Chipotle, 123 Front Street

Date 45: Chipotle, often solo, but sometimes with colleagues

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Chipotle, at 123 Front Street West #103, Toronto; call (416) 703-0030

I wasn’t sure about counting this one because one of the 100 Date mandates is the meal must be with another living breathing person. Then I realize that there were several times in which I had Chipotle with a colleague, like Jenn, Aiwen, Rachael and Conrad. Also, I probably had Chipotle 30 times this summer, and really it was an important meal for me. So I think it’s worth writing about.  After all, this feature is supposed to be about important meals.

Chipotle first popped up on my radar when one opened in a shopping center across from the Chevy Chase Bank in Rosslyn, Virginia, where I was a bank teller in 2003. Later that year I bought a bunch of burritos on my way home from work for my brother and I to eat while we watched DVDs of Fellowship of the Ring and Two Towers right before seeing a midnight showing of Return of the King. I guess I was 22 at the time. My brother was still in high school.

Cut to May, 2013.

My work has a policy of paying for our meals if we stay past nine. Early in the summer, during my rotation in litigation, I usually stayed until eleven or midnight. Hence, I went to Chipotle a lot.

Those were days when I was still getting used to the new job. I was still getting used to a lot of new things. I was tender.

Every night

The walk over to Chipotle at around seven or eight always marked the beginning of the night. Many of the lawyers had gone home by that point, but my night was just beginning.  I’d walk the two blocks over to Front Street, letting my mind clear and wander in a way it just couldn’t during the day.  Then I’d enter the friendly and familiar confines of  Chipotle.  (I’m aware of how absurd this sounds)

I got to know most of the staff there, and was often comped chips and guacamole or a drink.  I tried to explain that I wasn’t really paying for it, and it was really just a transfer of wealth from Chipotle to my law firm, but it didn’t really stick.  I had a month-long flirtation with one of the employees.

My order was almost always a burrito, chips and guacamole and a small drink (coke zero with lots of lemon).

Listen, Chipotle isn’t fine dining by any stretch.  And the salt levels are definitely too high.  But everything is freshly made, the staff is  friendly, and it’s enough food to get you through the night.  I’d usually eat the chips and guac early in the evening and eat the burrito around nine or ten.

I had some truly incredible meals this summer: Mas (la grillade), Wallflower, Pizza Libretto, and on and on.  But Chipotle was the taste of the summer for me.  Sometime during this seemingly endless stream of burritos the summer wore on, I learned a new trade, met new friends, kissed a girl who thinks I’m wonderful, and finally I surprised myself.  Chipotle was a constant during this.

The thing I love about Lord of the Rings is how, as the journey goes on, you lose track of how things began and when you get to the end, you feel like you’ve changed along the characters.