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Tonayense, El (Shotwell) MissionOMR: 8.14
cross street: 16th St.
ph. none
Map Visits: 6
As is the case at the other El Tonayense / Tacos San Buena slabwagons scattered around the Mission, sesos, tripitas, and buche are on hand here for the cattle completist; naturally, all the usual straightforward meat options (carne asada, pollo, carnitas, etc.) are also available, as well as a relatively dull vegetarian option. It’s take-out only, unless you’re up for dining on your feet or atop the adjacent chain link fence. Cash only. Absent evenings.

Will My Health Be Violated?

04/02/12Super Carne Asada$6.508.58 Mustaches
Swish: spiciness (10); temperature (10); burstage abatement (10); sauciness (9); size (8); tortilla (8); rice (8); beans (8); vegetables (8); ingredient mix (8)
Shrug: meat (7); cheese (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

By far the best burrito we've enjoyed from this truck since four years prior, this handsome foiled creation succeeded in nearly every aspect, from its graceful salsa situation and clean sweep of hot bites on through its ten-mustache spice (thanks to a handful of choice jalapeño slices) and durably consistent ingredient mix. Our dunch foodscud was properly sized and proportioned, and have we mentioned that it was rich in onion detail? (It was so rich in onion detail.) Salsafication was glorious enough to curb the blow of having to deal with whole pinto beans (not our panel's favorite, but hey) by ensuring zero dry bites from top to bottom. The cheese could have been a bit better melted (surprising for such a piping-hot burrito), and the carne asada, while juicy, never really did burst with flavor. But the intangible charm! Right on target.

07/06/10Super al Pastor$6.007.50 Mustaches
Swish: size (9); temperature (9); burstage abatement (9); spiciness (8)
Shrug: tortilla (7); meat (7); rice (7); beans (7); sauciness (7); ingredient mix (7); vegetables (6)
Clang: cheese (5)
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

A real streetwise slab — all sharp intangibility, buxom and girthsome, heavy on the pickled jalapeño, full of greasy pork...but too reliant on seven-mustache adequacy to really make a dent in the mustache ratings. Moisture was a major talking point throughout, from the elation brought on by the sauce to the creeping greasiness that spread from the pork to every square inch of the burrito by the final bites. The whole pinto beans were fine enough, as were a bunch of other elements (see all those sevens above), but the minimally contributing and vaguely unmelted cheese let us down.

09/08/08Super Vegetarian$6.007.45 Mustaches
Swish: burstage abatement (10); spiciness (9); temperature (9); tortilla (8); sauciness (8)
Shrug: size (7); beans (7); rice (6); cheese (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: vegetables (5)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

If there’s a burrito diet plate to be found in San Francisco, this well could have been it. Tonayense’s Shotwell slabwagon foiled up and foisted upon us this trim and slender little dinner, and while we certainly could have done without all the silly shredded lettuce, it avoided qualifying as any sort of disaster. But the burrito really did eat like a salad-wrap of sorts, from its oversize chunks of sliced tomato and faceless whole pinto beans on through the polite enough contributions of Tonayense’s usually overpowering sauce. Spice remained on smash throughout, however, and will you just look at that nicely grilled tortilla? Jack cheese was mostly melted, but experienced some uncomely moments of globbiness, and sometimes we forgot the burrito even came with cheese; it all added up to a six-mustache cheese rating. Re: Spanish rice, it came off OK on the rare occasion it collided with the aforementioned sauce, but most of the time it didn’t, and that didn’t do anyone any favors in the end. Tofu burritos always offer us plenty of opportunities for delightful copy; chile relleno burritos, when brewed up right, can be some the most exciting slabs on today’s market. Straight vegetarian burritos? Hmm.

02/01/08Super Pollo Asado$5.508.58 Mustaches
Swish: temperature (10); burstage abatement (10); size (9); sauciness (9); spiciness (9); tortilla (8); meat (8); rice (8); cheese (8); ingredient mix (8)
Shrug: beans (7); vegetables (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

And in a moment of out-of-the-box cleverness, Mister Slabmaker Fella dropped a few pickled green peppers into our foiled food. It’s moves like this that nudge intangibility ratings up our scale...but truth be told, this Tonayense burrito already had the maximum two mustaches in the sack by the time our yellow submarine of slabular criticism sailed into pepperland. What else? It’s always fun to get through a burrito and not have to break out more than one napkin, and with burstage abatement like this, that big pile of wipes we procured at the moment of purchase can now go into our emergency tissue file. As is often (and strangely) the case at mobile kitchens, refried beans weren’t on offer, but we made do with the austerity of Tonayense’s whole pintos. The tortilla was pleasantly grilled, the thick jack grates were well melted, and the rice got hit by a benevolent sauce train – all good things. Spice, meanwhile, displayed significant fervor, and the cubed chicken became more and more enjoyable the deeper we drilled. Tonayense’s verde-ish sauce-elixir was at it again, and in a good way. Plenty weighty, mighty tasty.

01/29/06Super al Pastor$5.007.42 Mustaches
This uncharacteristic greasefest from one of our favorite burrito trucks in town had us reaching for napkin after napkin, and by the time the final bites arrived, we were simply worn down. The source of all the liquid residue? The finely ground, stainalicious al pastor seemed to be the sole culprit, and there was so much of it on hand, we wondered for a few moments if we’d mistakenly ordered their all-meat Imperial County Special. Grease penetrated most everywhere within the chewy tortilla, and marginalized the rice noticeably. Despite all its sloppery, the barbecued pork maintained a likeable taste throughout, while melted jack was spotted and tasted consistently. Awkwardly pale refried beans didn’t make enough of an impact amidst the blinding pork storm, and it was unfortunate that the vegetabular content couldn’t better define itself from being just a mish-mash of guacamole, chopped onion, cilantro, and no pico de gallo. Zany construction moments occurred at each end of the sizable, graduated cylinder-shaped slab, where wine bottle-like punts made inward dents toward the center. And every drippy bite was hot, though only vaguely spiced. Kind of a letdown, frankly.
04/23/05Super Carnitas$5.008.33 Mustaches
We could have done without those few carrot slices lumped in with the jalapeño additive we requested, the whole thing should have been fatter, and why can’t they ever have some refried beans on hand? Aside from all that, pretty much everything else here was on the money. Right out of the gate, that delicious, unmistakable Tonayense sauce hit us square in the grill, just as this burrito’s mouth-mutilating spice kicked into high gear. No other elements hit a perfect ten - but just the same, nothing garnered less than seven mustaches. And the terrific shredded pork deserves a shout. You can set your clock by the consistency of these Tonayense truck burritos.