We all remember last fall when Chipotle debuted its long-anticipated queso -- only to find out it was an absolute ques-woe.
So this next news from Business Insider comes with little surprise: the fast-casual chain is currently tweaking the recipe.
"The feedback we've gotten on queso is that there's still some opportunity to improve," Brian Niccol, Chipotle's CEO, told the pub in one of the biggest understatements of all time.
Turns out, this isn't the first time Chipotle has revised the recipe, which is touted as free of artificial ingredients and industrial additives. Last November, the company invited Business Insider to its test kitchen in Manhattan where reporters tried its newest batch. The publication said the queso was less "grainy" -- we also complained about the gritty, chalky texture in our video review -- and spicier than they remembered.
While any improvement is great, I still see a big problem with this approach: the company isn't asking for expert opinions.
Before the queso launch last year, Chipotle said it tested the cheesy product at its New York City kitchen and 350 restaurants in Southern California and Colorado -- not exactly the meccas of queso excellence. (In fact, some Texpats I know have been rightfully disappointed when they order queso outside their native state and receive a side of shredded cheese. Technically, not incorrect, but oh so wrong.)
So what's one easy way Chipotle can fix its queso conundrum? Ask the Lone Star State for help.
In Texas, where melted cheese flows like waterfalls, we have exceptionally refined queso palates. Last spring, GuideLive even ran a poll featuring more than 20 restaurants in North Texas with crave-worthy bowls of queso and crowned Torchy's Tacos, now a Texas export (you're welcome), the winner.
Now, we're not sure that Torchy's delicious green chile queso is void of processed cheese -- and frankly, we don't care -- but if we're comparing the goods, here are some hard facts:
- Chipotle charges $5.85 for a 6-ounce serving of queso (plus chips) worth 1,270 calories
- Torchy's charges $6.44 for an 8-ounce serving of queso (plus chips) worth 664 calories
I'm not mathematician, but seems like Torchy's is better on both the belt and the budget. And that's just one example.
So if Chipotle is hellbent on doing this right, Niccol and company need come experience some Southern hospitality and real bowl of what they're trying to make.
Otherwise, don't mess with queso.