If any of you braved the murky heat last weekend, you may have been at Cultivate, hosted by Chipotle. Cultivate, though not local, does broach the importance of knowing where your food comes from and happily supported many local restaurants and breweries around Kansas City. The festival is packed as to be expected; it was free and Chipotle was involved.
Upon making a 15 minute trek from my car, I immediately headed towards the beer hall. While I probably should’ve been sucking down some water, I wasn’t about to miss all the local breweries Chipotle had invited to share their summer brews. While I usually go for an old-fashioned wheat on a hot summers day, I had a few saisons, a beer style I also love but usually don’t have often. I bought a few samples from various breweries, including “A Saison Kiss” by Martin City, but finally landed on the ginger peach saison from Cinder Block Brewery. I even ventured outside my comfort zone and was prompted to try my friend’s chocolate stout. The verdict; not bad considering that I am not a stout person. It was definitely a brew I could see myself drinking more of, had she remembered which brewery she got it from.
After tossing back a few samples and finally choosing a winning beer, I made my way over to the food tents. Choosing food was a difficult venture for two reasons: it all looked awesome and I can’t eat pork. The latter of the two reasons narrowed me down to tacos, gorditas or pizza. I went for the barbacoa gorditas, and as I took my first bite, I wondered why this wasn’t something Chipotle didn’t have on the menu all the time. The feta and cool pineapple perfectly paired with the red chili salsa heat, satisfying your sweet and savory tooth at the same time. It was a party in my mouth and I may have had a little party at my table while I ate. Once my friend Malachi made it to the festival, we were off to check out the exhibits and I finally grabbed a bottle of water.
Malachi and I toured the factory vs. farm, fresh versus processed, GMO exhibits and my personal favorite; guac from scratch–you get to watch Chipotle employees prepare that famous guac and you get a sample at the end. Who doesn’t want that? Chipotle’s exhibits were a great way to get people talking about food and what we initially think of as healthy may contain chemicals or go through processes that put harmful things in our bodies. Even if you aren’t interested or concerned about what goes into your food, Chipotle did throw in a good incentive: attend four of their exhibits, get a voucher for free Chipotle with an Izze drink and a voucher to Chipotle’s newest project, Pizzeria Locale. Clearly, Malachi and I were excited about both, but pizzeria locale is especially exciting as it is the first location to be opened outside of Chipotle’s Colorado home base (expect a blog post soon).
This is year two for Chipotle’s cultivate festival, and Kansas City was lucky enough to be added to the city line up (here’s hoping they liked us enough to come back). The aim of cultivate is to get people thinking and talking about good food that is raised and grown responsibly. While I can’t speak for anyone else, I learned a lot about “a better way” to eat and got to visit a few local favorites that embrace the cultivate message like Shatto milk company and Little Freshie soda shop. Plus the freebies were pretty great too. After sweating our way through all the exhibits, Malachi and I finished off the festival watching Portugal. The Man and singing along to their cover of It’s Always Sunny’s “Dayman”.