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Qdoba vs. Chipotle

My favorite foods are terrible. I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE cheeseburgers. I dig Tex-Mex, even quick service variety. Tacos are my jam (oh, Taco Mayo!), but I also like burrito places. While we were in Chicago Jane and I ate at a lot of quick service places out of sheer convenience and exhaustion, including Qdoba and Chipotle. It made me want to write a little comparison.

My history with Chipotle dates to the University of Maryland, when there was one walking distance from my grad school apartment. I'd never heard of it before and my roommate and I pronounced the word wrong for a while. AH. So it has good memories, but it loses out in the head-to-head comparison now.

Although this has nothing to do with why I like it less, at the Chicago Chipotle a random guy engaged me in conversation about my burrito. I was sitting there, with my toddler, wolfing this thing down and the guy, possibly homeless because he came in to just use the bathroom, talked to me about it twice -- on the way in and out. It was so weird.
From robertrazrblog on Flickr

I first went to Qdoba in Manhattan, and my favorite part was -- and still is -- the queso, which Chipotle doesn't offer. Also a plus for me now is that Qdoba has a kids' menu, which Chipotle does not. That means Jane can get a cheese quesadilla, beans or apple sauce, and a milk jug. Her options at Chipotle are severely limited. I guess I could try to feed her a taco? (In Chicago I just went next door and bought her a cheese sandwich -- wow nutrition on vacation).

My second favorite part of Qdoba is the beverage station, which is a new thing. They're also available at Noodles & Co. and Burger King -- the machines that give you lots of options for each drink. My pick is cherry vanilla diet Dr. Pepper.

Looking at their websites I see Chipotle offers alcohol, although I've never actually had a margarita there. (And that might be enough to sway my vote the other way, if I were dining without Jane that is. Mama loves her margaritas even more than queso!)

Back in BR I have access to both restaurants. Neither is particularly convenient, although the Qdoba is near Whole Foods and Chipotle is on the north side of campus where I never go. There used to be a second, ultra-convenient Qdoba near our old apartment, but it's closed and turned into some kind of bistro. Gag.


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