Nom Nom Paleo

Dining Out Paleo: Chipotle Mexican Grill (Castro Valley, CA)

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I’ll admit it. I’m a huge food snob. I only eat out at certain places if I’ve researched it and know the food is supposed to be delicious. I’ve been a food tourist and made pilgrimages across the country for the sole purpose of trying a restaurant (e.g. Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Alinea in Chicago, Per Se in NYC). Eff the landmarks and historical sites, I just want good grub.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t need trendy or fancy. The restaurants can be hole-in-the-wall places where I can only communicate with the server by pointing at other diner’s dishes. I don’t even care if the place is unsanitary. If it tastes good going down, I don’t care if it comes out painfully in a few hours. Really. Ask Fitbomb. I’ve hauled his ass all over the globe for good eats.

I like restaurants that are run by passionate food lovers because you know that they put their heart and soul into whatever they’re serving you. Like Chef Primo from the movie Big Night or Chef Remy from Ratatouille. (Yes, I haven’t watched too many movies since I hatched my kids). I just don’t believe you get that kind of passion at a chain restaurant so I avoid them like the plague. Yes, chains provide a minimum standard of mediocrity but you won’t be wowed by anything at Macaroni Grill or Applebee’s.

Well, stop the presses because this afternoon, I ate lunch at a chain. A FAST food chain, no less.

A little backstory…

Lunch today was going to be a bit more problematic. We were headed to Fitbomb’s cousin’s birthday luncheon and we knew we’d be served a dizzying array of dim sum dishes. Fitbomb’s family LOVES eating dim sum.

I HATE dim sum and it certainly ain’t Whole30 compliant. To make sure I wasn’t hungry when I arrived, I ate a can of sardines at home and I packed emergency packs of coconut flakes and macadamia nuts. At the party, everyone kept scolding me to go get food but I just pretended to be busy feeding my kids. I finally had to lie and say that I ate when they weren’t looking. Fitbomb was even sneakier and spread a few stray pieces of food on his plate and pretended he ate a full plate. I’m just glad that we were able to escape early because we had a mandatory preschool open house to attend.

After we left the party, we were still hungry after eating our pre-packed nuts and flakes. We were in a bind because we didn’t have time to go home to eat and the food scene is abysmal in this particular part of the east bay. Then, I remembered that Paleo guru Robb Wolff recommends eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill so I told Fitbomb to turn into the driveway of one. I think he thought I was punking him but I was HUNGRY.

As we stood in line, we took out our iPhones and studied John Durant’s post on what cavemen order at Chipotle. We both ordered salads with no beans, half carnitas and half barbacoa, extra guacamole, and salsa.

Can you see the skepticism in my face? I was just reciting the mantra, “Food is fuel. Food is fuel. Food is fuel…”

How was it?

Not bad. The meat is kind of one dimensional and salty but it’s pretty good for fast food. I’ve definitely had much better (and cheaper) Mexican at authentic taquerias  but in a pinch, I’d eat here if there were no other options. Since I’m on the Whole30, I like the transparency of the ingredients on the website. That being said, almost everything (except for carnitas) is cooked in soybean oil so it’s not truly 100% Paleo. The guacamole is pretty awesome, though. 


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