August 15, 2014

Fly Over: ‘Chipotle Mexican Grill’ and ‘Final Fantasy X’

Grace Lee and Cory Gossett


‘Chipotle Mexican Grill’

Chipotle is a place of Americanized Mexican food where customers can get freshly made food within a reasonable amount of time and at a good price.
Founded by Steve Ells in 1993, Chipotle began in Colorado and opened 16 locations with the help of investor, McDonald’s Corporation. By 2006, Chipotle had grown to more than 500 locations. Today, although McDonald’s Corporation is no longer an investor, Chipotle continues to grow, having more than 1,600 locations in the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and France.
Chipotle serves up burritos, burrito bowls, salads and tacos in 655,360 combinations. I’ve been a Chipotle fan for three years now, and I almost always order the same thing with maybe a little change here and there. What I love is the food is made fresh and doesn’t look like it’s been sitting there for hours waiting to be scooped up and served. I can’t remember ever stepping into a Chipotle and not seeing a single customer in line. Rest assured the line goes quickly since it’s a fast casual dining restaurant.
With my three years of Chipotle experience, I can say there is a way of doing things at Chipotle also known as “Chipotiquette” by member, Christian Zamora. First things first, once it’s your turn in line, state what you’d like. I say, “I’d like a burrito.” Note: I don’t mention steak because the employee will 95 percent of the time not remember that part. After the employee heats up the tortilla, state the type of rice you’d like followed by the beans. Next they will ask you what kind of filling you’d like; you can choose between steak, chicken, sofritas (tofu), barbacoa (shredded beef) and carnitas (pork). To add more filling, ask for fajita vegetables in your dish because they more than likely won’t ask you. Then, you will be asked what kind of salsa you’d like and whether you would like to add sour cream, cheese and lettuce. Note, the server will try and bypass asking you if you’d like guacamole. Also, if you’d like to be a guacamole pro, say, “I’d like the guacamole and I know there’s an extra charge.” This is helpful because the server will let you know there is an extra charge anyhow so why let them waste their breath?
Another helpful tip is if you’re planning on getting double meat, don’t mention it until they scoop your first serving of meat. This way they don’t try and shortchange you on the first scoop. Note: They will charge you extra for each additional scoop of meat. You can also ask for as much rice, beans and salsa as you’d like in your order without having to worry about getting charged extra.
After you finish creating your taco, bowl or burrito, you will be asked if you’d like chips or a drink. You can also get a side of guacamole but at an extra charge. I get mild salsa on the side with my chips.
Another secret to making your burrito, bowl or taco taste even better is getting lemon, located by the fountain drink machine, and squeezing the juice onto it. The lemon juice gives it a citrusy bite.
Chipotle also has a variety of Tabasco sauces to choose from including chipotle flavor, original and mild.
The best part of it all is how the food tastes. Since I almost always get the steak burrito, I have to say the steak is always fresh off the grill, tender and marinated in their spicy, smoky chipotle-chili adobo marinade. They also season their rice with cilantro, lemon and lime juice. Even their beans have a kick of flavor to them since they are simmered with onions, garlic, oregano and chipotle-chili adobo. And out of all their salsas, my two favorites are their fresh tomato salsa (mild) and their roasted chili-corn salsa (medium).
Another great thing about Chipotle, aside from offering freshly made food of excellent quality, is their prices are also affordable. I can walk out of Chipotle spending a little more than $10 for my steak burrito, chips and salsa, almost the same amount I’d end up spending at any other fast food restaurant with lower quality processed food.
If you haven’t tried Chipotle, I recommend you go the next time you’re having a Mexican food craving.



‘Final Fantasy X’

I couldn’t help but consider the age of “Final Fantasy X,” originally released for the PlayStation 2 console, when I decided to review “Final Fantasy X HD Remaster” for PlayStation 3. Oftentimes games need more than just a fresh coat of graphical updates to revisit. Luckily, this fantastic role playing game doesn’t feel outdated. The enhanced visuals and amazing storyline are compelling reasons to pick up one of the bestselling games in the Final Fantasy series. The game features a unique and thrilling plot, interesting main characters and a unique progression system that makes players want to keep playing.
The game takes place in a world called Spira, filled with beautiful beaches and plenty of revered shrines for worship, but it’s not safe. The citizens of Spira have adopted the teachings of a deity called Yevon in hopes of being saved from a giant sea creature called Sin, which creates monsters that terrorize the world. Sin can only be defeated by devout followers of Yevon called summoners. Sin is unable to be killed; instead summoners can only defeat it making it disappear for 10 years. This 10 year period of peace is known as “the calm.” Spiran’s consider “the calm” a blessing, but by defeating Sin the summoner pays the ultimate price.
The game follows Tidus, a sports star from a city called Zanarkand which is attacked by Sin. Tidus ends up getting swallowed by Sin but instead of dying, he somehow ends up 1,000 years in the future. He then meets a summoner named Yuna who is determined to follow in her parent’s footsteps by taking on the pilgrimage to become a summoner to defeat Sin. Yuna’s pilgrimage is balanced between plot, combat and exploration, which leaves little room for boredom to set in.
The game’s pace does go quite well with the turn-based combat system. Each seven playable characters have strengths and weaknesses to certain types of monsters. Heavily armored monsters are best struck by a character that focuses on strength and physical attacks, while elemental creatures are best taken out with powerful spells from a wizard.
The combat system also allows you to swap characters midbattle, allowing for different party combinations and for player experimentation on what party setup works best for each encounter. The character progression system utilizes a sphere grid which allows for deep customization of each character. The sphere grid consists of a network of orbs, each orb representing a different attribute boost or new abilities. Characters gain levels through battles but you can control where the character moves on the sphere grid, allowing you to determine what you want your character stats and abilities to have. There are hundreds of different orbs to choose from and it’s a fantastic alternative to other role playing games’ leveling systems.
The graphic overhaul done on this game is easily apparent. Environments pop and are full of color and details the PlayStation 2 couldn’t even imagine displaying. Facial animations, at least for the main characters, have been redone but it was disappointing not seeing this on nonplayable characters. Many nonplayable characters have jagged flat facial features and their animations remain unchanged, but this doesn’t deter much from the overall gaming experience. The game still looks fantastic in 1080p resolution. The soundtrack has also been redone, the classical scores have been cleaned up and the new crisp orchestral arrangements help breathe new life into the 60-plus music tracks.
Even with the new HD “awesomeness” wearing off, you’re still left with a role playing video game that doesn’t feel like it was left in the past and can easily compete with RPGs from this generation. It’s worth picking up “Final Fantasy X” if you’ve played it before, or if you’re a newcomer looking for an outstanding RPG experience that will not disappoint.

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