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Piñata, La MissionOMR: 7.42
2471 Mission
cross street: 21st St.
ph. 415/282-1778
Map Visits: 2
What looks like a standard-issue Mission burrito house from the outside turns out to be...a standard-issue Mission burrito house on the inside as well, with the main twist being the 25-plus “famosa” tortas on the menu. Sadly, no piñatas in sight. Friendly folks, though. Breakfast available. Credit cards accepted.

Will My Health Be Violated?

01/27/12Super Breakfast (Chorizo)$6.757.00 Mustaches
Swish: burstage abatement (10); size (9); beans (9); temperature (9)
Shrug: tortilla (7); meat (7); eggs (7); cheese (7); sauciness (7); vegetables (6)
Clang: ingredient mix (5); spiciness (0)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

Other than its complete absence of spice, the unfortunate presence of lettuce, and, aside from the wonderfully rich refried beans, an alarming lack of flavor...hey, top-grade burrito, alright. It was certainly burly, devoid of cool bites, and well-built from the hind end all the way up, but it takes more than careful adherence to the basics to make the mustachioed grade in this town. How much more? A little flavor here and there wouldn’t have hurt, yet between the bland egg/chorizo mix and just about everything else (other than the nice beans), this slab turned into a morning blahfest before long. The highly sketchy ingredient mix also bummed us out, but we’re too bored by the memory of this burrito to go on about it any longer.

09/13/11Super Carne Asada$6.498.25 Mustaches
Swish: spiciness (10); temperature (10); tortilla (9); beans (9); cheese (9); burstage abatement (9)
Shrug: size (7); meat (7); rice (7); vegetables (7); sauciness (7); ingredient mix (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

While La Piñata’s Mustache Chart debut certainly boasted numerous merits — you don’t chalk up 8.25 hairy ones just for showing up and dropping a bunch of Mexican food into a red plastic basket — it still lacked that certain yo no se que that would have truly set it apart from its Mission taqueria brethren (or sistren? anyone know what gender taquerias are?). Intangible credibility was amateurish, as was the boneheaded default inclusion of shredded lettuce (?!), which fortunately was sort of amended by liberal amounts of sliced avocado. Carne asada and Spanish rice turned out to be equally adequate, if inconsequential elements in the mix, while a soggy hind end appeared to be this slightly undersized slab’s sole construction flaw. OK! Enough complaints. We were totally into all the piping-hot bites and raging spice — jalapeño, salsa, the works — and the grilled tortilla was a damn fine specimen in its own right. The strongly flavorful, incomparably dark refried beans also earned nine mustaches on our panel’s scoresheet, and there was all-melted cheese in every bite. So the charms here outweighed the groans, even if that ratio wasn’t to landslide proportions.