The Ultimate Question: Qdoba, Chipotle or California Tortilla?

Photos by Kristen Robertson

We are very fortunate to have three delicious Mexican places to choose from in our little college town. Although they serve the same types of foods – burrito bowls, tortillas, rice, meats and duh guac – the establishments themselves are very different.

Valley did a small survey of Penn State students and asked which one they preferred. To satisfy the white girl in all of us, Chipotle took the lead, but only by a little bit.

Chipotle: 16
Qdoba: 13
California Tortilla: 15

California Tortilla, the newest addition to the unauthentic chains of Mexican food, came in very close second. Some said the reason for the Cali Tort vote, was because of the restaurant’s endless sauce options. They have a “Wall of Flame” that’s full of different sauces for your burrito, quesadilla or bowl.

California Tortilla also has add-ins that aren’t the usual rice, beans and corn. Mango salsa, spinach and bacon are just a few of their tantalizing options. Their queso is pretty fantastic as well and comparable to Qdoba’s. Chipotle has to sit out in the running for best queso because they proudly remain queso-free in their establishment.

Even with this disadvantage, Chipotle is still considered “people’s lives.” They have fresh, all natural ingredients that are hard to beat – mostly because they actually taste fresh and natural. You also get a lot of food for your money and can save half for a second meal; which is an important factor with today’s tuition prices. Chipotle is delicious and would probably get more votes if you didn’t have to say “Ok never mind the line is too long, lets get Qdoba,” every time you went there.

Students said they liked Qdoba more because of their quickness and free, yes I said free, guac. Anything you want on your burrito, bowl or taco is included in the base price, queso as well. If we’re comparing prices though, it’s about the same as Chipotle. Qdoba also has a lot more to offer on their menu such as nachos, soups and those edible salad bowls made of giant corn tortillas.

In conclusion, any one of these bueno Mexican options in State College are excellent and have great food. Everyone has their favorite and may be as loyal to it as they are to their hairdresser, but it’s good to switch it up and try new things.


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