It’s Thanksgiving here in the United States, which basically rhymes with food coma. Of course, it also means that the campus cleared out pretty rapidly yesterday, the Mid-American Oireachtas is in full swing, and I got stuck in my first traffic jam while transporting a friend and myself back to Columbus. Anyway, I figured what better way to end the festivities than with a[nother] blog post about food. Welcome to the inaugural Building a Better Burrito post. A lot has been going on in my life that I’m not proud of, and I’ve had some friends express similar sentiments. Whether we’re overworked, overthought, or overapplied, there comes a time in everybody’s lives when we will look down at our burritos and wonder, “Is this really what’s right for me?” Alternatively, if you’ve spent years perfecting the perfect order and feel it really must not be altered, maybe it’s time to ask, “What does my food say about me?” Ladies and Gents, meine Damen und Herren, Madames et Messieurs…this is your answer.
I’ve been working at Agave for about three months. I have worked many different shifts–some short, some long, some excruciating–and, let me tell you, the only thing more boring than closing on a Monday night is closing on a Monday night during a hurricane. The roof had blown off the Science Center on campus, the student union closed early to discourage students from walking about during the storm, and an e-mail was issued advising students to remain indoors. Not turned off by any old torrential downpour and gale-force winds, Agave remained open on the off chance that some stray soul would be stricken with hunger and wander on in. The souls that did wander in were indeed feral. It was like working during some post-apocalyptic nightmare. Patrons stumbled in breathless, saturated, and tousled. Their shoulders were still hunched against some nonexistent, windy assault. The way their wide eyes shifted around the empty dining room and the way their clammy fingers gripped the ledge of the counter hinted at the greater horror of what awaited someone who dared step into the flooded abyss. Every once in a while, the inner door blew shut with all the force of a gunshot, reminding us that we were only safe as long as the windows held firm…
Okay, so it wasn’t really that exciting. I spent most of the night making messes on purpose just so I had something to clean, and then narrating the cleaning process in my best film noir voice. I did, however, come up with this brilliant idea, which was to begin telling people’s fortunes by the way the spinach fell off their mountainous nachos, or by where a scoop of guac landed after tumbling off the actual burrito. (Two leaves of spinach? You will meet a tall, dark stranger. Guac in the cheese? Oh, that’s a real doozy. I would recommend not getting that haircut this afternoon.) Since my unwilling guinea pigs that night seemed to be more creeped out than amused by my fortune telling, I altered the idea slightly. The new plan was to compile some sort of complicated algorithm to read people’s personalities from their food orders. This could be useful in many different ways. For example: Is your date a douche? They asked for extra meat but didn’t want to pay for it. The answer is probably, but what does it mean that they also got a little bit of sweet potatoes? Continue reading to find out…
There are many different things you can order at Agave as a base for the rest of your meal. Due to the fact that quesadillas cannot be custom made without spending more money, I have decided to omit them from this study. Sides like beans & rice are also unincluded for the same reasons. Perhaps future research will reveal their meaning.
Burrito: A burrito says that you are confident and fun, but perhaps a bit foolhardy. You are confident that this 12″ tortilla will stretch enough to fit all your favorite fixings inside without breaking. You are confident that my tiny hands can roll your food well enough to facilitate its consumption. You are confident that you can fit this infant-sized behemoth into your gob. And, if you are getting it to-go and you refuse my offer for a fork and some napkins, you are confident you can do this without the use of napkins or a fork. Even if things go wrong and you make a mess, it’s not gonna matter because you’re all gonna laugh about it later, right? While your confidence is inspiring to some, it can seem unwarranted to others. Your excitement and willingness to take any situation head on has the potential to hurt even those very close to you. Some people do cry over spilled chipotle salsa, so be sensitive. Enjoy your burrito, but try to incorporate humility and consideration in other aspects of your life, or you risk coming off as too much of a bull.
Nachos: Whatever the size, nachos show you like an adventure. If you request the chips on the side, you like to travel in luxury. It’s first class flights and star-rated hotel rooms for you. There’s no shame in treating yourself, of course. Who wants soggy nachos? Or maybe you’ve figured out that you get more chips that way… But, if you’re up for a hunt, here’s one form of mountain top removal that actually nourishes instead of destroying. Each loaded chip removed from the pile reveals resources more and more beautiful. You never know what awaits in the center of a nacho mountain. Except, considering that your nachos are custom made, maybe you do. Regardless, you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty. Those who finish super nachos have a little extra determination flowing through their veins. They are committed. Just make sure you know what they’re committed to before you decide that’s a good quality to have.
Salad/Bowl: You like to play it safe. You’ve been to Chipotle and these things sound familiar to you. Even better, you can use a fork and even a knife without shame, and there is a nice little rim around the bowl if you eat in the restaurant that can catch any grains of rice that think it’d be cool to try and escape your raging hunger. Should the occasion arise (and it really could be any occasion), you can actually set your food down without worrying about picking it up again. You like to take your food as slowly and carefully as you take your life. Bowls and salads are neat and healthy…very simple. Just be wary that you don’t hide too much of your sloppy side from the world. Remember that imperfections can be endearing, and a little ring of rice around your plate when you lift it off the table can be a humorous talking point. Sauce dripping down your chin, rather than being scary, can provide an opportunity for extra closeness. There’s nothing wrong with a little caution, just make sure you don’t let your fear of embarrassment distance you from potential friends.
Tacos: You’re either low or high maintenance, depending on the amount of tacos and ingredients you put into them. If you get one or two tacos that you can fold over without stress, you are either in a hurry or you are easy to please. People like to be around you because you’re smooth and sexy, but you can also be hard to read. If you rush between social groups too much, it can be hard to get too close to you. You may find later that you’re in-and-out tendencies have left you lacking true social supports. Don’t be afraid to slow down and take the time to nourish your body and your soul. Now, if you get any more than two tacos, you’re the kind of person who likes to watch other people go out of their way for you, especially if your request is bordering on ridiculous. You love attention. Portions for a burrito flop off the spoon with remarkable ease. Portions for tacos must be carefully eyeballed and painstakingly arranged on the shell, lest the food explode forth as you take your first bite. Your server’s close attention to the every detail of your requests makes you feel appreciated and worthy, like you matter. However, as much as you enjoy watching other people work to please you, you possess a patience that is to be admired. Tacos are not fast food. You are loyal, and you are forgiving. Those hard shells only fit so much before they break, after all, and it’s not your server’s fault you asked for everything but the kitchen sink.
Seeing that it is a universal truth that all basics at Agave have the potential of being beyond delicious, I will posit that we humans possess qualities of taco-eaters as well as burrito-lovers, nachovores as well as salad-fiends. My advice to you is to really take a look at your circumstances while you’re waiting in line. Do you want to see how big your mouth is and/or really tear into something? Try a burrito. Has it been a long time since your last vacation and/or since you buried that treasure on a remote offshore island? Try exploring Mt. Nacho. Do you crave relaxation and a stress-free moment? Burrito bowl or a salad. Do you need pampering but kind of want to make a mess of something without ruining your life? Tacos.
So, there you have it. Agave has the base food for any mood. You really can’t go wrong. (Unless you order three hard shell tacos. I may just hate you forever then.) I hope you have enjoyed this psychoanalytical evaluation of your food choices. Tune in next time for The Proteins.