Last Call: Chipotle Wants You Back

Fast-food chains come and go, but the story of Chipotle stands out from the world of burgers and fries. A fascinating long-form read over at Time today breaks down the restaurant's saga. "Once the envy of entrepreneurs everywhere," Time notes, Chipotle grew from a single location in 1993 to a bonafide empire by 2006. At its peak, 1.5 million people ate at Chipotle every day, even as it eschewed national advertising in favor of running Toni Morrison poetry on its to-go bags. Then a 2015 salmonella and norovirus outbreak badly damaged the brand. Now helmed by former Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol, Chipotle is experimenting with all kinds of tactics to regain its former glory, like bacon quesadillas, Keto bowls, and late-night service, focusing on repositioning itself as a "lifestyle brand." If you're a fan of the Burrito Bowl, or even just interested in how you're being marketed to as someone who eats food, it makes for an interesting read over at today. [Gwen Ihnat]

Hand-Pulled Noodle School

The life of the artisan is an appealing one. I'd like to believe there are many things that are easy to make but difficult to master. Hand-pulled noodle is one of those mysterious processes that's fascinated me, a skill requiring craft and theater. This short film takes us to a noodle boarding school (they sleep and bathe there!) in the Chinese city of Lanzhou, well known for its beef noodle soups. It's hard not to be seduced—and suddenly overcome with the urge for noodles.