Jessie Karach (con.)
Before I was even attending JMU I had been to Clementine’s a couple times while visiting my older sister when she attended JMU. The first thing I noticed (like many others do) upon entering the restaurant was the awesome back wall that is painted floor to ceiling in a splattering and splotchy display of rich reds and oranges and yellows. “Damn. This place is awesome…”
As if the interesting “cool and casual” atmosphere wasn’t enough, the food sold me completely. Their fried goat cheese salad is a gift from God. And the goat cheese and pita appetizer knocks my socks off. Basically anything with goat cheese on their menu I am in love with. The food there is the best in town, by far. And I would know. Because I like to eat. A lot.
Once I started attending JMU I was able to participate in everything Clementine’s has to offer: trivia night, their killer mojitos, and the awesome live bands. It is my favorite place to go to if I’m looking for a good time out without going to a sweaty bump and grind house party.
So in conclusion, Clementine’s is awesomeness upon awesomeness and I wish I could live there.
Megan Chandler (con.)
When I first arrived to JMU in 2009, I had never even heard of the Chipotle franchise. I’m from Maine, and we didn’t get our first Chipotle until a few years ago when it opened across the street from our mall. My first experience with the Harrisonburg restaurant was with a bunch of guys from freshman year. I’d met them in GISAT 151 (Applied Calculus for ISAT Majors), which was random because I was an art major and definitely not destined for math. Their friend was in a fraternity and their fraternity had organized some kind of tournament. Kickball, maybe? Or softball? Something that involved running around bases, but we lost the first game regardless.
To celebrate, we went to Chipotle and I got a burrito with pork in it. I didn’t tell them to mix it, and I didn’t like it. I returned about a year later, with a friend who suggested the burrito bowl in place of the burrito. With her help, I perfected the formula—what I’ve been ordering for four years since. The Mexican gods were smiling down on us that day. It was like Harry getting his first wand in Ollivander’s. I didn’t choose it, it chose me.
Bowl, please. For here, please. Brown rice, black beans. Steak, please. Hot salsa and corn salsa, thank you. Cheese, sour cream, and guacamole. That’s okay, I have $2. Chips and a drink, please. Game over.
What I love about Chipotle is its consistency, its reliability. I can always get my order and it’s always prepared perfectly because I was basically the one that prepared it. I love its long lines, and running into people I know in them. I like to go there in rainstorms and in snowstorms and finding that there’s still no parking because JMU students are crazy. It’s fun to trick yourself into thinking it’s healthy because you’re like, “It’s green! It’s fresh! It’s local!!!” and then you eat 1,800 calories and you can’t move and it’s glorious. I love the camaraderie of the scene, smiling at perfect strangers because it’s okay to do that there. I like that whenever you’re anywhere and there’s a lull in conversation you can just be like, “So what’s your Chipotle order?” And it’s not even weird. Everyone has an answer. It’s like asking what your blood type is. Everyone has one, and it unites us as human beings. The young and the old, the students and the townies, the Greeks and the GDI’s – we all have the same blood flowing through our veins and it’s most likely Siracha sauce. I’ve never been to Disneyworld, but I imagine Chipotle is like Disneyworld for college students. It’s a beautiful fellowship of burrito enthusiasts. It’s a utopian community of aluminum-foil-wrapped glory. It’s like loosing your kickball game (or softball or whatever it was) but still ending up in the winner’s circle because you’re winning at food.