If you’re on Route 9 in Framingham running errands and crave a quick Mexican lunch or dinner, try Chipotle Mexican Grill. Located in Shopper’s World (that’s the one where Office Depot, TJ Maxx, and DSW Shoes are located), it’s a place where the Route 9 crowd converges, from parents with toddlers to area workers looking for a quick bite. The concrete floors and hard, modern materials within mirror the concrete jungle outside, and loud but tuneful enough music keeps the vibe energetic and casual. I’ve been there three times in the past several weeks during the lunch rush and was greeted with a line that stretched to the door on each occasion. The staff moves it along, however, and some customers actually seemed dismayed that they didn’t get a chance to deal with all their texts and emails before it was suddenly their turn.
My favorite meal lately is a salad made up of a chopped romaine lettuce base topped with black beans, chicken, mild salsa, cheese, and guacamole. The menu informed me that the calorie count for my meal was 170 -780, so I was either really virtuous or a dieting train wreck. Last time, I made it through 3/4 of my meal, so I either consumed about 120 calories (great, I’ll be starving by 4:00 p.m.) or 600 calories (disaster, why did I agree to the guacamole?). If a salad isn’t what you’re after, the menu also includes burritos and tacos, each with equally inscrutable calorie counts.
Chipotle seems serious about bringing everybody to the table. They are zealous about accommodating people with dietary restrictions. The menu says, “We use no peanuts, tree nuts, or any other kind of nuts in our food.” If you are gluten-free, they are there to serve you. If you are dairy-free, they point out that only their cheese and sour cream contain dairy. Vegetarians can do well here, and even vegans have a fighting chance.
The view from my window-seat perch was nothing special, just that of my car parked under the blazing hot sun along with every other car carefully lined up in orderly rows, but there is a rather nice outside seating area, where I swear I felt a breeze as I left. Hey, it’s no McDonalds’s I thought as I left, patting myself on the back. Then I remembered. Doesn’t McDonald’s put out a tasty lobster roll this time of year? Maybe I’m not so high and mighty after all. Just might have to go see if I’m perhaps lovin’ it. DB
Kugel’s Deli, located on Route 9 westbound in Trolley Square, bills itself as a New York style deli, and serves breakfast all day. My dining companion and I tried them out on a weekday for lunch. The cozy dining area was serving everyone from business people tapping away on their laptops to grandmas pushing their walkers.
The bacon cheeseburger with fries, $7.99, disappeared quickly and was pronounced good. I was less satisfied with my order, an open-faced grilled caprese sandwich on whole wheat ($5.99). The bread looked like it had spent the briefest of spells in the toaster and the tomato was just your regular supermarket-in-February variety rather than the high-summer kind it should have been, given that it was July.
But why did I go and order such fanciness at a New York-style deli anyway, when what I should have been trying out was the pastrami or the reuben or something? Because they sent me in that direction, that’s why. Sure you can get knishes or matzo ball soup there, but the fact is, a third of the menu is devoted to wraps and other items a true New York deli would scoff at.
So although Kugel’s bills itself as one thing, they are actually devoting much of their energy to a palate that doesn’t generally make room for whitefish salad.
Sure, we’d try it again. But next time I would ignore the specials board and go for the real deli experience.