Tag Archives: Chipotle

Picturing Who I Miss

Can you guess what this is?

Can you guess what my younger son sketched?

Of course, I miss my two collegiate sons a lot. Our house is quiet and lonely (albeit a lot neater). That was expected.

But what I didn’t anticipate was how much I miss the boys’ friends. Especially after the fun summer we had competing in trivia with all of them. When you spend every Friday night with a lot of them, you get used to having them around.

And then they all go off to college and leave you. So sad!

My older son concentrates.

My older son concentrates.

But before the summer fun ended, my sons, my “third son,” Chase, and Josh found themselves in our tiny game room playing a lively, raucous edition of Pictionary on the Wii U. They had so much fun trying to guess what word was being drawn.

Josh engineers his drawing.

Josh engineers his drawing.

Most of the time, one of the three contestants figured out what was being sketched in time. But Josh stumped everyone during one of his turns. He tried to help the other guys by saying that it was something that I liked.

Sorry, Josh, but we have no idea!

Sorry, Josh, but we have no idea what this is!

Thinking that maybe that was a filmstrip on the bottom and a film canister above it, everyone guessed photography or film. Josh kept drawing, but no one got it in the allotted time.

Can you figure out what Josh’s word was?

It was burrito! He knows how much I love Chipotle (not that I’ve ever had a burrito there; I always opt for a veggie bowl). That “filmstrip” is the ingredient area.

Oh, how we laughed and laughed after that! It was so darned funny!!

Now when I pass by the game room, I look inside and feel sadness at its emptiness, my sons having split up the game systems between them. But when I close my eyes and think back to that August Pictionary experience, I can’t help but smile.

And hope that my older son brings the Wii U home at Thanksgiving!

Sidebar: The top drawing is of a remote, by the way. Anyone guess correctly?

Books and Movies

Just see the movie.

I started reading “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” (a title that I never can remember, by the way; I always have to look it up) before the movie came out. I was only about halfway through the novel when the Mister and I saw the film, finishing the book soon after. That gave me an interesting perspective of both media.

For the first time ever, I thought the movie actually was better than the book! Eric Roth, the screenwriter, did a masterful job separating the wheat from the considerable, overwrought chaff penned by Jonathan Safran Foer. I know there are plenty of people who loved the novel, but I thought it needed better editing. Or it just could be that I didn’t like Foer’s writing style.

The narrator is different in the book.

On the heels (or should that be “hooves”) of seeing and finishing “Extremely Loud,” I next experienced “War Horse,” first by movie and then by book on my Kindle. The Mister and I loved the flick, so I couldn’t wait to read the novel it was based on.

Talk about your quick reads! Of course, it helps that it’s geared towards children, which also meant that those graphic war scenes on the big screen were added to the already-rich story. The biggest surprise for me? The book is narrated by Joey, the horse. What a novel (hee hee!) idea!

I wouldn’t say I was too caught up with the story’s sentimentality and sweetness, but I’ll admit that I felt a little embarrassed when I was finishing the book while eating lunch at Chipotle. I sat hunched over my Kindle trying not to let any of the other patrons see me cry at the ending.

I did discover, though, that tears give guacamole an unusual flavor!

So far, so good!

Right now I’m speeding through “The Hunger Games” (free on my Kindle through Amazon.com’s Prime lending library). It’s so compelling that it’s tempting to just read all day and let the laundry pile up. I love books like that!

I sure hope the movie, set to debut next month, does the novel justice. I can’t wait to finish the book, go to the theater, and judge for myself.

Stay tuned for the review!

Freeb!rds Vies for My Veggie Bowl Love

Yes, it is!

Well, lookie who just rode into town: Freeb!rds, a Chipotle competitor.

As regular readers know, not only is Chipotle my favorite restaurant, but I’m the mayor of our closest location. I usually eat there twice a week, often with friends I’ve picked only because they also love the place (well, not really . . . it just seems that way). In my opinion, none of the other burrito/bowl places comes close in terms of taste, especially their guacamole, which is like a scoop of sunshine at Chipotle. As far as I’m concerned, Bullritos and Mission Burrito are mere pretenders to the throne.

But Freeb!rds does have its legion of fans here in Texas (including my younger son). I had eaten there twice, once in College Station several years ago (wasn’t impressed) and a year or two back in Houston (meh). After reading that they finally opened a location in my little ’burb, I figured I’d see if the third time was the charm.

A motorcycle breaks through a wall; Freeb!rds has a lively interior.

So the Mister, our younger son, and I stopped in for dinner on opening night last week. At first people were queued out the door, but it didn’t take long to get inside and place our orders in the serving line. That’s when we ran into problem number one: Freeb!rds might be the noisiest restaurant on the planet.

“What?” “What?” It was as hard for us to hear our order takers as it was for them to hear us. I’m just not into shouting for my food. It was so loud and confusing that I actually forgot to ask for guacamole (I had to return for it), which is squirted on. Yes, with an actual squirter. I was missing that large Chipotle guac spoon already.

The forks don’t meet my exacting standards.

When we sat down to eat, problem number 2 quickly cropped up: I hated the plastic fork. The handle is smaller, and the entire utensil isn’t as sturdy as the ones at Chipotle. I was not a happy camper.

Sidebar: I’d better ’fess up and admit that one reason I don’t like Mission Burrito (besides the fact I had to deal with a surly order taker yesterday) are its metal bowls. They detract from my eating experience. Oh, and I hate how the chairs squeal when you move them along the floor. They need some kind of pad! But the forks are okay.

Aluminum artwork hangs from the ceiling.

Of course, what’s really important is the quality of the food. I’ve returned to Freeb!rds a couple times just to make sure that I’m not overfocusing on the noise and fork fiascos. So I can declare with confidence that . . .

I’ve dubbed Freeb!rds as the second-best burrito/bowl restaurant, easily trumping Bullritos (third place) and Mission Burrito! I’m sure they’ll want to erect a plaque.

But next time I eat there I think I’ll come prepared . . . with a set of ear plugs and my very own fork.

Another Reason to Love Chipotle

Chipotle means home to me.

About a week ago I was sitting in my local Chipotle (aka the best restaurant ever) enjoying the same veggie bowl that I typically eat there twice a week. Suddenly, Amber, the manager, pulled up the chair across from me and held up a square envelope.

“Because you’re our best customer, we’ve selected you to be the first person from our store to be invited to join Chipotle’s Farm Team,” she said.

“Farm Team?” I asked. All I could think of was how woeful the Houston L’Astros’ minors are; did I really want to be a part of that problem?

“It’s online, and it sounds like fun,” Amber assured me.

The fateful invitation

So I opened the envelope and took out what was inside. It was a slightly fawning invitation (“brightest and most loyal customers”? You mean I’m not the only one?!?) with information about where to log on to start the adventure. Once I got back home, I did.

The Farm Team is an interactive way to learn more about the foods we eat.

Chipotle’s motto is “food with integrity.” They try to buy their produce locally (as organic as possible), and they use meats naturally raised without antibiotics or added hormones, if possible. All I know is the food always tastes fresh and great; I’ve never been disappointed.

Sidebar: I’ve only eaten veggie bowls at Chipotle, so I can’t vouch for how the meats taste. The yummy guacamole is free when you go meatless!

So far I’m working through Chapter 1 on the Farm Team. As I click on the exclamation marks, question marks, and video and poll icons, I’m learning a lot of fascinating facts about sustainable farming. For example, did you know that pigs on most industrial farms never go outdoors? Chipotle won’t work with those kinds of suppliers.

Here’s an interesting bit of info: Chipotle uses 97,000 pounds of avocados every day! I guess I’m not the only one who loves their guacamole.

Perhaps the best part of being on the Farm Team is the swag. A gift card for a free burrito or bowl came in the invitation, and so far I’ve earned a Chipotle t-shirt. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead as I complete all four chapters.

It definitely pays to be the mayor of my local Chipotle!

An Attitude of Gratitude

Red and yellow flowers start to bud.

I was struck by something that another blogger posted yesterday. Nate, who writes Confessions of a CF Husband, had this to say (as taken from yet another blogger):

“What would it look like if I ONLY spoke words of gratitude the entire week of Thanksgiving?”

And that got me thinking. I’m planning to write my blog post of thanks Thursday. I feel so fortunate that I have so much to be thankful for. But maybe I need to speak words of gratitude this entire week, just like Nate plans to do. Even in the most difficult of situations. Like yesterday at lunch.

I was at Chipotle, which I’m kind of the mayor of because I eat there so often. I was sitting next to a table with three boisterous women, one of whom had a loud, booming, annoying laugh. And how often was she laughing? Only at everything her tablemates said. And they were talking a lot. Here I was trying to read my “Reader’s Digest” magazine while enjoying my delicious (as always) veggie bowl, while this gal was disturbing my concentration with her grating guffawing.

When the trio finally left, I remembered what Nate had written, and I thought, “I’m so thankful that they’re gone!”

I'm especially thankful for beautiful flowers that I can photograph.

Of course, that’s really not the true spirit of being thankful according to Nate. Definitely not a true attitude of gratitude.

What should I have been thankful for? That I don’t have that annoying laugh! And I am!!

Stuff ’n Nonsense Wednesday

Lisa R's vegetable garden

Lisa R's vegetable garden

When my friend Lisa R. talked about her vegetable garden on her Facebook page, I knew I had to see it (plus I needed to pick up a box of Lemonades Girl Scout cookies that she was kind enough to buy for me; #1 son loves those cookies!). Today being a meandering morning kind of day, I moseyed on over, interrupted a GS meeting she was having, and walked into her backyard.

OMG! The girl and her husband sure can garden! Her Mister built her a very-impressive, multidimensional, raised veggie garden, and she already has cages around her tomato plants. She’s also growing cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, squash, banana peppers, and various herbs (she probably is a good cook and knows how to use them).

Lisa R's train garden

Lisa R's train garden

See the photo above? That’s Lisa’s train garden (so named because a train track runs around it). She had several areas of pretty flowers in her blooming backyard, which is the way I always imagine my backyard should look . . . only it doesn’t. Not anything like it at all. Then again, Lisa doesn’t have a couple disc golf baskets and hordes of discs to cope with. Just a train.

I’m going to make several field trips to Lisa’s garden during the spring and summer to compare notes and see who has the better green thumb. Anyone taking bets on who it will be? I know who my money’s on . . . and it ain’t me!

Buc-cee’s

Buc-ee’s

Love that Buc-ee’s!

Most of the Buc-ee’s gas stations and so-much-more stores that I’ve seen in Texas are along highways. As I’ve mentioned previously, Buc-ee’s is known for its sensational bathrooms (yes, really, in this case you can use the word “sensational” with “bathroom”), sugary Beaver Nuggets, and so much more. Surprisingly, a smaller Buc-ee’s recently opened up close by, but not on a highway. Since it was a meandering morning, I left Lisa’s and moseyed on over to the Buc-ee’s to pump some gas ($1.79 a gallon) and check out the store.

56-life-is-shortIt was all shiny and new and full of possibilities (such as trail mix, fudge, drinks, etc.). The only purchase I made (besides the gas) was a couple packs of Dubble Bubble assorted fruit gum balls (gum being one of my weaknesses), and I was rewarded with a free car wash ticket. Which I was hesitant to take.

Me: Do I have to use this today?

Cashier: You have until March 31st to use it.

Me: Audible sigh of relief!

Why didn’t I want to wash my Honda Pilot, which desperately is in need of a thorough cleaning? Because of the weather forecast, of course! Today is #2 son’s penultimate track meet, and the meteorologists claim there’s a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms. I knew that washing my car would surely seal the deal, pushing those rain odds to 100 percent. Better to have a dirty car than a rained-out track meet! I might take my chances tomorrow or Friday.

Jimmy John's back door

Jimmy John's back door

“ull” or “ush”

Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, the one that almost had “Gourmet Sanwiches” on its awning, is at it again! Today when I passed its back door on my way to eat lunch at my favorite restaurant on earth, Chipotle, I saw “ULL.” I resisted the temptation to open the door to see if the letters spelled out “USH” on the other side.