Burrito Doubleheader: Part One – Crystal City

Crystal City Chipotle

Crystal City Chipotle

Purposefully got started nice and early this week in preparation for back to back burrito nights for an already packed week with a “Southern Gentleman” visiting. This visit was in fact planned so much on the fly, that Aaron had already made his dinner and eaten it too; therefore, he could only manage a “snack” of tacos.

Aaron's tacos

Carnitas bite!

Due to the extreme level of famishment I was feeling by our arrival at 9pm, I ate maybe the best tasting barbacoa burrito ever rolled into a steamed tortilla, and closed out the foursome of meats in one fell swoop.

VIP Seating

VIP Seating

Unfortunately due to early cleaning for the night, we were too late to sit in the VIP section, a strange hovel of tables tucked into what is basically a hole in the wall separate from the rest of the dining area. I am quite sure that it is the most coveted seating to the power-lunchers of Crystal City, that is if they aren’t taking advantage of this well organized take-out only window complete with it’s own entrance. This area of Arlington and in particular this Chipotle strike me as a place where people come to work and commute home versus live and play after-hours. I have spent scant time there in comparison to

Take-out window

Take-out window

the Wilson Blvd. corridor; but when I do go, it always seems to be oddly deserted despite the density of high-rise apartment buildings along Route 1. Though in that two square block area there is a great density of bars and restaurants, I’ll be damned if there ever seems to be any foot traffic. The second half of my theory on this is that everyone is driving and parking in one of Crystal City’s many parking garages. Which leads me to my point of if you do choose to drive down there, DON’T PARK HERE. Despite the online proclamations that it is free after 8pm on weekdays, we paid five dollars to get out of this labyrinthine car dungeon which apparently was designed by M.C. Escher.

Crystal City Parking

Parking Labrinyth

This location also brought to mind something that has been festering for me since this journey began. There is simply no way for a person, me, to take pictures inside and outside of a Chipotle without looking like an asshat pretty much every time. So when two innocent bystanders were sitting in the shot below the bizarre sculpture of the Aztec warrior ironically “riding” a dragon, I just couldn’t bring myself to call attention to the fact I found that funny by unleashing the flash of my camera. If you get there though, look out for it on the back wall, you will chuckle, guaranteed.

Bar seating

Bar seating

  • Today’s menu: Barbacoa burrito with black beans, green and red-tomatillo salsa,  corn-salsa, cheese, s/c, and lettuce.
  • Aboriginal on mythical creature suggestive art: A
  • Seating arrangement: C (Clearly designed to get people in and out with most seating at the bar along the bank of windows.)
  • Outside appearance: C- (Built into a monolithic office complex reminiscent of Soviet era Eastern Europe, not very Chipotle-like.)

Location tip: My only true experience with this area was the miserable three weeks I interned with the U.S. Marshal’s Personnel Office in school. I was responsible for filing every single U.S. Marshal’s Lautenberg Amendment carbon-paper form for the last 8 years in the corresponding personnel file in an enormous file room. I was the first lucky intern they had ever had, who for three weeks was the sucker used to clean out six boxes of forms that no one had ever found important enough to touch. I wish I had thought to brighten my lunch hour at Chipotle rather than weeping into my PB&J sandwich.

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