Something did not look right about my calamari. The little squid tentacles were covered in something creamy, and it wasn’t coconut milk like the menu I had said. I held the dish under the tiny light built into our table, and it was thick and orange-colored. The theater (Nitehawk) was already dark when the waiter dropped it by, but even in low light I am mentally incapable of eating anything without looking at it. (side note: I was seeing Beast of the Southern Wild. I loved the movie. Go see it). Our waiter passed by again and I asked quietly, “What’s on this?” Chipotle mayo, he said and walked away.
I hate mayo. Always have. Can’t see that changing. Its two main qualities, eggyness and creamyness, make me gag. The only non-calarmi ingredients listed on the menu were sweet coconut, lime leaf, and basil, all flavors and textures I can get behind. I prairie-dogged our waiter down, and he was totally cool about. He brought out a new calamari, minus the mayo. I understand there are people who love chipotle mayo, and that’s fine. But when did it become used like salt, so frequently and liberrally it doesn’t need to be mentioned on a menu?
Chipotle in general is the new “exotic without actually trying” flavor. Cornnuts have a chipotle flavor and there are creamy chipotle ranch salad dressings, and these are lowest common denominator foods. I can’t tell you how many restuarants have a veggie sandwich, and rely solely on chipotle mayo for flavor. No, salt, no pepper, no marinades, just chipotle mayo. It’s a nice gesture to appease vegetarians (yes, I do eat fish sometimes, but I identify as vegetarian. Have you ever met someone who calls themselves a pescetarian and not wanted to punch them in the face?), and I appreciate the effort, but mayo is one of the least veggie friendly condiments. Even a chipotle pesto would be something new, and more delicious than mayo. The over-saturation of chipotle foods is like when mango salsas become more prevelent in the grocery stores. People would buy it and be like, “oooh, it’s mango!?” like it’s so crazy to mix sweet and spicy. I’m not saying I don’t like mango salsa, I just don’t find it to be the most exciting thing to dip my chip into. Now, it’s like, “Ooooh, chipotle flavor!?”