maybe too young, too naïve to think that I could love anything else more than what you had already offered more. But now I do. I cannot even imagine life without a little guac on the side – how did I ever live without it?
They have tried to keep us apart. Construction in City Center. Eight months with no direct link to your 76th & Lyndale location. This did not stop us, it made our hearts grow fonder still.
Others have showed their love. You think I have not noticed the men and women in uniform always with you? The police officers, state troopers, paramedics, fire fighters, etc. I see them there. I trust you, and them.
But truly, it has been eight years. We have been through so much. It all started with a fax order and now we have the guac. My life is richer and more interesting because you are in it. You have been patient with me, giving. I only hope that I am giving enough back. (A minimum once per week frequency represents one of your best customers, right? Good margin on the salad, I trust?)