Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Chipotle

Chipotle's website features the coolest Flash animation description of its menu components. Many items are labeled vegetarian, and they even note that their cheese has rennet from a vegetarian source. However, we still need to know what vegetarian items are also vegan.

Hello,
I would like to visit your restaurant. Can you tell me what menu items marked vegetarian are also vegan (no animal products, i.e. dairy, cheese, etc.)? Thank you for your time in determining this.
Best,
Erin


(six burritoless days pass)

Try #1b
Hello,
This is the second time I am writing to ask what vegan options Chipotle has on their menu. Without access to ingredients lists, I cannot make this determination from what information is available on the website. Saying something has no dairy doesn't mean it is without animal products. Additionally, your website touts that there are several vegan dining options available. Can you please help me by telling me what those are?
Many thanks for your time,
Erin


Chipotle response #1:
Hello Erin,
Thank you for writing us with your question. The Tortillas, Chips, Rice, Black Beans, Fajitas, all Salsas, Guacamole, and Lettuce is all Vegan ingredients. I hope this information is helpful and we wish you many more burritoful visits.
Sincerely,
Kenwood
Chipotle


The verdict:
Tortillas are vegan
Chips are vegan
Rice is vegan
Black Beans are vegan
Fajita Vegetables are vegan
All Salsas are vegan
Guacamole is vegan
The lettuce is vegan

18 comments:

Michael Leddy said...

Three cheers for Chipotle -- terrific food. I'm glad that they came through with a clear response.

Faith said...

Thank you! My husband loves Chipotle, and I get dragged there far too often. So it's nice to know what I can safely eat. :)

jaxin said...

Chipotle is one of the few places I can go out to eat and actually feel like I've had a complete meal!

At least in my backwards neck of the woods. ;)

Charles said...

I usually order a burrito with:
Tortillas
Rice
Black Beans
Fajita Vegetables
Salsas
Guacamole
lettuce

So that works out :)

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Ami said...

Are you sure about the rice? I have watched them prepare it and swear they dump a ton of butter in it and have even asked before if the rice contains dairy and they said it did. My son is very allergic to all dairy products.

Michal said...

This is perfect thank you :) I am going to chipotle tomorrow for the first time and I was worried about what I was going to eat

Kelsey said...

According to some research i've done, they buy their tortillas from MexGrocer... which uses lard.

I only noticed this after my cholesterol went up after weeks of eating at Chipotle almost daily. It's really disappointing, and I'm having to stop eating there cold-turkey.

I hope that I'm wrong, but wanted to pass along the info I had gathered.

Erin said...

Wow how potentially disappointing...you want to trust companies, but after the great scandal of '09 uncovered by Operation Pancake, it's clear you must either submit your trust and accept some level of risk, or cook using whole foods at home.

We need an undercover super hero willing to get hired by all these places so first-hand evidence can be gathered - any volunteers? :)

Jacquelyn said...

Chipotle is my favorite restaurant. I vary my choices between a vegetarian salad and vegetarian rice bowl (turned vegan by refusing the sour cream and cheese options).

I talked in length with one of the corporate chefs that came to help start up the local Chipotle's restaurant in my local area a few months ago. He was kind enough to share with me how they prepare some of the foods, especially the rice. (I am trying to mimic it at home. Pretty close to it but not quite there.)

The rice does not contain diary products. They use vegetable oil (I cannot remember which type because the conversation was two months ago, but it was either olive or canola), fresh cilantro, and salt.

Since all restaurants are coporate-owned, there are strict rules on how food is prepared so the quality and taste remains uniform across at all restaurants. If your local Chipotle restaurant is using butter instead of the oil, it should be reported to the corporate headquarters.

Jacquelyn said...

Sorry, my brain went out on me.

The rice is made with lime juice. I watched one of the cooks preparing a fresh batch of the rice. He dumped about a cup of lime, lots of cilantro, and some salt into the giant bowl of rice before mixing it. The lime juice could be mistaken for liquid butter from a distance, but it is not butter.

debbie said...

I thought that they were dumping butter when I saw them, too! Glad to see its lime juice :)

I wrote them this week and got this response:

Debra,

Thanks for writing. Our rice does not have butter in it. We cook our rice with soybean oil, and it is completely vegan. I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have any further questions. We hope to see you soon.

Rebecca Treister said...

I have read on their website that the pinto beans are made with beacon.

Emily said...

The pinto beans are made with bacon, and they are very up front about this on their website. Always order black beans.

Cate said...

I once saw them squirt a bunch of sour cream into their rice, so I haven't eaten at chipotle for over 2 years! This weekend I met a friend there, and just out of curiousity I asked if the rice was vegan, and sure enough! They looked at me like I was insane for asking, but I had a burrito! I was still nervous though, that I had actually consumed dairy, but I feel much better after reading this, thanks!

Ventura Explorer said...

Halleluiah! I saw this on their website, but wanted to verify it on a vegan blog and found yours. There's a Chipotle near my house, so this makes my new adventure into veganism much easier... thanks!

vegan dave said...

I am vegan and eat at Chipotle from time to time. We just need to be careful that they don't drag the burrito through meat, cheese or sour cream remnants on the assembly line. I ask them to wipe it down first if I notice anything. Yes, I'm a big vegan pain in the ass.

vegan dave said...

I am vegan and eat at Chipotle from time to time. I order a fajita burrito with rice, black beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, hot salsa and corn. Since the guacamole comes free with a veggie burrito, I ask them to put half in the burrito and half on the side for my chips!