Dining Out Paleo: Chipotle

Welcome to my Thursday series: Dining Out Paleo 
Every Thursday I post a recent dining out experience and how I chose the best possible options to stay true to my Paleo lifestyle, opting for the freshest and most nutrient dense foods while avoiding grains, sugars, dairy, and soy to the best of my ability.  Unless informed otherwise, I always assume that the restaurant uses vegetable/canola oils for cooking.

This week's dining out experience is at one of my favorite places to stop and grab food when I am going, going, going back and forth between the high desert and the Westside of Los Angeles.  Which I seem to do quite a bit.


As soon as I exit onto the 14 freeway from I-5 N, my mouth starts watering for rich flavorful guacamole and my eyes begin scanning for the Golden Valley exit.  Well, first my eyes scan for the CHP who love to get cozy roadside along this route, then they stay peeled for my favorite exit.

Chipotle food is quick, tasty, and healthy!  Spend some time on the Chipotle YouTube page watching their videos on local sourcing and sustainability.  We've all seen the warm fuzzy invoking "Back From The Start", but here's one you might not have watched yet:

Food with integrity.  Thoughtful food.  Food with an identity.  Food that is fresh and locally sourced.  All served in a fast food time span.  Even on days with the longest of lines, I am sitting and eating in a much shorter time than I could make it through the nearest drive-thru.

So what to eat??  According to Chipotle, there are over 60,000 combinations of flavors.  (Am I the only one who reads the back of my cup?)  The salads are the best (and I think biggest, most filling) option.  Be aware that Chipotle cooks their meats and veggies with soybean oil.  The only meat option that is free of soybean oil is the carnitas.  If you're following the Whole30 this is your most viable meat option.

This most recent visit I ordered as follows:

"Carnitas Salad.  No beans.  Scoop of mild sauce.  Scoop of hot sauce.  Guacamole.  Yes, I know it is a dollar extra.  I would still like it, thank you.  Additional lettuce."

The salads come with a small cup of honey-vinaigrette, but for me the guacamole and tenderness of the meat add more than enough moisture to my hearty meal.  The salads are huge and can be easily shared or split in half for a second meal.  Sometimes I've been known to order extra scoops of salsa, sometimes a double order of meat.  I may never come close to successfully tasting 60,000 flavor combinations but I'm more than overjoyed with dazzling my taste buds in my usual 2 or 3 ways.

Chipotle's barbacoa is probably my favorite meat option, followed a close second by the carnitas.  The lettuce and veggies are bright and fresh.  The romaine used for the salad base is always crisp and a bright healthy green.  Every so often I'll add the veggie fajitas (soybean oil and all) onto my salads.  If you happen to be primal/dairy consuming folk, the sour cream and cheese are from pastured cows.  Happy burritos come from happy cows?  Or something.  No... I just don't think that's how it goes.

If you're a mom with hungry (non-Paleo) kids, Chipotle offers a simple kiddie menu including tacos and quesadillas.  Or even better, just split your salad!  Everyone can be happy on that ride home after soccer or gymnastics or a killer session of CrossFit Kids.

Buen apetito, y'all!

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