The Chipotle Experience

It’s either the black beans or the pinto beans and, honestly, I cannot tell the difference. Can anyone? Is there a distinct taste between the two, some unique aromatic flavor that distinguishes one or the other? A texture that is recognizable on the palate, or the tongue perhaps, as it pushes each morsel between the molars, grinding them into a digestible mulch? Either my taste buds are lacking in sophistication in the fine art of bean tasting, or the differences between the two are purely based on nature’s sly chemistry — the skin deep changes that trap more of the light that shines on the leaf where they grow beneath the sun creating a darker or lighter color. I add cheese to them. With the mild and hot salsa mixed together, draped over a large dollop of lettuce.

It adds to the flavor, I think. Depending on the server scooping them up from the hot tray from which they steam, you’d get varied combination of servings. They could overlap around the edges, or sit independently on each side of the cardboard bowl. Each would have a unique experience. Unique as in the way they’d mixed in every scoop. The amount hot or mild sauce you’d get in each bite. Of course they’d taste different in each bite if you pay close attention. Savoring each bite, each leaf of lettuce, each sliver of tomato, the morsels of baked beans.

The flavor of food, you see, goes beyond that of the bean, but the way the salad creates an orchestra of music in your mouth. Like a concerto or symphony. It is best to never pour it down over the salad. They serve it that way — the dressing in a small plastic cup. Keep it on the side where you’ll have the liberty of splashing the salad as you dine. The idea, that is, is to control the amount of dressing in each bite. First, you scoop up a bite without it. Savor that bare, plain taste. The way the server served it. Then you gradually add to it gently, and playfully working your way into the theme of it. From the intro, feeling your way in how each bite blends into the music, all the way to the grand finale. Down into that last final morsel of beans. Either black or pinto. Their inner texture unchanged, still part of the same roots from which they came now dancing in your mouth, the roots of the plants that bore them.

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