Illustration for article titled On its second try, Chipotle manages a perfectly acceptable queso blanco
Photo: Aimee Levitt

This review will not be a comparison of Chipotle’s new Queso Blanco with its now defunct original queso, because I never tried the original queso since I heard it was garbage. The widespread rejoicing over the news that it would be replaced by queso blanco didn’t do much to convince me that I really, really needed to try OG queso at least once before it disappeared forever. I am also not a Texan, so I’ve never had very strong opinions about queso in general. My feeling as a Midwesterner is, it’s really hard to ruin melted cheese.

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So today, queso blanco release day, I walked to my neighborhood Chipotle as a complete blank slate. I ordered chips and queso blanco, and also carne asada tacos because I was concerned that I might regret missing out on them. (Not concerned enough, apparently, to visit a Chipotle during the six months they were available, but whatever.)

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The old queso was made of melted yellow cheese with chili powder. Queso blanco, as its name suggests, is made with white cheese—in this case a mixture of Monterrey Jack and white cheddar. Instead of chili powder, there are actual chiles: serrano, poblano, and chipotle (of course). It comes in a small plastic cup, and it’s served warm, which is a huge plus.

The cheese is smooth, not grainy like I’ve been told Chipotle’s original queso was. The peppers give it a nice kick, enough to tingle, but not burn. It’s not too salty, unlike the chips, which are. It’s very easy to get into a rhythm of dipping and eating without thinking too much about it; the small cup is probably for consumer protection. I don’t think I would crave it if I somehow ended up in a world with no Chipotle, but in this world, it is perfectly acceptable queso.

Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.

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