Last September was a simpler time. It didn’t seem like it, but it was. For one thing, there was no pandemic. And there were pockets of joy, like Chipotle’s introduction of carne asada to its menu. “It was so tender it didn’t require the use of a little plastic knife,” Allison Robicelli wrote in her review, “and it’s explosively flavorful, with an electric streak of acidic lime juice and the bright sunshine of fresh cilantro.” The masses agreed: carne asada was the fastest-selling new protein in company history.
Chipotle took carne asada away at the end of February—around the same time the pandemic reached the U.S.—citing supply chain difficulties and tried to appease us with queso blanco. It didn’t work. One is meat. The other is cheese. They are not the same.
Now, however, Chipotle is bringing back carne asada. The difficulties of the past year have taught the company not to promise more than it can deliver—a good lesson for all of us—and, in a press release, it stresses that the return of carne asada is only temporary. I mean, “for a limited time”! (That sounds much more urgent and important.) Chipotle, at least according to the press release, undertook an extensive search to find farmers to provide beef that met its stringent standards: no antibiotics, no hormones, happy cows. “Our fans love our Carne Asada because they can taste the care and culinary expertise that goes into this recipe from farm to bowl,” explained Chris Brandt, the company’s chief marketing officer.
If you are a Chipotle Rewards member, you can get it today. If you are not, you’ll have to wait till tomorrow, when carne asada will be available in both the U.S. and Canada through the Chipotle website and digital app only, but if you are, for whatever reason, resistant to using the internet to order burritos, you can get it in restaurants starting Monday. (Carne asada is also making its debut in France. What will the French think of it, I wonder?)
Will carne asada bring back the peace we knew last fall and winter? Oh, don’t answer that, it was meant to be rhetorical. Just enjoy your steak while it lasts. Chipotle didn’t say exactly how limited its time is, but as we all know, life is short and pleasure is fleeting, so take it while you can.