If it’s as fun to eat as it is to say…

There’s one thing I already like about the new restaurant planned for a Mangrove Avenue shopping center: its name. I like saying it over and over again, with my bad Spanish accent: Chipotle. Chipotle. Chipotle.

I heard about it a while back when it showed up on the city’s Architectural Review Board agenda. But I didn’t realize (until it was pointed out by my editor, who’s much better at reading maps than I) that they’re actually putting up a whole new building, near the Rite Aid adjacent to Vallombrosa. That’s exactly where the city nixed a Carl’s Jr. a few years back.

I called up city Associate Planner Jay Hanson, and after we pronounced “Chipotle” together a couple of times, he refreshed my memory. “It was just a hazard to have a drive-through there,” he said, and the city wanted something nicer so close to Annie’s Glen.

Conversely, this restaurant pleased planners and the ARB, especially since, Hanson said, “they were quite cooperative and open to all of the changes” the city suggested, such as changing the paint color on the “retro” building and adding a pretty trellis to the exposed service entrance. “I think it’s going to be an exciting project,” he said.

We drove by one in Sacramento a couple of weeks ago but didn’t stop. Chico has plenty of locally owned Mexican joints, but this chain offering sounds pretty good, although vaguely reminiscent of that short-lived “wraps” place that came in with Chevy’s and is now Jamba Juice. Chipotle Mexican Grill has big burritos, tacos, fajitas and the like—each for about $5.

Downtown gets more sole, the huge online shoe store based in Willows and San Francisco, is opening up a shop downtown.

It will be located at 228 Main St., and if the Web site (it bills itself as “the Web’s most popular shoe store") is any indication, will offer a wide range of shoes, from Dr. Martens to Kenneth Cole.

The Web site alone is interesting enough: Zappos sends out a Daily Shoe Digest about such topics as foot care and how to fit shoes. Recently, people wrote in about how to save wet shoes, and someone wondered why her foot size had increased over the years. There’s even a place where you read shoe reviews. Sounds fun.

It’s not like Survivor

A couple of Chico State University professors, Roger Lederer and Carol Burr (they’re married), are putting together a package “History and Natural History” tour of Thailand, and I’m already jealous. The group of 20—there’s still time to sign up, folks—will fly next November to Thailand, where they will visit palaces in Bangkok, take an elephant-back safari in Chaing Mai and go sea kayaking in Phuket. (We can play the pronunciation game with that one, too, if you’d like.) It’s all less than $3,000, which Lederer acknowledged is a lot for a college student’s budget but “very reasonable” considering that lodging, transportation, tips and many meals are included.

Lederer, a biologist, organized previous university-sponsored “Passages” tours (faculty-led study tours) to Peru and Eastern Europe that went smoothly. “All the participants got along extremely well and got to be good friends.” So, he’s really looking forward to next year’s trip. Alumni, university employees and random community members went on the previous excursions.

If you want to go and become friends with the world travelers, check out the tour Web site at or call Lederer at 898-6317 right away to get the early enrollment deal.