Fast Food

Chipotle Rolls Out Gold Foil To Celebrate USA Olympic Athletes

It’s been a decade since Chipotle launched gold foil packaging nationwide, but now is a great time to bring it back with the Tokyo Olympics in full swing.

This is the first time Chipotle has introduced gold foil nationwide since the restaurant chain celebrated its 18th anniversary and released gold foil-wrapped burritos in 2011. The shiny limited-edition gold foil will celebrate American Olympic athletes contending in Tokyo over the next three weeks.

In addition, Chipotle is offering a $0 delivery fee on the Chipotle app and from July 23 through August 1.

Fast Food Sweets What's New

We Found A Chipotle Location Testing Out Mini Churros

Photo: Constantine Spyrou // Foodbeast

Chipotle appears to be quietly looking at a new dessert option for its menu: mini churro loops dusted in cinnamon sugar.

Foodbeast caught wind of these being served out of a location in Orange County, and tracked them down to a restaurant in Irvine, California. Considering the proximity to Chipotle’s headquarters the next city over (Newport Beach), this could be the beginnings of a test to bring churros to the Chipotle masses nationwide.

These current churros could only be ordered via the Chipotle app, and come in a package of three. They’re also 100% vegan, which isn’t a knock on the churro at all. Some of the best churros I’ve tried have been completely plant-based as well.

Photo: Constantine Spyrou // Foodbeast

That being said, these aren’t going to beat the best churros ever, but they’re pretty tasty. They have a good crunch on the outside, and are a little dense on the inside, but overall still better than a Disneyland churro.

What stands out the most is the cinnamon sugar coating, which is more fragrant than you would initially expect for a churro. On the packaging Chipotle’s mini churros come in, it says that they use a blend of Indonesian and Vietnamese cinnamon, both of which are quite aromatic. That’s likely where that soothing smell comes from.

I missed having some cajeta (goat’s milk caramel) or chocolate sauce to dip these in, but overall, it’s a fine dessert addition that looks cool as well.

Photo: Constantine Spyrou // Foodbeast

If you’re in Irvine, you can head to the Chipotle near UC Irvine to try these. For those around Orange County, there may be other restaurants testing that we didn’t find; if you do locate one via the app, be sure to let us know! We’ll be keeping an eye out to see where these Chipotle churros spread to next.

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Chipotle Adds Quesadillas Nationwide Complete With Dipping Sauce Tray

Every so often, I find myself torn between ordering a burrito or tacos when stopping at Chipotle. While the bowls have their own magic, there’s something special about biting into a layer of warm tortilla paired with fresh meat. It’s euphoric.

Photo courtesy of Chipotle

Imagine how much tougher that decision has become, knowing that Chipotle has now added mouthwatering build-your-own Quesadillas to their plethora of menu options. 

Oh, man.

Customers can choose from any of their favorite proteins. This includes Adobo Chicken, Steak, Barbacoa, Carnitas, and plant-based Sofritas, before filling it with their favorite accoutrements.

You can personalize it with any of their salsas and dips, so your meaty quesadillas will never be without sauce options.

The Quesadillas are available at Chipotle locations nationwide and can only be ordered online or through the Chipotle mobile app.

Created in partnership with Chipotle.

Fast Food

Chipotle Tests Smoked Brisket At Select Locations Nationwide

Photo courtesy of Chipotle

Currently, Chipotle’s selection of proteins is pretty stacked, boasting meats such as chicken, steak, barbacoa, carnitas, sofritas, and even carne asada for a limited time. 

A new entry may soon make its way onto the menu as Chipotle is dipping its toes into the world of barbecue and has begun tests of a smoked brisket protein option. 

The brand describes the brisket as smoked for 16t hours, seasoned with a unique blend of spices, grill-seared, and finished with a sauce made with Mexican peppers.

Customers can find the new brisket protein option currently being tested at 64 restaurants in Cincinnati, OH, and Sacramento, CA. It’ll be chopped up for guests like most of the meats served from the chain.

If successful, we may soon see brisket join a limited-time menu or even permanently at Chipotle stores nationwide. 

Fast Food

Chipotle Tests Cauliflower Cilantro-Lime Rice In Select Stores

Photo courtesy of Chipotle

Fans of cauliflower rice will be pretty happy to hear that the grain alternative will be tested at select Chipotle locations across the country.

The fast-casual Mexican food chain announced this week that they’ve begun testing Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower rice as a new plant-based option.

Made with grilled cauliflower that’s seasoned with fresh chopped cilantro, lime juice, and salt, the new test item adheres to vegan, paleo, keto, and Whole30 diets.

Chipotle Chief Marketing Officer Chris Brandt said in a statement that cauliflower rice is one of the most requested menu additions from customers.

Only time will tell if this will make a nationwide release on Chipotle menus. But if the stats are any indication, Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice is more than likely going to happen.

Fast Food

What Fast Food Restaurants Are Doing In Response To COVID-19

With Coronavirus news changing daily, little by little, our favorite bars, cafes, and mom-and-pop restaurants are all closing down, leaving us with the option of fist-fighting grocery shoppers for a pack of chicken, or taking our chances on a fast food restaurant.

A good amount of the larger quick-service restaurants have the luxury of staying open in this time of crisis, and a lot are taking more precautions than usual.

With the widespread uneasiness, it’s understandable to feel that going anywhere is a risk. Our favorite restaurants know this, and are doing their best to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

We can confirm that restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Chick-Fil-A, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Chipotle, Subway, and Starbucks have all vowed to increase the frequency of cleaning and sanitation.

Each restaurant’s statement is a little different, but they all communicate some form of:

“We are closely monitoring and following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), to ensure we are doing our part to keep you, our staff, and our communities safe.”

If you have gone to any fast food spot, there’s a good chance the employees are sporting latex gloves for your protection and theirs. Honestly, even that little wrinkle helps put your mind at ease.

Depending on your area, all of these restaurants also deliver to some capacity, with some offering pick-up options while dining rooms closures have become standard protocol. And of course, the drive-thrus are still open, allowing them align with the CDC’s advisement of keeping groups of people to 10 or less.

Chick-Fil-A has a practice of handing out physical menus to customers at the Drive-Thru, but that has been eliminated to keep interactions at a minimum.

KFC, Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, and Del Taco are not only delivering, but as of now, those deliveries are free. Blaze Pizza’s delivery is free through Postmates and Door Dash through March 22.

Del Taco’s delivery is free through Postmates with the code: DelTacoNow.

Chipotle’s free delivery will run until March 31 using their fancy new Delivery Kitchen that includes a tamper-proof seal on your food and the ability to watch your driver’s route.

Now, KFC’s delivery is going above and beyond, being available until April 26. The order minimum is $12 and can be ordered through their site or Grubhub.

While most restaurant statements have mentioned employee safety being a priority, Starbucks really made sure to reiterate that they’re putting their “partners” AKA employees, first. Starbucks said their employees, “…Never have to choose between work and taking care of themselves.” Which aside from limiting social interactions, also means that if partners feel ill, they can take time off, and if that means that they have to relocate healthy employees or even temporary close down a store, that is what they’ll do.

Starbucks has also extended their “Catastrophe Pay” program, which is usually offered to partners during hurricanes and/or flooding. Partners will be given up to 14 days pay if affected by COVID-19. That time is in addition to possible sick pay, vacation pay or PTO that is normally offered.

So there are extreme measures that fast food restaurants are taking, and rightfully so. Any time you step out of your door, there’s risk, but it’s good to see that measures are taken to try and keep consumers and employees safe.

But above all, remember to have compassion toward any and all employees. While some Americans can work from home or have the luxury of taking time off to stay home in these times, restaurant employees are helping keep essential food businesses running.

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Chipotle Debuts Carne Asada Nationwide

Photo: Omari Allen

Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced the long awaited arrival of Mexican food staple, carne asada. Having tested the new menu item in Fresno and Cincinnati to amazing results, they’re now launching it nationwide for a limited time. It took two years of research and development by Chipotle’s Director of Culinary and Menu Development Chad Brauze in order to nail the perfect recipe. I had the opportunity to sample their new protein and am pleased to say that it hits the mark in terms of flavor and consistency. 

Chipotle’s carne asada is thinly sliced and grilled with lime juice, cilantro, coriander, cinnamon, and cumin, giving it a distinct taste next to their usual steak option. Citrusy hints mingle with aromatic flavors further enhanced by a kick of spice. The consistency is tender and buttery; a lighter steak alternative with a fresher finish. It manages to maintain the carne asada experience one would experience at a tried and true spot while elevating the typical Chipotle experience. Moreover, keeping in line with their commitment to quality assurance, the new carne asada is Keto, Paleo and Whole30 compliant.

Photo: Omari Allen

For those that live in Dallas, Detroit and San Diego, Chipotle is also testing out a new sauce to pair with your protein. It’s called Queso Blanco and is made of Monterey Jack, white cheddar, serano, chipotle, and poblano peppers mixed with various spices. I had the pleasure of sampling it and can confirm that it’s cheesier and creamier, with a spicy whisper at the end which makes it stand apart from their current queso. It can be used as a dipping sauce or a perfect compliment to your burrito or bowl. Depending on reception, the Queso Blanco sauce may soon join the Chipotle menu officially. 

Photo: Omari Allen

Chipotle’s new carne asada is now available at all locations nationwide for a limited time.

Fast Food News Science

Chipotle Just Settled for $6.5 Million Over Non-GMO Claims

Genetically engineered foods, or GMOs, have long been the focus of debate in this country. While science has repeatedly found them to be safe and healthy, third party labels like “non-GMO” have gained traction amongst consumers that, thanks to a collection of fear-mongering articles and documentaries, have developed antagonistic sentiments towards a technology that could feed and save the planet.

The debate around those labels just got an intriguing new talking point, thanks to a false advertising lawsuit that targeted Chipotle over claims that its food was non-GMO.

chipotle hid several foodborne illness outbreaks

Chipotle, who just agreed to settle the lawsuit for $6.5 million, had used “non-GMO” to describe its food in advertising campaigns. However, according to the National Law Review, genetically modified feed had been used to feed some of the animals Chipotle sourced for its meat and dairy ingredients. That violates the terms of the standard put together by The Non-GMO Project, one of the most encompassing third-party labels food manufacturers can obtain in regards to non-GMO products.

It’s appropriate to call The Non-GMO Project a third party label since it’s not any standard or method approved by the federal government. Currently, the FDA has no legally enforceable interpretation of the term “non-GMO,” and even refuses to use it in its own language. They’ve also come out with statements that say that claims of non-GMO could be misleading for other reasons, even if the main reason companies utilize them is to convey that their products are safe and healthy.

The FDA’s specific statement regarding the matter is as follows:

For example, the labeling of a bag of specific type of frozen vegetables that states that they were “not produced through modern biotechnology” could be misleading if, in addition to this statement, the labeling contains statements or vignettes that suggest or imply that, as a result of not being produced through modern biotechnology, such vegetables are safer, more nutritious, or have different attributes than other foods solely because the food was not produced using modern biotechnology.

With all of this controversy bubbling up surrounding the term, and with Chipotle paying significantly for using it in their advertising, it could potentially lead to a decrease in the amount of non-GMO claims used by the food industry. As the level of education and literacy the public gains on the safety and health of genetically engineered food increases as well, it could only be a matter of time before this third-party labeling of non-GMOs becomes moot.

As part of the aforementioned lawsuit, Chipotle will pay out refunds for anyone in the US who ate at their restaurants between April 27, 2015 and June 30, 2016. Households are eligible for up to $2 per meal for 5 meals without documentation plus another 10 with receipts and proof of purchase.