Almost exactly a month ago, Chipotle announced that it was trying out tofu as a potential new burrito filling in seven locations in the vegan-heavy San Francisco Bay Area. The San Jose Mercury Times soon discovered that the Mexican fast casual chain was getting its tofu (sold under the ambiguous name "Sofritas") from an Oakland producer called Hodu Soy, which gets good Yelp reviews, so, you know, that's a solid start. But being based in New York, we haven't been able to try it ourselves.
Lucky for us, SF Weekly's Mary Ladd took the plunge. Her findings? Sofritas tastes a lot like scrambled eggs. She writes:
My sofritas burrito left me pleasantly full minus the requisite bloat that comes from heftier and meatier burritos in the Mission, my home neighborhood. Pitting the sofritas burrito against the Papalote soyrizo burrito -- a favorite for many vegetarians -- may be interesting if Chipotle keeps the sofritas on the menu. My burrito looked and tasted like a scrambled breakfast burrito that happens to sop up hot sauce well. A side of guac is recommended for added richness and flavor.
Breakfast burritos are A-OK in our book. That said, the resemblance does make you wonder why Chipotle isn't just going with breakfast burritos. They've been available, and getting a solid response, at the Dulles Airport location of the chain in D.C., for some time. They'd appeal to the vegetarian crowd, though admittedly not to vegans. But Chipotle is already one of the most vegan-friendly chains around -- and only 0.5 percent of Americans classify themselves as vegan.
So maybe Chipotle's excitement about tofu has less to do with its allegiance to the meat-averse market than it has to do with its production methods. The chain cooks much of its meat sous vide in central kitchens before shipping them to individual locations for a final touch on the grill. It would be easy to process tofu that way, but scrambled eggs? Not so much.