I don’t recall just when the chain Big Burrito war began. But for me, it ended a few years ago. These days, Moe’s Southwest Grill has no competition for my chain big burrito buck.
I do recall the war’s opening volley: Qdoba opened just around the corner from our house. Since we prefer to eat “in the ‘hood,” we immediately checked out this newbie addition to the many restaurants near the mall about a mile from our house.
Qdoba was our first experience with a big burrito bar and we found it a very agreeable. What’s not to like about a variety of big burritos rolled “your way” which are both filling and reasonably priced? Even with a Coke, we could dine for less than $10 by sharing a burrito. Unsurprisingly, we visited Qdoba frequently.
For some reason, that Qdoba went out of business. (Maybe too many other folks were sharing.) There was another Qdoba near the mall on the other side of town but I didn’t want to drive “all that way” even though it was probably five miles. (Distance is very relative.)
By this time, there was a closer alternative: Moe’s. I initially felt the crew’s boisterous “Welcome to Moe’s” shout to everyone walking in the door was kitschy but I’m accustomed to it now. So why do I not patronize any of Moe’s competitors, such as Chipolte Grill or Tijuana Flats?
First, none of them offers what is now the only item I order: Alfredo Garcia Steak Fajitas. Unlike their burritos, this one is “roll your own.” You get three “regular” size flour tortillas to hold all the fillings of your choice. I get grilled onions and peppers, sauteed mushrooms, lettuce, shredded cheese, black olives, pico, and fresh grated jalepeno. Susie gets two of the tortillas, I get the third one, and I also finish off what’s left as a salad. With a large Coke, the price is about $10.
Second, I appreciate the generous portion of tortilla chips which comes with all orders and no charge for “seconds.” Qdoba only gave us a small handful and Chipolte Grill charges for chips. Charging for chips in any type of Mexican restaurant is surely a violation of a United Nations human rights resolution!
Of course, tortilla chips demand salsa and that’s a third reason Moe’s stands out from the rest. They offer at least four types of salsa and often a fifth “new” salsa. Of the regulars, I prefer the green tomatilla salsa. Recently, they’ve introduced a jalapeno lime salsa that’s very good. I use the former with the chips and the latter on the burrito.
Yesterday (Saturday) was Cinco de Mayo and Moe’s celebrated accordingly. All burritos were…$5 (naturally). And, the first 100 folks through the door received a “Cinco de Moe’s” T-shirt. We showed up five minutes after they opened at 11 and there was a line out the door but we did get a T-shirt. Since the burritos were specially priced, we each went with their T. Rex of burritos – the Homewrecker. We could only eat half and took the other half for dinner.