Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why I love Chipotle

Need evidence that you're passionate about something? Try to explain why you love it.

In some cases, the answer will come quickly: a succinct chain of flowery nouns and adjectives. And in other cases, you'll hate yourself for being speechless.

In the latter scenario, you're really in love.

The thought crossed my mind when I embarked on a road trip Tuesday night to the grand opening of Chipotle in Auburn (346 W. Magnolia Ave., shown above). I've long praised Chipotle as the "best restaurant ever."

But as I attempted to explain my stance Tuesday, I realized the memories I've associated with the restaurant over the years have had an impact that rivals its food.

Make no mistake: Chipotle is delicious, as illustrated by the crowd of people who attended the Auburn location Tuesday night.

If you're reading this from outside Columbus, I'll note that I live about 45 minutes away from Auburn. I was so intent on going to the restaurant on opening night that I started my journey right after work.

And by "right after work," I mean 8 p.m.

In the rain. Alone. With a poor sense of direction. And an incorrect address for the restaurant.

Not to mention the fact that "breaking news" happened midway through my drive and I had to stop to negotiate some Facebook posting.

By the time I arrived, navigated the crowd and got my food, it was 10 p.m. (Columbus time). I was also bringing food home for my friend and co-worker, Kara.

On a side note, a trucker also honked at me (and possibly gave me the finger) for driving too slowly on the ride home.

Anyway, I got home successfully. I opened my burrito (featured above...and below) and prepared to eat dinner at 11 p.m.

YUM. Before long, Kara and I started our late-night dinner. Her bowl is pictured below. Once we started eating, I forgot all the drama surrounding the journey.

In fact, we ended up talking until nearly 1 a.m. It was one of the best conversations I've had in a long time.

It wasn't the first time this has happened.

I once took a 90-minute drive with a friend solely to obtain a Chipotle burrito. I also associate the restaurant with the year my boyfriend had to go out of town on my birthday -- but returned later that night with a vegetarian burrito designed to tame my rage.

And when I came home for Christmas last year, I almost immediately ended up at a Chipotle restaurant table with my sister -- enjoying a conversation that erased the miles that normally separate us.

When you find a place that lets you savor memories like these, you should never surrender your table. And if the food tastes good, all the better.

Chipotle serves bowls, tacos, burritos and more. Average entree price is just under $7. The Auburn location is open Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.