We first found out in December that Chipotle, the burrito chain that buys a significant portion of its meats from natural producers, will open in Baton Rouge on Highland Road and State Street, much to the delight of burrito lovers and natural foods enthusiasts. Chipotle has been on a tear recently, opening a blitz of new outlets nationwide. The LSU-based store will be the chain's first in Louisiana. It now operates in 45 states.
Chipotle first hit my radar in 2007, when I heard then-marketing chief, Jim Adams, discuss the company's decision to buy only humanely-raised pork at an International Association of Culinary Professionals conference. Company founder Steve Els had casted about for a solution to slow pork sales when he found an article that blamed pork's bland flavor on modern farming and mass production. After working with a small farmer raising pigs the old fashioned way, Els decided using naturally-raised pork was a win-win. Sales began to soar, the company's brand became associated with sustainable farming and a lot of small pig farmers had new options. The morning I heard Adams speak, (he's now a pet food executive), he peppered his presentation with disturbing info about overcrowded hog farms just as platefuls of banquet bacon and eggs arrived before us. Lots of forks were promptly put down.
The company has also committed to using natural beef and is transitioning to using only natural chicken and dairy products. The gluten free crowd also likes Chipotle for its accommodating style. The restaurant will be situated next to a forthcoming Five Guys in the former Blockbuster Video, further signs that this once dreary section of Tiger Town is hitting a new stride. Here's a recent story about how Chipotle's buying power has helped the natural pork market expand. The restaurant should open this summer.
Most recent Spatula Diaries blog posts
How to master the fish fillet
Step-by-step instructions for filleting fresh fish, which is a particularly useful culinary skill for those of us fortunate enough to live in southeast Louisiana.
Social media style
With our cover story featuring 25 must-follow Twitter accounts in Baton Rouge, and examining the growing social media site's impact on the local community, we wondered what Twitter might look like in the flesh—living, breathing, fashionable flesh. Prices are approximate, and price and availability are subject to change. (Styling: Erin Mehta)
Bad Guys, Good Eats! Pop-Up Dinner at Restaurant IPO
Chef and 225 contributor Jay D. Ducote and Chef Chris Wadsworth hosted the Bad Guys, Good Eats! dinner at Restaurant IPO Wednesday night. The dinner was themed around famous movie villains, pairing cocktails and ales with plates of food resembling famous baddies like The Joker, Lord Voldemort, Hannibal Lector, and many others. The highlights of the night were the three middle courses—a black bean soup laced with blood sausage to signify Lord Voldemort, a brace of coneys on black eyed peas resembling Sauron, and lamb medallions atop a fava bean puree to pay homage to the famous favorite of Hannibal Lector.
Elizabeth Arkley Hammett, a local nursing student and Fur Ball co-coordinator, and her husband Grey Hammett III, who works in commercial real estate, will take you through our summer guide. And they'll look good while doing it, too. Where noted, their clothes and accessories are available from local retailers.