cross street: Shotwell
Map Visits: 5
Shrug: sauciness (7); ingredient mix (7)
Clang: cheese (3)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)
The taqueria with all the "a"s in its name may not have had clue one when it came to distributing and melted cheese in our early afternoon breakfast slab, but enough other elements here held up to square up a respectable rating by burrito's end. A distinctly ingrown tortilla practically divided the slightly slender foodpiece in two, but the capable ingredient mix didn't suffer too badly as a result. Our tardy breakfast's centerpiece was the strong chorizo/egg ensemble, while its finest moment (apart from stellar construction) was its perfectly on-point spiciness. A few moments of minor temperature struggles reared up, but the cannonball that very nearly sank this slab's ship – unmelted cheese! the horror! – didn't prevent things from dipping below our eight-mustache waterline of quality, even if intangible charm was lacking at times.
- ...nine mustaches for its size because it was bigger than Cheap Trick in Japan.
- ...nine mustaches for its tortilla because it was delightfully grilled.
- ...seven mustaches for its meat because the asada was merely capable rather than truly memorable. It also debuted gristly.
- ...six mustaches for its rice because it was on the dry side and, hmm, just kind of dull.
- ...nine mustaches for its refried beans because they were strong, very strong. Also, pasty and delicious.
- ...nine mustaches for its cheese because its all-melted, frequent (damn near every bite!) contributions were kindly appreciated.
- ...eight mustaches for its vegetables because the pico de gallo was on-point and the avocado was a welcome add-in.
- ...six mustaches for its sauciness because there wasn’t enough of it.
- ...nine mustaches for its spiciness because it was super-robust.
- ...six mustaches for its ingredient mix because it sequestered the rice, left most of the spice for the second half of the slab, and called our panel mean names.
- ...ten mustaches for its temperature because it was hotter than the Hindenburg.
- ...ten mustaches for its burstage abatement because it held everything together in all the right ways.
- ...and one bonus mustache for intangibility because it only deserved one bonus mustache. Why? It’s intangible, so we can’t really say.
Shrug: beans (7); cheese (7); temperature (7); rice (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)
Denser than Calcutta and sized to please, Taq. Guadalajara’s latest foray into the Burritoeater mustache mill was deceptively unsuccessful. Sure, the chunks of chicken were mighty tasty and grilled all way pro-like, and Guadalajara’s spice was typically smoldering. And the vegetable lineup was strong, with a bevy of avocado slices batting cleanup. But a few elements were off their game, from the XL helping of strangely al dente Spanish rice all the way down to the suspect intangibility. The dodgy mix not only messed up the rice, but the temperature consistency as well — one side of the slab felt cool upon opening, although bites in this potentially troublesome area turned out to be lukewarm, at least. And somehow the robust sauciness was concentrated in the center third (vertically speaking). Sometimes down here on Slab Row, eight mustaches aren’t enough.
Shrug: size (7); rice (7); beans (7)
Clang: spiciness (5)
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)
It’s a bit risky to request an extra spicy burrito at Taq. Guadalajara, where one can only hope the kitchen won’t liberally pepper your item with its habañero-fired salsa. Clearly, our slab was habañero-free, and while this worked against the burrito’s OMR, at least we didn’t have to check our taste buds into the ER at nearby SF General afterward. Other than its surprisingly tepid spiciness, our dinner dirigible was a much greater success than its predecessor 11 months prior. A number of elements were at or near the head of the class, from the laudable ingredient mix and here/there/everywhere melted-gooey jack, to the smartly charred and marinated pork accompanied by equally marinated and charred bits of pineapple. Elsewhere, fat chunks of grilled onion and periodic shots of guacamole sent the vegetables’ rating rocketing skyward, and the grilled tortilla turned out to be a real asset by slab’s end, even if moments of ingrown-ness squashed any chance it had for landing an elusive ten-mustache score. The refried beans could have been less low-profile, and the whole job was ever so slightly stubby. But the pork’s sharp sauciness successfully mitigated the somewhat dry rice, and we were left with that happy feeling you get from a burrito whose intangible charms are measured in mustaches and warm fuzzies.
Shrug: rice (7); beans (7); vegetables (6); spiciness (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: sauciness (5)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)
Exceptional carnitas. Fragrantly grilled tortilla. Flummoxing ingredient mix. Dry hind-end bites. Indeed, slabular contradictions on our first visit to this Taq. Guadalajara location availed themselves in due course. An ideal amount of top-shelf carnitas – shred-friendly, with edges crispy-charred like they oughta be – was the flavor mainstay all burrito long, and that tortilla sure was a beautifully prepared thing. Further kudos went out to the plentiful (and melted) jack along the inner tortilla, as well as the generous size of the whole deal. Ingrown tortilla action prevented a perfect burstage abatement rating, and the brown rice and refried beans played the foundation role capably, if unspectacularly. Shame, though, about the less than graceful ingredient mix (which clumped most of the beans and green tomatillo salsa up top, and all the avocado down low), and the on-again / off-again spiciness. Pico de gallo, onion, and cilantro were each absent and unaccounted for, leaving the avocado and jalapeño slices to fend for their own on short-handed Team Vegetable. In the end, this burrito underperformed...but enough of it was on-point to where it is destined to live on in our judges panel’s collective memory bank as one harmless shrug.