I have attended many events in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex since we moved here in June, but none of them comes close to this particular event held on Saturday, October 18, 2014 at Lake Carolyn, Irving. It was an event filled with educative information on the matter of food and how it's being produced/made, presented in a really creative way alongside live music performances, organic & non-gmo food stalls, pop-up bars, and of course good tacos, Chipotle style.
This pic was taken in front of the Kids area of the festival, where kids got to do a lot of fun activities including painting on this giant apple made to resemble applegate (natural & organic meat company) logo. Whereas, the adults can explore the festival by using the booklets given at the entrance. What's interesting was we could collect 4 out of 5 stamps on our booklet to get a free burrito-voucher that you can redeem the next day at any Chipotle restaurant. Awesome right?
We went to the "Guac from Scratch" booth first, where we learned about how Chipotle make their guacamole from scratch. And apparently they use organic ingredients! At the end, were given a voucher to get free chips & guacamole that can also be redeemed at any Chipotle the next day. Yeay, more freebies!
The second booth that we visited was the "GMO Experience" booth, where we learned about what GMO is and why Chipotle chooses not to use GMO ingredients in their food. For those of you who are not familiar with GMO (genetically modified organisms), they are "plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology". And as described in the Non-GMO project website, this experimental technology "merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding" (read more here) . No research has proven that GMO is good to consume, and by the sound of it, I wouldn't consider it to be healthy either. Anything modified is just suspicious to me. Wouldn't want to feed my family with it!
Next booth that we visited was the Fresh V.S. Processed installation, where the ingredients of typical fast food hamburgers and a Chipotle burrito bowl were being displayed and compared. Can you see how the Hamburger ingredients at the top are all powders and 'man-made'? What's best for us to consume is the kind of ingredients that are closest to its natural form (or also known as, fresh!). Anything 'powdered', pasteurized, and highly processed are just never good for us, no matter what the advertising/packaging says. What an eye-opener. I was so amazed at how Chipotle is committed to using the best and healthiest ingredients.
We then took a break and went straight to the food stalls, I ordered the tacos. Mr. Man ordered the beef gordita (as seen in the pic above). It was super yummy! We didn't try the Kale salad but I bet it's delicious as well.
Under this dining tent, we also tried the Shophouse's ricebowl, which was alright (again, we Asians have high expectations when it comes to Asian food hehe). Anyways, we didn't want to eat too much 'cause there were too many organic desserts like brownies, popsicles, and granola bars to try at the Artisans Hall !
This one on the pic above is the Urban Acre stall. You can buy fresh produce online and pick them up at select locations around Dallas-Fort Worth. Their produce is organic and seasonal too! Check them out here.
There were also products like honey and even organic pies being sold and displayed. My favorite was the Chipotle Roasted Pecan Chocolate Brownie I got from the Brownie Cottage stall. Oh my god! It's sweet and spicy at the same time. So moist, and packed with flavors. It was a perfect dessert, especially when paired with some Patron Margarita. Heeyyyy...
Waiting for performances to start on the Izze Music Stage, we savored our dessert while enjoying some reggae tunes. Then, it was time for some ice cream! And not just any ice cream, but the ice cream of the legendary brand that turns out to be a non-gmo supporter, Ben & Jerry's!!
The beautiful thing about it was that IT WAS the COOKIE DOUGH ICE CREAM that we got and it was FREE !!!
We took this picture to support GMO labeling on food products, because we realized that we all deserve to know what is in our food!
Next to the Ben & Jerry's booth, was a booth promoting this cafe called "Momentum". It is actually a culinary training facility that aims to train, educate, and equip young people that are considered "at-risk" (those who are on probation, have gone to prison, etc) to achieve their full potential. How powerful is that? One day, I would really like to build something like this, probably to kids in my homeland, Indonesia. The guy who talked to us about it, Jason, had a troubled past as well, but he changed his life and now dedicates his life to encouraging and empowering young people to not make the mistakes he and many others made. In 2015, the cafe will open in downtown Dallas. For more info, please take time and read more about them here.
On top of it all, Chipotle Cultivate also features the Chef's tent, where you can see chefs cooking delicious meals from scratch, beer & wine tasting hall, Tabasco stall (they are non-gmo!), Izze stall, and a pop-up cinema where you can watch a few documentaries, one of which is about farmers who are committed to producing organic products such as milk and cheese.
It was a truly inspiring event. Reminding us that we should be more cautious about what we put in our body through food and drinks. We ought to take care of our bodies better. And personally, Chipotle inspired me, to build something that serves the people while making profit at the same time. I mean, who does this? Who would "throw away" money like this just to raise awareness about healthy ingredients they way they did it in this festival? Of course, it was also for marketing purposes, but you can see their commitment to a better and healthier culture of eating. And to that, I raise my glass. Till next time, Chipotle Cultivate :)
oh and btw we have redeemed our free chips and burritos + 2 bottles of Izze last Sunday. And they were amaze-balls!