Moi received a complimentary meal and swag bag in consideration of her attendance at an event scheduled for food reviewers and bloggers in the recently opened QDOBA restaurant in Seattle, WA. The invitation was accepted because:
- The new QDOBA now occupies the site of the former Azteca restaurant which was a neighborhood hangout in the University Village area of Seattle. The Azteca chain is now defunct.
- A competitor in the casual dining segment was and is facing severe fallout from issues related to norovirus and E. Coli. See, Chipotle Faces No-Win Scenario as Crisis Taints Every Move http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-16/chipotle-faces-no-win-scenario-as-crisis-taints-its-every-move
- Moi wanted to review the menu, construction and decoration of the new restaurant.
The reviewer’s event was promoted as an opportunity to meet the district manager, marketing staff and local staff of the new restaurant. Moi sent the following email:
i will review for Dr. Wilda Reviews so interested in food sourcing, calorie content and steps your chain is taking to prevent E Coli and Norovirus. Also interested in any menu changes and why
University Village serves an interesting demographic which includes the University of Washington and University Village, an upscale shopping center. https://uvillage.com/directory/ The University Village QDOBA site is one of the premium locations for the chain:
University Plaza 5025 25th Ave Ne Ste 101 Seattle, WA 98105
QDOBA is testing wine and beer service at the University Village Location. The basic menu can be found at https://www.qdoba.com/menu-nutrition
QDOBA is owned by Jack in the Box:
As of 2013, Qdoba operates over 600 fast casual restaurant locations throughout the United States. In 2003, San Diego-based Jack in the Box company acquired the chain from ACI Capital, a private equity management firm that was the outgrowth of commodity-trader A.C. Israel Enterprises in the 19th century. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qdoba_Mexican_Eats
Jack in the Box the box changed food handling protocols as a result of its E.coli problems. Phaedra Cook of the Houston Press wrote in 10 Lessons Chipotle Must Learn From Jack In The Box and Taco Bell http://www.houstonpress.com/restaurants/10-lessons-chipotle-must-learn-from-jack-in-the-box-and-taco-bell-8075499 The QDOBA staff said that their response is that everything is made fresh every day and that they don’t have a big walk-in-freezer because they aim for local sourcing. Their canned wine comes from Colorado and the beer which is served on tap is local:
Manny’s Pale Ale
Kolsch dru Bru
Hillard’s Boombox IPA
Schwarzbier Dru Bru
Moi asked whether they thought there might be an issue with Colorado wine, but the reply was it paired well with the food and it did. The Schwarzbier was really good and moi is not a beer drinker.
The décor is typical casual dining with a couple of issues. The first is there is a set of utility meters on a wall on the way to the restroom with a little fence around it, this seemed odd. The restrooms were clean. Next, there were cushions on the chairs and moi asked how they would be kept clean. The reply was they were considering whether to keep the cushions.
The food was casual Mexican fare with the following items:
Burritos and Bowls
Our large Mission-style burritos offer endless combinations of only the freshest, most flavorful ingredients. Have yours made just the way you like it. (340 – 1175 cal)
Loaded Tortilla Soup
Warm up with Loaded Tortilla Soup. Piping hot with your choice of savory meats and all the toppings you can handle like sour cream, Queso, and of course guac. All loaded into a crunchy tortilla bowl. (430 – 845 cal)
If you’re planning on sharing, don’t. Order two. Because you’ll want these 3-Cheese-Queso-smothered-chips all to yourself. (860 – 1215 cal)
Lightly grilled and with the cheese melted to perfection, it’s no surprise they’re so satisfying. (700 – 970 cal)
Dig into crisp lettuce, seasoned black bean corn salsa and a fat free Picante Ranch Dressing. Finish up by eating the bowl. You read right. Eat the bowl. (150 – 835 cal)
Chips & Dip
Handcut and made in-house daily, our chips make the perfect addition to any meal and yet are flavorful enough to enjoy on their own. (290 – 950 cal) https://www.qdoba.com/menu-nutrition
Of course there is guacamole which was a bit too bland for moi’s taste, but the Diablo quesa had just the right amount of spiciness for moi and the habanera was wonderful. The marketing is aiming to make this QDOBA a neighborhood hangout with $2 craft brew Thursdays and Friday Happy Hour where all drinks are a $1 off after 3 p.m.
Overall, moi enjoyed the food, beer and wine. Her favorites were the loaded tortilla soup, Diablo quesa and beer which pairs well. Since protein can be added or deleted, a group which includes vegetarians can be accommodated. This is a moderately priced casual restaurant where one could choose to linger or get take-out. Dr. Wilda recommends this QDOBA for those in the University District or who want moderately priced casual dining after a hard day of shopping at University Village.
Dr. Wilda gives University Village QDOBA a thumbs up.
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