Why I Quit Chipotle and What I Eat Instead

I’ve been eating Chipotle most days that I am home for over 10 years. I travel about 30-50% of the year, but during covid I ordered it so much that Chipotle sent me an email to tell me I was in the top 1% of all Chipotle orderers. Even last year, when I traveled a ton, I ordered it 100 times through the app (and more when friends bought, I ordered through doordash, or forgot to scan in person). I even had it catered as the food for my wedding. I think it is an excellent mix of nutrition, taste, convenience, and value.

However, I haven’t eaten a paid meal (more on that later) at Chipotle for two months, and I have no plans on going back. Here’s why, and here’s what I eat instead.

Whenever I come back from a trip, I look forward to eating Chipotle. I often order it at the same time I call my uber, so it’s waiting for me at home. Of course I love the food I eat when traveling, but even still, I look forward to Chipotle. In early January I was coming back from a trip, and I ordered my Chipotle to be delivered.

I opened the bag and saw that there was no guacamole on the bowl. To me, guacamole is the most important part of the bowl (I’d give up meat over guac), so it’s a real bummer to have the bowl without it. Chipotle messes up small parts of the order every once in a while, and I very rarely complain. I remember complaining a couple times during covid, and no times since then. Wrong beans, missing cheese, oddly tiny bowl, wrong rice, salsa I didn’t want? No problem… it happens infrequently enough that I don’t really care.

But no guac… I’m filling out the “how did we do?” form.

I immediately get a reply back. Here’s the relevant excerpt:

…In the meantime, to make up for this, I’ve added an offer for a Free Side Guac to the rewards section of your Chipotle account for you to use within 30 days.

Now, I may lose you here. About 25% of my friends think that this is an appropriate remedy and think I’m crazy for not thinking so. In my mind, though, giving me a tiny coupon for some future order doesn’t compensate for making my meal unenjoyable.

My response:

I appreciate the quick response, but I don’t feel like a free side of
guac is adequate. I order Chipotle nearly every single day I’m home, and
I order it with guac 100% of the time because I don’t enjoy Chipotle
without the guac. It’s like pizza without the cheese.

She immediately writes back:

Thank you for reaching back. I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to you due to that. I’ve removed the free side guac offer that was added to your account for this order and voided $2.82 of this transaction from your card for the missing side guac instead— this pending charge will adjust accordingly upon posting to your account within 3-5 business days.

WHAT? Instead of free guac you’re giving me the value of the guac? I’ll admit that this is petty and totally inconsequential, but at this point I was offended and decided that I wasn’t going to eat at Chipotle anymore.

I wrote back saying that I was one of their most frequent customers and explained why this doesn’t compensate for a messed up meal, but they wrote me back saying there was nothing they could do. I asked for it to be forwarded to a supervisor, and he gave me a copy/paste response about how sorry they are and how seriously they take this issue, and made no mention of any remedy.

Look, I know this is a $15 issue at most. I wouldn’t notice the $15 if they put it back in my bank account. On principle, though, I think it’s insane to deny a free meal to a customer who orders 100+ times per year, never complains, and had a bad experience.

The next day I went to Sprouts and was determined to make an even better meal. I’m principled, but if I’m not going to make my life worse to prove a point to a giant company that definitely doesn’t care at all. Here were my parameters for the meal:

  • It must be made primarily of ready to use products (no chopping, no measuring, no soaking, etc)
  • It must be made of entire bags/cans/packages of ingredients
  • The macronutrients must be roughly 33% each
  • All ingredients must keep for a long time so that I don’t have to plan how much to buy in between trips
  • It must cook in the instantpot in 1 minute (plus heatup / cooldown time)
  • It must cook into even portions (1,2,3, etc… no 2.5 portions)
  • Everything must be as healthy as possible, whole organic / grass fed foods only
  • It must taste ok

I spent over an hour in the grocery store putting different things into my cart and combining them in different ways, adding up the macros and amounts.

I’ll admit that my first attempt was a bit rough (don’t try pressure cooking shrimp), and I’ve tweaked it a bit as I’ve gone, but I now have a meal that is basically the perfect meal if you don’t care how your food tastes. And if you do care, it’s still pretty solid. I call it Warm and Brown.

Ingredients for two servings:

  • One pound grass fed ground beef or lamb
  • One bag frozen organic mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, peas, green beans)
  • One bag frozen fancier vegetables (brussels, bell peppers, mushrooms, red onions)
  • 3/4 cup red lentils (this breaks my no measuring rule, but I just use a 3/4 cup scoop, so it’s still fast)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 packet organic seasoning (I’ve tried a bunch of different ones and they’re all good)
  • Some salt

If you are in a rush or really don’t care what your food tastes like, you can just throw the meat in frozen or refrigerated. The meat will still be really pink, but if you just stir it around it cooks like hot pot by the time you take a bite. I’ve even done this with a frozen brick of lamb and it worked ok.

If you want it to taste much better, put the meat in the fridge the day before so that it thaws, and cook it in the instant pot on saute for a few minutes to brown the meat.

After browning the meat, or without browning it, dump the water and lentils into the pot. Dump the seasoning packet in. Dump the veggies on top. Don’t bother stirring, just set it for a minute. Stir it up and eat half of it.

I live pretty close to Chipotle, but this actually takes less time than going to pick up food. It’s slightly more work than just ordering for delivery, but takes less time and is a little bit cheaper. I think each bowl ends up costing about $10.

After I came up with Warm and Brown I got a random non-sequitur email from Chipotle giving me a free meal. My friend Noah was so incensed by this whole thing that he also reached out to Chipotle and got me another free meal. I ate both of them, but haven’t ordered any more.

Chipotle tastes better than Warm and Brown, but I don’t really miss it. W+B is healthier, just as convenient, more consistent, and doesn’t close on random holidays. I’ll reevaluate my Chipotle boycott in 2025. Whenever Cava comes to Vegas I’ll probably eat that every day because I like it even more than Chipotle.

I’m hoping that some number cruncher at Chipotle decides to look at top customers who suddenly stop ordering and realize that their petty decision to give me guac instead of a meal led me to an even more petty decision to not order there anymore.


Photo is a bowl of Warm and Brown

Superhuman 5 was a blast! Superhuman 6 will be the first weekend of August. You can email me if you want to lock in a spot now, but I’ll write more about it later.

I’ve been feeling a little less burnt out on writing these days… may start posting more frequently…






37 responses to “Why I Quit Chipotle and What I Eat Instead”

  1. Bryan Avatar

    For anyone who is even cheaper and cares more about bodybuilding than taste (although I think it tastes good), I go to a grocery store and get a roast chicken or two, a large cheddar cheese to shred, high fat sour cream, some salsa, and corn tortillas (which are very cheap). You could also get a tomato, lettuce, and guacamole if you want (these things spoil faster). You can make multiple meals out of this in your hotel room, Airbnb or even your vehicle without needing a fork or a plate. I’ve taken these foods from grocery stores and then went to a park picnic table and fed all my friends.

  2. Denny Avatar

    “Warm and Brown”. Good god

    1. Denny Avatar

      I was laughing out loud reading this whole post. Hilariously petty. I love it. I wish you luck on the year!

      If you’re looking for writing ideas, curious how lifestyle changes from travel to at home and possible the OMAD vs not-OMAD if you do/don’t switch it up while traveling. Also curious about your balance of “new travel” vs “my places / adjacent” re the shared properties.

  3. Charlie Avatar

    Good post! Good for you. Mixing things up is good. This definitely sounds healthier. I salute you on Cava, too. That food is great!

  4. Charlie Avatar

    Off topic, have you or any friends of yours thought about the best travel sport coat? If I need to wear slightly more formal/business-y clothes, but I still want to travel light with one bag, do you have any recommendations for where I should read up about that?

    1. Adrian Avatar

      Have you tried Wool & Prince Shirts because in theory, you don’t need to iron them?

    2. Kal Avatar

      Check out Bluffworks’ Gramercy Blazer- wrinkle resistant and machine washable.

  5. Goober Avatar

    I used to eat chipotle everyday for 2 months since I didn’t have a kitchen. It wasn’t the healthiest I could find but i cud taste the oils in the food wernt the best. This however led me to develop Crack Pot Chicken. Something born out of the restrictions of quick and no prep and easy to clean by using one pot.

    just get a small crack pot. Add rice or lentil, enough water for the rice. Then some garlic, tomatoes, 1/2lb choice of meat (i use chicken tenderloins or ground beef because i can throw it in there without prep) Let it cook a while then add your veggies (i get already choped and washed brocolis n califlower or spinaches) of choice in the end if you dont want em overcooked. Then use cumin or tumeric or cajun and salt

    All this takes 25mins or so from prep to serving and costs about $10/meal using entirely fresh organic wholefoods and pasture raised meats. Serving size is much bigger than chipotle and macros is roughly the same. Perhaps more protein than chipotle. Been eating this everyday in SF and never went back to chipotle. My body and wallet thank me.

  6. Austin Avatar

    I used to LOVE Chipotle, maybe approaching your level, but I’ve completely stopped eating there.

    The food quality and service have both deteriorated so much that it’s unrecognizable. RIP. Another example of enshittification, along with Google and so many formerly great things.

    Have you heard about the new restaurant concept Steve Ells is making in NY?


    1. Po Avatar

      Same here. The quality went to shit, and the people they’ve been hiring lately in my upscale part of town are literally high, can barely communicate despite being native English speakers, and still mess up orders while I”m standing in front of them giving direction.

      Costs up. Quality down. Service sucks!

      I can do a better bowl at home, and don’t mind the cooking. It’s rice and beans for heaven’s sake… peasant food IMO>

  7. Matt Avatar

    I can’t quite tell if this is an April fools post or for real?

  8. Brian Jones Avatar
    Brian Jones

    Good for you, though I doubt Chippotel cares. Even the top 1% are just a drop in the ocean for a company like that.

  9. Dave Avatar

    I would beware of eating too homogeneous meals long term. There may be nutritional holes in the diet or maybe too much of certain stuff than is good for you. I was on a 1500 cal diet in 2008-2010 and as part of this I consumed large quantities of sugar free vanilla pudding that I did not realize contains a lot of titanium which I believe caused an illness that resulted in lung surgery and long term health problems.

    1. Tynan Avatar

      I think the fact that these are well balanced whole foods makes me not worried about it. I also eat different meals when I travel or go out with friends. This is probably about 30%-40% of my diet.

  10. erik Huijsmans Avatar
    erik Huijsmans

    April fool for sure!

  11. Charlesz Martel Avatar
    Charlesz Martel

    I completely cracked up at your line ” I’ve gone, but I now have a meal that is basically the perfect meal if you don’t care how your food tastes.”.

    I was raised in France, so I think this throwaway line absolutely perfectly sums up why the French consider Americans barbarians.

    Do t get me wrong- I understand your feelings of frustration and your desire to tell them to F off if they’re going to treat you this way. I’ve felt that way and done similar things.

    But what, exactly, do you consider the point of living? Non-stop bucket listing of experiences to fill up a list with? What do you like to do for the pure simple joy of it?

    Food is, at least for some of us, one of the great sensual pleasures of life. Like Women, reading, making music, creating things, pets, sailing, motorcycles, airplanes, etc.

    You might want to look into the following book sometime:


    The author is a legend in the art of enjoying food.

    I hope I didn’t offend you with this comment, to each his own. But it is a great pity not to learn to enjoy things that we must do daily, several times in some cases, to survive. Why not learn to extract the maximum pleasure possible from them?

    1. Tynan Avatar

      I think this is a good question, and I’m not offended at all.

      If anything, I eat TOO much good food. I travel for 6+ months a year, and most of the time I’m eating incredible food. Vegas also has some of the best restaurants in the world and when people visit me, we go to some of them.

      As much as I enjoy good food, I consider it to be a rather low form of entertainment. It’s purely consumption and it’s not good for you (vs warm and brown). Cooking is a lot better, as it involves a skill and creating something, but I just don’t love cooking personally.

      On the other hand, there is a different type of pleasure to derive from Warm and Brown. It’s satisfying knowing that I’ve fed myself something that’s good for me, that nourishes my body and gives it the best chance at being physically able to do activities I enjoy for the longest amount of time.

      What’s the point of life? I don’t think there is a canonical one, but a heuristic for how well you’re using your time might be the amount of satisfaction you derive from your life. I’d argue that many people chase pleasure in search of satisfaction, and never find it.

  12. E B Avatar
    E B

    This is an extremely useful post. Is there any chance you could post a short video of you preparing this recipe in your Insta pot for those of us who are not cooks or have never used one?

    1. Dan Avatar

      seconded. i think it would be helpful.

  13. Evan b Avatar
    Evan b

    Could you please email me a video of you preparing this recipe? I don’t cook and I need to start learning. I’ve never used an Insta pot. This is an extremely useful post.

  14. Evan b. Avatar
    Evan b.

    Could you please email me a video of you preparing this recipe? I don’t cook and I need to start learning. I’ve never used an Insta pot. This is an extremely useful post.

  15. Jim Avatar

    And you thought you were upset.

    –Chipotle shooting leaves employee injured after guacamole dispute turns violent–


  16. RC Avatar

    I do stuff like this. I fall in love with something, feel an incredible loyalty, and then I’ll turn my back for some petty reason or another. I read this with a huge smile. With further tweaks, perhaps W&B could taste just as good, if not better? This would be the ultimate revenge.

  17. Dave Avatar

    Honestly dude, you’re coming off as a Karen in this post. They forgot an item, and then offered you two different ways to make up for the cost of that item.

  18. RC Avatar

    Faux Dave Chappelle, I don’t think Tynan is being a Karen about this. It’s silly of Chipotle to treat a meal like a bunch of unrelated components (especially when it’s a burrito bowl!). His entire meal was messed up and he should have been given a full refund on the first pass. It’s like complaining about finding a hair in your food and then receiving a dollar off for just that one bite. It’s an insultingly miserly corporate move and I have boycotted people and companies for far lesser reasons.

  19. John X Avatar
    John X

    The service / staff training at Chipotle is the underlying problem. I don’t know whether it’s because they’ve tried to expand so fast or they’re having trouble hiring, but I’ve noticed a trend of dirty stores, incorrect orders (both in-store and online delivery/pickup), and inconsistent orders (e.g., one visit a carnitas burrito will have what feels like a pound of meat in the shape of a ball, the next it will be a quarter of the amount and burnt) pretty much every single time I visit. In Boston recently I noticed one of the stores had an ant hill *inside* the store under a dining table.

  20. Angus Avatar

    Chipotle doesn’t make sense from a cost, convenience _or_ taste point of view. I make 5 meals at a time in my pressure cooker for 20 minutes work. 4-5 minutes/meal. Nothing can beat that

    1. Dan Avatar

      really? i’d love if you could share what you do. i bought an instant pot a year ago but never used it b/c i found it too overwhelming.

  21. Brian Avatar

    Oh man, they stiffed you!

    I got 5 vouchers for free meals way back when (10 years ago?) when I gave them a compliment LOL

  22. James Avatar

    Tynan, I only read your blog infrequently, maybe twice a year or so, but reading this my first thought was – “It’s time for this guy to get serious about cooking!”

    If you barely worked last year, you surely have time for it in your daily routine. Would you enjoy it? I would guess so, if you find the right cuisine to mesh with your interests/palette.

    For me it’s Sichuan food… I love the flavour profiles, and also the thing that you get with most Chinese food where you meticulously prepare all of the ingredients before you start. Anyway that’s just me…

  23. Manity Avatar

    Not going to lie, this whole thing comes off as someone who’s rich enough to order out food every single day for years until there’s a little mistake, and when you didn’t get the preferential treatment you thought you deserved, you took your ball and went home. I guess welcome to cooking meals at home like the rest of us?

  24. Abc Avatar

    What an embarrassing example of how the quality of most things drops over time. I’m talking about the blog..

    1. Adrian Avatar

      I’m looking forward to the next comment lol.

  25. Alan Avatar

    I myself like the pettiness, and agree that a mistake puts the entire quality of the meal on the line.
    Now I will say, it’s one thing to not really enjoy cooking, and another to not want to chop that much! But I think cooking can quickly become a hobby very quickly & I think it’s good to be conscious of that.
    I recently was doing meal prep with ground beef and a can of vindaloo sauce, & I realised if I ditched the onion fry and just added a bunch for garlic powder I saved myself a bunch of hassle & cut fat from the recipe. I will often just add green onions on top anyway at serving. If anything it tasted better.

  26. Jon Avatar

    I haven’t looked into this deeply, but I’ve read that some of the ingredients and food prep that Chipotle does may not be healthy, so it could be a good thing you found an alternative anyway. It might end up being better for you.


    I’m surprised that you don’t cook all of the time. May I recommend that you read the chapter about cooking bread in the book The Man Who Ate Everything. The author, in this chapter at least, reminds me of you.

  28. MICHAEL Avatar

    I’m surprised that you don’t cook all of the time. May I recommend that you read the chapter about cooking bread in the book The Man Who Ate Everything. The author, in this chapter at least, reminds me of you.

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