On Saturday, after the St. Paul Farmer's Market, my friend and I kept a good thing going by heading to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. But we were pretty hungry, so we stopped at a Chipotle restaurant first. (The following is not a restaurant recommendation, I think my friend J. has powers; she says these things always happen to her.)
Two high school students of mine praise, laud, extol, no, almost worship this chain of restaurants. Looking at the map on their website, only some of you will know and be able to taste it yourselves. My students talk about it incessantly, and plan their lives around their next dining experience. I was told that I absolutely needed to try this extremely gourmet Mexican (fast) food. This is to me an oxymoron already-gourmet fast food. My friend J.'s daughter feels the same about this place, so we went in.
I am a food-y. I love to try new things and the menu was full of meats, sides, salsas and extras. It took me over ten minutes to decide, staring up at the fast food menu as if it had been years since and until my next dining excursion. J. went first and ordered an amazing burrito just the way her daughter told her that she liked it. I ordered a three taco "sampler" if you will. One of each type of meat, one with rice, one with beans, it was quite a basket. I tried all three salsas.
While chatting all the while with the help, the manager overheard our status as first-timers. She was so friendly and helpful. She made the whole experience better yet by telling us her favorite combos, and gave us a sample of the pork carnitas. Then, to top it all off, she gave us our lunch for FREE if we would tell her at the end of our meal what we thought.
Later, after our critiques of the combos and the burrito, she gave us each a gift card to come back and try something else another day. She also gave me two gift cards for my two students. I'm going to use them this fall for the most blatant bribery you can imagine.