Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Another Quick Review: Qdoba (of Southfield)

A few days ago, I posted a review of Lafayette Coney Island and its next door Detroit rival American Coney Island. Though I'm not much of a connoisseur when it comes to Mexican-type food, I was just yesterday introduced to the rivalry of Qdoba vs. Chipotle. Unlike the Island rivalry, it was rather difficult to find a video talking about the differences between the two (outside of food eating contests), but the above video serves a good introduction to this "burrito battle" of sorts. (Click here for another analysis.) I had eaten before at a few Chipotles but my visit to the Qdoba located in Southfield marked my first-ever visit to the family-friendly restaurant chain. (Ironically, though perhaps unsurprisingly, there's a Chipotle located nearby, also in Southfield; in any case, the Southfield Qdoba was certainly friendly. Whether or not this is a tribute to Qdoba's employees, the Southfield workers' vibe, or a combination of both, remains to be determined.) Luckily, one of my high school classmates and former Qdoba employee Chuck (who I apparently haven't seen for three years!) was available to offer his perspective on the different dining experiences.

While Chuck got a vegetarian gumbo bowl, I went for a grilled chicken 3-cheese queso burrito, pictured below. Tightly wrapped in the pliable tortilla (which I thought could have been toasted a bit longer or could perhaps have a bit more salt to bring some sense of flavour to it) were layers of what could best be described as "fresh" flavours: the first layer was a cilantro-lime rice, followed by slow-cooked black beans, the grilled chicken, a corn salsa and shredded cheese. I use the adjective fresh to describe the homemade taste of the burrito as a whole. In many respects, it tasted (however incomplete) as something that could be made at home by people who know and respect the food. The most evident component which expressed this was the diced red onion that tasted as though the onion had just been cut and not sitting around pre-made and stored in a bag. The corn of the salsa was rather crisp against the softer components and the rice tasted refreshing (as opposed to heavy) with the aid of the lime juice. In addition, the black beans still had a slight bite, while the bean sauce melded quite well with the rice.

And while each component felt like it worked on its own, I'm not entirely convinced they worked with each other cohesively. Then again, I didn't load it up with the many other options as I could have; but perhaps the addition of even more of the 3-cheese queso could have easily done the trick.

 also posted here

As for which is better, I still remain rather impartial (such as poster Tony Sullivan from English 383 class blog "Falcon Food"). But as far as the world of food is concerned, I do appreciate both. The PR efforts of Chipotle and its greener initiatives and sustainable practices are surely stronger, if not at least more visible between the two. Moreover, the flavours seem to be a bit more unified, if not much more familiar and expected. I also would argue the fewer options on Chipotle's menu makes it a bit less hectic and easier to order than at Qdoba. Then again, who doesn't like options (especially here in the States)?

Whereas Chipotle may have the more "expected" flavours, I would say the more unexpected flavours from Qdoba comes from the cleaner, fresher taste, as noted above. And to this point, I give freshness over flavour points to Qdoba. And most importantly, alongside all those who write and/or taste the Mexican grill difference, the above video highlights my primary reason as to why I would go back to Qdoba (though not necessarily in spite of Chipotle).

I would like to conclude this post by first saying Mexican food--though palatable--still doesn't reign among the top of my go-to foods. (No offense, but it'll have to take a lot to pull me away from France and its bordering neighbours). But it never hurts to have musical parodies to grab my attention, such as the one above.

No comments:

Post a Comment