I was out running errands in the Old Town shopping center at Lovers and Greenville when I found myself hungrily eyeing the guinea pigs on display at Petsmart. Alarmed by my newfound taste for small domesticated mammals, I checked my watch and realized it was 4 o'clock and all I'd consumed that day was two cups of coffee. I couldn't possibly face the crafters' crack den that is Michaels without some sustenance, and besides that, it was my day to eat meatless, so I figured I'd better formulate a plan quickly. Spotting a Freebirds just a stone's throw away, I hustled over in hopes of rounding up some decent vegetarian grub.
I was vaguely familiar with the Chipotle-esque fast-casual chain, but I wasn't prepared for the onslaught of choices I was about to face. Burrito, nachos, quesadilla, tacos, burrito bowl or salad? I decided to stick with the classic burrito, figuring it would best lend itself to being eaten with one hand while texting, driving and applying lip gloss at the same time. (Calm down. I'm kidding. I save the makeup application for stoplights.)
Now, what size? They have some sort of special size chart that basically translates into "normal," "huge," "extra massive" and "Hulk-sized". I went with the smallest one, which they call a "Hybird," as it was the only one smaller than my forearm. Spinach, cayenne, flour or wheat tortilla? Feeling virtuous, I figured I'd push this whole vegetarian thing to the limit and go with spinach; never mind that green tortillas look like something left over from last weekend's St. Paddy's celebrations.
Then, I was walked down the extremely long buffet line by the friendly woman constructing my future food baby.
"Chicken, steak or carnitas?"
What? No! I ordered a veggie burrito! Damnit lady, I'm in a very fragile state right now as a mostly dedicated carnivore trying to abstain for just this one day a week. I waved off the meat and fixed my gaze slightly further down the line; countless wells of unlabeled ingredients presented themselves, ripe for the taking.
What the hell is all this stuff? Two kinds of rice. Three kinds of beans. Four varieties of cheese. Two different kinds of onions, even. Half a dozen different salsa and sauce options. Lettuce, mixed greens, tomatoes, cilantro, fresh or grilled jalapeños, tortilla strips, other random things I couldn't identify. Frankly, it's more than enough to give an indecisive person such as myself a full-blown panic attack.
I jabbed my finger at a random assortment of things and headed to the cash register to pay, relieved that the process was over. After grabbing my paper sack and hightailing it for the door, I realized I didn't adorn my foil-wrapped lunch torpedo with any avocado or guac, which is almost always the high point of my vegetarian "Mexican food" experiences. Failure. Oh well, my burrito still tasted pretty good, and at $5.41 with tax I had plenty of cash leftover to calm my frazzled nerves with a six-pack. I might come back someday, Freebirds, but I'll study the menu beforehand and come armed with a plan. I can't handle that much decision-making on an empty stomach.