Full disclosure- I was a huge QDOBA fan during my adolescent years. Fifteen years ago, if you visited their storefront in sleepy Westlake Village, you may very well have spied me chomping on chips with family and friends. They were efficiently doling out dishes with fresh and natural ingredients before “fast casual” become the foodie buzzword du jour. But the last time I had their flame-grilled fajita vegetables was when I left for college a little more than ten years ago, so the launch event for their new Flavors initiative was a bit of a homecoming for me.
Flavors is aimed at uniting communities through flavorful food, flavorful places and flavorful people, and honestly, I like this a lot. In these divisive times (overused, I know), it’s nice to hear a restaurant chain say things like “we want to bring flavor into people’s lives”, and “we want people to be united by flavor and come together over a great meal”. I certainly have fond memories with my family at QDOBA. And there were elements of the event that just showed how much fun the franchise is- from the cartoon lucha libre fighters in their promotional video (and real life masked wrestlers posing for pictures) to the brightly decorated family table.
But what about the food? Were the flavors as good as the Flavors campaign, and my personal memories, would suggest?
QDOBA’s dedication to fresh ingredients appears in every part of their menu. Meats are marinated in-house, and cooked on a grill to impart deep flavors. Handmade salsas and guacamole accent all menu items. Quality and taste are priorities, and ingredients are never compromised.
Most impressive on the menu is their unique queso. The cheesy and creamy queso would impress Texan queso purists! QDOBA provides an opportunity to appreciate multiple queso flavors, as they offer their classic 3-cheese variety and a hot and spicy “queso diablo”.” For a fast-casual restaurant, Qdoba displays an attention to detail that others lack. The queso diablo is created from a spicy pepper paste that is mixed into their classic three cheese queso. The result is a perfectly balanced queso with heat that builds slowly, and gives extra depth to a rich and creamy dish. Most great quesos would have to be found at a sit-down restaurant in Texas, but QDOBA provides high-quality queso at a more than comparable level. This must-have menu item tastes like cheesy perfection!
QDOBA’s menu encompasses everything you would expect an American-style Mexican restaurant to have, and more. Though most Mexican-American fast casual restaurants are limited to tacos, burritos and bowls, QDOBA goes the extra mile to provide more options, such as nachos, quesadillas, margaritas, and tortilla soup. Diners can customize all items to their personal liking.
If you ever want to try something other than your mediocre fast-casual burrito chain, give QDOBA a try! There are locations in Downtown Los Angeles, and in Culver City.