• So even though I pledged not to order from chain restaurants during the pandemic, I couldn't say no to the task of taste testing these menu hacks mostly because that's my job.
  • Using TikTok instructionals, I ordered and assembled the ingredients for DIY nachos, extra dip, and a taco salad. The results? Glorious, and also horrifying.
  • TL;DR: maybe TikTok isn't the best way to communicate cooking instructions. And all Chipotle food basically tastes the same.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .

Once upon a time, there was a young lady who lived to eat food. When she grew up, she got a job eating food. Then, things got weird.

The pandemic booted me out of my cushy job as a fast-food taste tester and forced me to address the difficult reality that restaurants everywhere are facing. I pledged that I wouldn't order from a chain restaurant during the pandemic because independents just need the support more (although many franchisees are small business owners ).

However, work is work. And when Chipotle released official TikTok menu hacks , I was confronted with two familiar nemeses: cheese, and Gen Z both of which Chipotle have mastered. The chain's "Culture Hunters" use influencers and guacamole to generate massive buzz on TikTok for its brand. Yes, the Culture Hunters are watching you .

I fired up the rusty ol' Chipotle app on my phone and followed the ordering instructions on the TikTok videos. The three dishes on the menu are DIY nachos , extra dip (with the slang usage of the word "extra"), and a taco salad .

The first thing I noticed when I was trying to figure out how to order is that TikTok videos move way too quickly for my millennial old fart brain. I had to pause every second to make out the instructions, and the ASMR-style taco salad video was especially hard to follow because not only did it move too quickly, it also had no words.

Is Chipotle becoming too cool for me? Am I becoming too uncool for Chipotle? Do people even use the word "cool" anymore?

After much pain, glory arrived in the form of three bowls, three bags of chips, and more sauce than I knew what to do with.

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Bowl one: nacho toppings. It's a chicken burrito bowl with no rice, half black beans, half pinto beans, guac, pico, corn salsa, sour cream, and cheese.

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Bowl two: extra dip. It's a veggie burrito bowl with no rice, light black beans, guac, pico, corn salsa, tomatillo salsa, sour cream, and queso blanco.

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Bowl three: chicken salad. It's a chicken salad bowl with no rice (sensing a pattern here?), black beans, chipotle-honey vinaigrette, guac, pico, corn salsa, and extra cheese.

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Each of these must be ordered with their own bag of chips, and one with chips and queso.

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For the nachos, you're supposed to broil the chips in your oven for a minute.

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I tried spreading the queso evenly but it came out in gooey lumps.

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In the end, I resorted to using my fingers to spread the cheese. Do not try this at home.

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For the extra dip chips, you need fresh lime and Tajin seasoning. I only had a lime.

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Turns out a lime half is still quite the match for my puny hand. Suddenly, I smelled burning and rushed to my oven.

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Alas! Having literally never broiled anything before in my life, this was not a good start.

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But my charred chips looked a lot better covered up.

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As someone who generally considers herself to be a decent cook, this was a little embarrassing for me.

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But I was shocked by how delicious these still were.

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I wasn't expecting to love it, but the simple genius of putting crispy chips and superheated queso with classic Chipotle burrito ingredients just worked.

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It had all the right flavors in all the right places. I'd add double the queso next time, though.

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Next, it was time to dig into the extra dip.

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Why yes, this dip was indeed extra. I'd ordered way too much food for any sedentary, pint-sized human female.

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The dip was a lot more salsa-forward than the nachos, but I kinda liked that. It tasted fresher, lighter, and creamier.

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Maybe Chipotle fillings are just really good with chips.

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Finally, I moved onto the salad. I dumped my bowl in a bigger bowl, as per the TikTok instructional.

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I crushed the chips in their bag, reveling in the crunch like a hungry Godzilla.

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The vinaigrette is, according to Chipotle, essential. So I dumped it all in big mistake.

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Next, I dumped in about half of the crushed chips from the bag.

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In the TikTok video, the ASMR lady stylishly drizzles her salad with Tabasco. I only had RedHot.

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The result was a salad that was as salty as it was bland. Too few leaves, way too many non-leafy objects.

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I regretted the vinaigrette, "essential" though it may be. Next time, I may put in half the cup instead of the whole thing.

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If the salad was leafier, the crunch of lettuce and chip together would have been refreshing. But its other elements were just too overpowering.

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Oh yeah, and can we talk about how you sometimes just find a rock-hard bit of avocado in your Chipotle guac? This one was almost as crunchy as an apple.

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The nachos, though delicious, also started weighing down my gut after a few bites.

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I had resented myself for burning the chips, but I was starting to blame Chipotle. After all, who wants to turn on an oven after spending the money to buy lunch?

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What made the whole meal worth it, though, was the extra dip. Again, not "extra" like extraneous, but "extra" like all the ingredients of a burrito bowl in a dip.

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Now, back to our usual programming. So long, and thanks for all the chips.

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See Also:

SEE ALSO: A pizza lover discovered that the local pizzeria she thought she'd ordered from was actually Chuck E. Cheese, highlighting a popular tactic that many restaurants use