Chipotle or Moe’s? Battle of the burrito

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The debate that has been as divided as Democrat or Republican continues to frustrate the most avid Mexican-American fast-food consumer.

Ask a supporter of one of the two and you will receive an earful about why he or she is right, and the other is wrong.  The monumental debate at hand is between two culinary giants: Chipotle and Moe’s.

The argument can be summarized with two main points.  The first is quality.  Chipotle fans will argue until the day Moe’s closes that the quality of the faux-Mexican cuisine offered by the McDonald’s owned chain is far better than that of Moe’s.

The second is quantity. Chipotle eaters will say that you get more food for the money.

Al contrario, Chipotle eaters,  the quality of the “Cilantro-lime rice” they offer here is laughable at best.  It’s so tangy and sour to cover up the undercooked grains of cheap, off-brand rice.

Although they do offer two choices, white or brown, the fact that I can hardly tell if I did indeed get the brown rice is disconcerting. I’m pretty sure they just use some sort of brown food coloring to make it look like brown rice.

Then there’s the tortilla. Chipotle gives you two choices: a giant papier-mâché flour tortilla or tiny, baby-sized taco flour tortillas. Moe’s has the option of two burrito tortilla sizes, in either flour or wheat.

If you’re watching your cholesterol, Moe’s has you covered with their whole wheat tortilla that cuts down on saturated fat and adds a little earthiness to your burrito.

The quality of the meat is unmistakable when the two restaurants are compared.  The chicken at Moe’s is juicy, aromatic and spicy with a char around the edges of each little chunk, showing that it was made with care.

The Chipotle chicken is dry and bland, with little flavor and an off-putting pale, white hue that makes me wonder if it is even chicken.

Chipotle does have the choice of barbacoa and carnitas, two meats cooked in a Spanish style, which are full flavor and pack a little punch on the spice side of things.

But that doesn’t matter when what they are surrounded by is a paper-thin tortilla and sketchy rice.

I can’t count the number of times that my burrito has fallen apart mid-chow session and I have had to resort using a fork-like some sort of barbarian.

Then there’s the extra stuff: the vegetables and salsas.  Chipotle offers lettuce and fajita vegetable and three types of salsa.

That just won’t cut it when you’re used to full flavor and punch-you-in-the-tongue spicy like this New Mexican is.  Moe’s lets you choose from 20 ingredients.

That’s a whole lot more than Chipotle can give.  Among the options, there are grilled vegetables, onions and mushrooms, fresh and pickled jalapeños, fresh onions, black or pinto beans, cilantro, tomatoes and of course, pico de gallo salsa.

Oh yeah, and did I mention queso?  They have that at Moe’s too.

And of course the Moe’s-Mecca of anything that is spicy: the salsa bar.  Five different types of salsa arranged in a buffet-style bar to go along with the free chips that accompany every order.

Add all that up with a drink and you have one flavorful, filling and delicious semi-authentic Mexican meal.

And to make it even spicier, Moe’s offers awesome discounts on burritos every fifth of the month and every Monday all month long.

The victor here is clear: Moe’s.

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