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Girasol, Taq. Park MercedOMR: 7.33
1600 Holloway
cross street: Arellano
ph. 415/338-1040
Map Visits: 4
Featuring the same menu as Carmelina’s Taq. at UCSF — but boasting a fun DIY taco/nachos bar absent at its higher-ed counterpart — Taq. Girasol nearly gets lost among the numerous dining options scattered around SFSU's Cesar Chavez Student Center food court. Bring an overstuffed backpack or laptop and fit right in at this dim space that doubles as the architectural definition of brutalist. Breakfast available. Closed Friday evenings and weekends. Cash only.

Will My Health Be Violated?

03/11/11El Cabo (Carnitas)$5.527.33 Mustaches
Swish: tortilla (10); burstage abatement (10); size (8); beans (8); temperature (8)
Shrug: rice (7); cheese (7); spiciness (7); meat (6); vegetables (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: sauciness (4)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

Despite a wondrous tortilla that predictably resulted from this burrito’s extended stint on the grill...despite peerless construction...despite fairly sized dimensions and some real capable refried beans...this foiled effort couldn’t help but remain mired in mediocrity’s pit of quick sand. A bunch of too-creamy, hideous-tasting guacamole — not to mention a pathetically sparse level of sauciness — combined to scuttle any chances at respectability here, and the iffy ingredient mix didn’t help the mustachioed cause none, either. Plus, the carnitas advertised as “delishes” on a handwritten placard at the counter proved otherwise. Hrumph.

10/01/07La Paz (Pollo en Salsa Roja)$5.817.00 Mustaches
Swish: size (9); burstage abatement (9); rice (8); beans (8); sauciness (8); spiciness (8)
Shrug: tortilla (7); vegetables (7); meat (6)
Clang: ingredient mix (5); temperature (5); cheese (3)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

Our third on-record visit to the big concrete beam that doubles as SFSU’s indoor food court cornered the seven-mustache mediocrity market like an old pro. Certain elements came through with flying colors – we’re thinking of the foolproof construction, fully capable refried beans and rice, and perennially fine level of sauciness. Spiciness also played a surprisingly significant role, thanks to a fiery teaspoon of salsa roja and a few jalapeño slices. The undoctored tortilla could have used a short stint on the Girasol grill for added flakiness, but them’s the breaks when a place is this popular and the line's that long. More surprising than the considerable spice factor was the suspiciously pink shade cast by the boiled chicken, and the fact that the meat itself didn’t factor into nearly enough bites. Why’s that? We have to point the finger of blame straight at the sorry ingredient mix, which failed to integrate the warm elements with the not-so-warm ones, which in turn resulted in a couple of the greatest burrito scourges of all: unmelted cheese and cold bites. Boo, and boo again.

09/07/05La Paz (Chicken Molé)$5.746.17 Mustaches
As bleak as the room in which it was served, this burrito could not have been produced with any less love. We watched its assemblage unfold on the opposite side of the glass counter, and my was it a frowny-faced process. Taq. Girasol’s recipe for a singularly humdrum slab: pick a flour tortilla off the top of the ungrilled/unsteamed pile; add a few spoonfuls of drably effective Spanish rice and refried beans; fling a liberal dose of shredded, saucy, yet unspectacular chicken molé into the mix; heap no small amount of grated jack cheese upon the rising mound, along with some equally chilly, tomato-pelted guacamole and pico de gallo; top it off with some vaguely spicy salsa roja; then shut the tortilla with nary a shake nor a heating stint in the steamer. The whole charade required but 30 seconds, cruelly punctuated by Girasol’s apparent refusal to ensure a stable ingredient mix. The predictable result? Warm bite, not-so-warm bite, rinse, lather, repeat. The molé sauce dragged our taste buds down by the end, the cheese was never given a melting chance, and without any sort of special toss-in – cilantro, chopped onion, even a tiny little Mexican flag on a toothpick – this disappointing burrito may as well have been built at the University of Winnipeg.
11/10/03La Paz (Carne Asada)$5.707.67 Mustaches
The savvy mix did its homework. The rare, tasty steak supported its charbroiled thesis with well-sauced textual evidence. The uninvasive, complementary sour cream made point after salient point. The guacamole used highfalutin terms we’d never before heard. And although the cheese ditched its melting final, at least the whole thing was as big a lecture hall.