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Hello to all the haters and losers of which, sadly, there are many. The entire country was on pins and needles waiting to see what kind of queso Chipotle would come out with, since everything else they do is amazing and delicious. Within days of the queso being released in stores, the complaints started emerging about it. It’s grainy. It’s bland. It’s garbage. Hogwash. Chipotle has always tried to differentiate itself from other build-your-own-burrito fast casual restaurants like Moe’s, Qdoba, and Barberitos, and its queso is no different.
Most restaurant queso uses either white American cheese or any other kind of soft, white cheese. That’s the queso most of us are used to. However, Chipotle took a different route with its ingredients, as seen here. They picked aged cheddar, a much more flavorful albeit harder cheese that needs to be dispersed with starches. This explains any grainy texture you may encounter. In fact, anyone who has made simple homemade cheese dip at home knows that when you mix a salsa with a hard cheese like cheddar, you’re not going to get the smooth creamy texture you get with a soft white cheese.
That said, the aged cheddar, freshly chopped tomatillos, tomatos, bell, jalapeño, and poblano peppers, and smoked chipotle chilis add a tasty flavor that is unique to Chipotle, as opposed to queso elsewhere that rarely goes past melting the cheese, only occasionally adding peppers. It’s not the best queso ever, but it is certainly good queso and doesn’t deserve the hate it is getting. One recommendation I would like to make would be adding the option to add chorizo to your queso. Not like a secret menu thing, an actual menu item. Or raise the price and have chorizo in there by default. Queso con chorizo forever.
There are only a few explanations I can think of that could possibly lead people to hate Chipotle’s new queso. Either they had very lofty expectations as Chipotle excels in everything they do, including E. Coli, and it didn’t live up to expectations. Maybe they got a bad batch with too much milk, which would dilute the tastiness of the aged cheddar and spices. Maybe they’re Qdoba people, who always bash Chipotle and just wanted another reason to complain about it. Monsters. Or maybe they’re just unfamiliar with any style of queso that is not queso blanco.
Whatever the reason is, Chipotle is getting far too much hate for good, reasonably priced queso, which they’ve given the explicit option of putting on your entree or having on the side with chips. It’s good, unique queso. The only improvement I can think of is adding chorizo, as people would likely eat tubs of the stuff and turn around the company. Name a more iconic duo than queso and chorizo. I’ll wait. Hopefully as time goes by and the stores perfect the ingredient ratios, the haters will disappear and Chipotle will return to dominance as the top burrito place in the country..
Image via Chipotle