Tuesday, July 31, 2007
A menu as big as my head!Fast food has come a long way in recent years. For my generation, fast food during our childhood years (when fast food is always at it’s best) consisted of burgers, burgers, and burgers. Pizza took more than 30 minutes for delivery, you didn’t have too many options, and life was drab.
Today, fast food has evolved in rapid fashion. You can choose what you eat, where you eat, and how you eat, and the list of options seems endless. Things are specialized s restaurants find their niche, drive it to your television and magazines with advertising, and hope you walk in the door with cash in hand.
With those changes comes good and bad. Finding a wealth of poor choices, especially for those of us with families on the go, is all too easy. Maybe it was my lack of knowledge or my desire to stick with the lessons I learned as a youth, but I failed to realize just how many choices there were… but Qdoba has changed my view.
A few short weeks ago, Scott from Qdoba dropped me a line and suggested we give it whirl. He sent some menus and vouchers for meals with a simple suggestion: “Check us out, I think you’ll be glad you did.”
To be honest, my view of Qdoba up to that point was fairly limited. I had been there once shortly after they opened their first store in our area and walked away with a simple impression. As had become the rave in fast food, Qdoba offered burritos that weighed as much as a roll-off dumpster, stuffed with various ingredients that were certainly filling but left little to be desired in terms of variety. If you liked enormous burritos, you couldn’t go wrong. If not, you went elsewhere.
Much to my surprise, unlike other restaurants that shoot for the same vein, Qdoba has moved on and discovered the rewards of choice.
My husband and I opened the menu Scott had provided, and while the burritos were there in all of their glory (they are damn good burritos), there was so much more. Soups, salads, quesadillas, nachos, tacos, and various other offerings led us to believe we should put the dated opinions of this restaurant behind and give it a go. We cleaned the slate, talked the kids into leaving the Xbox for a while, and took a drive.
After a short drive to the closest spot, we were standing in front of the site and made one immediate observation. “This place is pretty big.” Similar eateries tend to keep the dining space available onsite to a minimum, maybe a few indoor stools along a dining bar with a handful of tables. Qdoba offers a full-size dining room complete with the dining bar but also accentuated with booths, dining tables, and plenty of space for many to enjoy their meals without feeling rushed to do so. “I’ll guess we’ll eat here, huh?” my husband asked (he’s a total homebody… getting him to leave the house is like getting Bush to leave Iraq… it doesn’t happen). Mark one win for Qdoba.
We entered to review the menu, and to our shock and amazement, there stood before us a specialized menu… for children. A kid’s menu… I won’t repeat what my lovely-but-salty tongued husband stated, but needless to say we were both pleasantly surprised. In recent years, there has been a dramatic rise in what I like to call the “upscale” fast food restaurant. These places offer food aimed at pleasing adults and the appetites adults will bring and seek to calm. The vast majority of these eateries rarely, if ever, offer any options that would work for children. Qdoba has an entire menu dedicated to the mouths of our children, a definitive bonus for a family on the go. Don’t believe me? Try this… go to a similar place and try to talk yourself AND your kids into eating a burrito that weighs more than their overloaded book bags from school. Experience that and then tell me you wouldn’t rather have the options of tacos or quesadillas.
My husband is on a restrictive diet and tends to stress trips to almost any restaurant. He’s not allowed to eat anything spicy, fried, or based in tomatoes. Despite the concerns, he was easy to please, ordering a Vegetarian Burrito. I decided to go out of my own comfort zone and selected the Mexican Gumbo. My oldest picked up an order of nachos while our youngest picked cheese quesadillas.
Clean and comfy atmosphere, food made quickly to our liking right in front of us, something for us all to enjoy… it was a wonderful experience. Qdoba has raised the bar on “fast” food, though it may not be fair to label them as such. Your grub gets done as quickly, if not more so, than most fast food joints, but there is no comparison in terms of flavor, service, and quality. My hubby was beyond happy, being able to eat out without worrying about his dietary and health issues. Our kids didn’t have to be conned into meals they didn’t want and we didn’t have to stress the waste of food and money on two meals for our children. I had options so many restaurants in this position fail to offer.
I struggle to list a negative from the entire experience. That is rare for a wife, mother of two, and lover of good food. If you have kids or not, this is an excellent option for a great meal at a reasonable cost, and the options beyond that are nothing short of refreshing.