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.
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.)
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.