I'm looking at my Uber app. It appears pretty normal, except that I'm in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and right now I have three car options: UberX, UberXL and BURRITOS (yes, in all-caps). I'd be crazy to pass on an opportunity to have a pair of hot burritos and a couple of cinnamon rolls delivered right to my doorstep. So I order.
The burrito delivery is a one-off Uber marketing promotion happening during lunch Wednesday only, with delivery to a select small area of Albuquerque. Fortunately, I live in that special region near the University of New Mexico campus and downtown.
Other cities have gotten special Uber offers like ice cream and kittens. Uber kitten deliveries have become an annual affair with proceeds from the on-demand snuggling going toward animal shelters. In 2015, the purring packages made rounds in over 50 US cities. The ice cream promotion made its fourth appearance this year with ice cream deliveries to Capital One credit card holders in 252 cities globally.
Uber understands its New Mexico market well enough to know that what we really want are breakfast burritos stuffed with green chile, a spicy local pepper delicacy not to be confused with that bean-and-meat hodgepodge called Texas chili.
I order my burritos, which come in a standard order of two green chile and bacon burritos along with two sweet rolls for $18. My driver, Josh, is just 10 minutes away. I'm hungry, but I can wait that long. The burritos come from a local restaurant an old standby called the Frontier. It sits across from the UNM campus and is decorated with more John Wayne paintings that you ever knew existed. It's also famous for its sugar-bomb sweet rolls.
Josh calls me. My first thought is, "Oh no! There's a snag with my burrito delivery!" But he's just calling to check that I really wanted some burritos and not just a regular Uber ride somewhere. I assure him I want those burritos. My burrito desire-o-meter is off the charts.
I follow Josh on the Uber app on my Moto X. His car is represented by a little burrito icon with wheels. He's close. One minute. He's here! Josh pulls up in a white Kia Forte. He hands me two bags, one filled with still-hot burritos and the other with the rolls encased in Styrofoam clam shells. I take a picture to commemorate this triumphant moment when technology, taxi-avoidance services and burritos collide with joy.
So how was the burrito? It was lovely, filled with potatoes, egg, green chile and bacon. It's spicy but not overwhelming. It tastes just like it does at the restaurant. I'm too full to face the sweet roll just yet, but it will keep for when I'm ready.
I know this is just an Uber marketing stunt, a way to boost its name among the chile-loving Albuquerque populace, but there's still something magical about burritos-on-demand.
Sure, I could go get take-out, but it's just so much fun to watch my burritos on the Uber map sliding through the streets of Albuquerque, getting ever closer to my waiting stomach. If Uber delivered food like that all the time, I would probably lose interest. It's the novelty that attracts my attention. I know this probably won't happen again, so I'm eating it up right now. I'm living in the moment, and it tastes so good.