Southern & Jewish
Southern & Jewish celebrates the stories, people, and experiences – past and present – of Jewish life in the American South. Hosted by the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, posts come from educators, students, rabbis, parents, artists, and many other “visitors-to and daily-livers-of” the Southern Jewish experience. From road trips to recipes to reflections, we’ll explore a little bit of everything – well, at least all things Southern and/or Jewish. Shalom, y’all!
In our Southern and Jewish blog, we usually focus on topics that are… well, Southern and Jewish. This one might seem a little random, but it springs from our time on the road as Education Fellows, and a shared food obsession. Also, last week Bethany & Arielle’s boss wrote about his specific-sandwich craving during the Passover Pilgrimage, and this seems a fitting follow up. So here it is—two nice Jewish girls’ stories and rankings of getting our Chipotle fixes while on the road in the South!
When we moved to Jackson in 2014 to begin our ISJL Education Fellowship, we were both coming from college campuses where our respective Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants were a mere stone’s throw away. For Bethany, American University was just a 0.9 mile walk from a Chipotle, while Arielle’s Chipotle was in the same complex as her Binghamton University apartment. When we arrived in Mississippi and met for the first time two Junes ago, we instantly bonded over our shared love of this restaurant —and our anxiety over Jackson not having a location.
If you have experienced Chipotle, you understand the hype. And if you are a true Chipotle fan, that fall of 2015 E. Coli scare did not phase you. It sure didn’t bother us. Also, just so we’re all on the same page, it’s important for you to know our standing orders*:
- Bethany: Steak burrito bowl: brown rice, black beans, mild salsa, cheese, and guacamole, with a lid** and a fountain drink.
- Arielle: Veggie burrito: brown rice, black beans, fajita veggies, mild salsa, cheese, guacamole, and lettuce.
*We know guac costs extra.
**The lid is important for shaking the contents of your burrito bowl to get an equal distribution of all ingredients.
Over our time here, we have collectively visited TWENTY TWO Chipotle restaurants throughout our 13-state Southern region (this averages out to a little less than one per month in the almost-two years that we’ve lived here). And while we are hopeful that one day, Chipotle will make it to Jackson (as is evidenced by the attached photos that display our groveling to Chipotle corporate), even if we don’t get to benefit from its presence here — we want to pay tribute to, and rank, some of the Chipotles we frequented throughout our Southern travels.
And without further ado, here are the comments and rankings on our most-frequented Chipotle locations.
Feel free to use this as a guide during your upcoming Southern Jewish road trip/Chipotle pilgrimage…
McFarland Boulevard, Tuscaloosa, AL
Arielle: Guacamole is bland. Often runs out of cheese. Otherwise, Chipotle = yay!
Bethany: Bowl was extra spicy but steak was excellent.
Arielle: Rice was burnt. Restaurant’s entrance is plagued by traffic. Wonderfully spiced fajitas.
Bethany: Very quality barbacoa. Mild salsa was watery.
University Avenue, Little Rock, AR:
Arielle and Bethany agree: Reliable and speedy service.
Gate D28, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport:
Arielle: Always fully stocked. Sensible portions.
Bethany: Received half of an overripe avocado in my guacamole once; that was gross.
State Street, Baton Rouge, LA*
Arielle: First Chipotle of the south for me, will always have a soft spot in my heart for it.
Bethany: Met up with a college friend here, best store set-up out of them all!
*This is the Chipotle most frequently visited by ISJL fellows because it is the closest.
All in all, we’re glad our Chipotle quest helped us explore even more of the towns to which we traveled for community visits. It might seem like a small thing, but a taste of something familiar while on the road makes those miles easier and gives us a great pit stop along the way — and, of course, we’re happy to pass on this hard-earned knowledge to the Fellows who follow us and might also be craving their burrito fix!