The Executive Order: Parsing President Obama's Lunch at Chipotle

We spoke with Monica, who was behind the counter at the Woodley Park Chipotle when the president arrived earlier today.

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The serenity of the Monday lunch hour was shattered when President Barack Hussein Obama walked into a Chipotle. In the early afternoon, the commander-in-chief dined at the Woodley Park location, famed for being the finest Chipotle in D.C. There were many revelatory moments of his meal at the fast-casual pioneer. Let's take a look at this urgent development:

First, there was the immediate report that the president had gaffed, quite crucially:

It's Chipotle, not Chipotle's

Americans, as denizens of a country whose governmental departments and posts are laden with grammatically-confusing names (Joint Chiefs of Staff, Veterans Affairs), might be able to forgive a mistake of such a normcore variety.

It seems important to note that this very Dad-like mistake came during a lunch to encourage American employers to adopt more family-friendly policies. Perhaps, we'll hear from conspiracy theorists about whether this assault on the American middlebrow is a false flag. Another theory:

The Executive Order

All problems with optics can be erased, quite forcefully, with the appropriate executive order. A steak burrito is the shock and awe of Chipotle maneuvers. Braised carnitas crispy tacos is a mercurial selection of wily, Gaddafi-esque proportions (you know, minus the pork).

So what would he do here?

Oof. Naturally this decision seemed destined to cause some PR headaches.

We spoke with Monica, who was behind the counter at the Woodley Park Chipotle when the president arrived earlier today. First, she let us know that no one had any idea that the leader of the free world would be dropping by. When President Obama says "the bear is on the loose," he really means it.

She also clarified the order: As reported, it was, in fact, a Chicken Burrito Bowl. She added that it included white rice, tomatoes, salsa verde (the medium spicy salsa), lettuce, cheese, and, most importantly, guacamole. The matter of the guacamole, an added expense and by some accounts an unnecessary luxury, is sure to rile the fast-casual partisans.

What It All Means

The Burrito Bowl represents the absolute middle ground of a Chipotle order. It's not as prosaic as a salad, but not nearly as imposing as a burrito. (Soft tacos or brown rice would have been immediately condemned.) On the surface, this order befits a presidency that has been seen as too measured, calculating, centrist, and a bit passionless.

However, as an advocate of the Chicken Burrito Bowl, I'd personally like to argue that this order represents the will of the people. A very informal survey recently showed that a Burrito Bowl with chicken is the most popular item at the restaurant (and very well should be.)

It's also more in line with Michelle Obama's healthy eating initiative than a steak burrito, which clocks in at 1,200 calories when fully loaded. As the Chipotle franchise continues to grapple with a shortage of organic beef, the conventionally raised option might have projected weakness. 

Nevertheless, at a time when the perch of the American worker remains so precarious, any reminder of an enterprise where the assembly line still creates jobs and prosperity should trump all.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.