Panda Libre is an awesome little company that makes some kickass burritos. Soon we'll have tacos as well. We started, as many things do, with a little bit of Tequila and a lot of insanity. We thought that maybe, just maybe, with all the people around here trying to cut corners to make a buck, if we just slowed things down and did things right then customers would appreciate it and come back for more.
Take our refried beans, for instance. Just locking down a supplier for Pinto Beans was a nightmare, but if we couldn't make our refried beans with Pintos, we weren't going to make them at all. There's an easy way and a hard way to make refried beans, we definitely chose the hard way, but I believe you'll taste the difference. Yes, we refry them in Bacon Fat, and yes, we reduce the extracted juice from the cooking process and reintroduce it into our beans to maximize flavor. Sure, it's an extra step that takes a little longer, but the difference in taste is night and day.
We could have the same conversation about our Chili. Some people will use powdered spices or worse, (gasp!) flavor packets. We toast and grind our spices the right way before incorporating them into our Chili. The resulting flavor profile is fresher, more developed, and all around better.