cross street: Thomas
Map Visits: 9
Shrug: tortilla (7); burstage abatement (7); vegetables (6)
Clang: meat (4); beans (4); ingredient mix (3); sauciness (2); rice (1)
Intangibility bonus: 0 (of 2)
Assuming you’re not vegan, wouldn’t you get a little geared up if you saw a pile of Jack cheese melting atop freshly chopped meat on a taqueria grill — and knew it was headed straight for your burrito? We certainly did on this visit to Aguila de Oro, so it’s no understatement to say that we’ve probably never been more let down by a slab. Good grief, this one sucked the chrome off a trailer hitch. Sure, we appreciated the plentiful, all-melted cheese, and the hell-bringing spice and hot bites were nice touches as well. But between the greasy, slippery chicken — which generously offered not one, but two cartilage-inclusive bites — a particularly terrible ingredient mix that ensured our first five or six bites consisted of nothing but perfectly flavorless rice, flat-tasting (and scarily dark-looking) refried beans, sub-zero intangibility, and an overall apocalyptic taste, this unnecessarily gargantuan lunch was a rude gut-kicker pretty much all the way around. Other shortcomings (a seemingly endless cavalcade, yes) included merely passable pico de gallo, disappearing guacamole, and a full-on fall-apart during the last few merciless bites. We can’t believe we ate the whole thing, and we’re still unsure why we did.
Shrug: sauciness (7); spiciness (7); rice (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: vegetables (5)
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)
This wasn’t one of those slender, two-bites-across slabs, oh hell no. It also wasn’t one of those burritos with very many vegetables in it, and for that, its Overall Mustache rating™ grieved a bit. Now, to the meat. This hulking dunch contained more pork than pretty much every congressional bill passed since Nixon’s presidency, and while all that carnitas was mighty tasty (if a little on the soft and greasy side), it simply took over at the expense of most every other ingredient; a meat coup ensued...a total meat shutdown, man. Bites leaned one of two ways: all-meat or no-meat, usually the former. Elsewhere — not that there was much else on hand — the tortilla was extra-grilled and thoroughly flaky, and we enjoyed the fine refrieds, if not the full unspectacular rice. A fair bit of spice and melted cheese got things right, and we recognized the intangible value of this heavy-hitting foiled meal; still, its mix was resolutely off. Someone down at Aguila de Oro Portion Control needs a good talking-to.
Shrug: tortilla (7); meat (7); rice (7); vegetables (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)
No, we weren’t expecting this, either — not even when the taquerista draped a heap of Jack cheese upon the pile of grilling carne asada (one of the swiftest moves we’ve seen in quite some time at the taqueria counter). What emerged from Aguila de Oro’s kitchen was girthsome, a little cylindrical, and a serious slab-salvo fired by this sub-profile taqueria in the southeast corner of town. Sure, there were a number of shrug-worthy elements on notice, from the slightly sticky tortilla and aggressive rice-grain count on through the carne asada’s surprisingly stewy texture; all these minor missteps were tragedy-free, though. The reddish refried beans did the trick, booming spice instantly rattled our cage, every bite was a hot bite, the salsa verde was on the mark throughout, and hey look, diced onion everywhere. What more proof could a skeptic want? Two-mustache intangibility? Alright.
Shrug: meat (7); tortilla (6); rice (6)
Clang: vegetables (4)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)
Not even a half dozen nine-mustache element ratings could muster enough torque to tow this burrito out of the Ditch of Deficient Intangibility. Was it the slim vegetabular pickings? The bland, occasionally undercooked brown rice? The overly gummy tortilla? Whatever the source of those non-plussed looks on the faces of our panel members, it helped ensure Aguila de Oro’s third consecutive sub-eight-mustache rating. A woeful shortage of pico de gallo, coupled with some nigh-invisible guacamole, sent that vegetables rating tumbling, and the grilled chicken, while fully capable, remained unspectacular and merely workmanlike throughout. On the positive side of the ledger, this burrito ate bigger than it looked at the outset, to the tune of 18 bites. Refried beans were exceptional, as was salsa roja deployment and taste. Basics such as hot temperatures and fairly shatterproof construction were covered with a nine-mustache blanket, as was the tricky notion of a seamless ingredient mix. Usually when a slab racks up this many sky-high ratings, its fate is money in the Bank of Mustache. Not this time. Something was absent.