the Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly Apparel Bazaar

Iguana Azul, Taq. La Crocker-AmazonOMR: 7.42
928 Geneva
cross street: Mission
ph. 415/584-2318
Map Visits: 5
Hmm, what sort of interesting angle can we take on this Crocker-Amazon mainstay? We thought its kitchen's strong effort in 2011 finally put the place in the clear, but given its crash back to seven-mustache mediocrity the following year, its short-lived success turned out to be nothing more than a mirage. What else? There's a convenient Muni stop right out front. Breakfast and bottled beer available. Credit cards accepted. Open real late Thursday-Sunday.

Will My Health Be Violated?

06/24/12Super Pastor$6.857.00 Mustaches
Swish: burstage abatement (10); size (8); temperature (8)
Shrug: meat (7); rice (7); beans (7); cheese (7); tortilla (6); vegetables (6); sauciness (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: spiciness (5)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

As excited as we were for a replay of La Iguana Azul's strong 2011 performance, it was clear from bite one that eight mustaches (or anything close to it) wasn't in the cards here on this evening. What went wrong? Other than airtight construction and proper overall sizing, what didn't? The steamed tortilla was a sticky, ugly thing, and it cradled a little bit of shruggery and a whole lot of weirdness. Were the grilled onions really marinated in balsamic? Is that even appropriate for burrito-destined onions? (Not to us, no.) The choppy ingredient mix never came close to hitting any kind of stride, while there was something definitely off about the sauciness; meanwhile, spice never entered the fray with regularity. Bites were always warm but rarely hot, and most of the rest of this slab's elements were seven-mustache dull, all the way down to the neither-special-nor-disastrous pork. We were so bored by the end that we didn't even bother with post-burrito chocolate flan.

07/23/11Super Carnitas$6.858.50 Mustaches
Swish: spiciness (10); size (9); tortilla (9); sauciness (9); temperature (9); burstage abatement (9); meat (8); cheese (8); vegetables (8); ingredient mix (8)
Shrug: beans (7); rice (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

The big story? Generous length. Other significant selling points? A flaky-grilled tortilla, non-stop salsafication, and citrus-inflected spiciness that blasted our panel’s lips in all the right ways. Letdowns? There were a couple: a sodden, less-than-hot hind end, as well as a whole bunch of nothing-special rice that prevented the very capable refried beans from shining as brightly — can refried beans shine? — as they could have. Meat report? The Blue Iguana’s winning fried pork resisted mushiness throughout, so much so that our judges began (futilely) brainstorming synonyms for “invitingly tough.” Most importantly, all the carnitas tasted pretty good. Potent intangibility and a set of finely melted cheese rounded out this slab, helping it ratchet up La Iguana Azul’s highest-ever rating, by far.

09/21/08Super Pollo Asado$6.507.17 Mustaches
Swish: size (9); spiciness (9); temperature (9); burstage abatement (9); vegetables (8)
Shrug: meat (7); tortilla (6); rice (6); sauciness (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: beans (5); cheese (5)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

Our critical airship never reached much of a cruising altitude on this afternoon, as a high pressure front of semi-melted jack cheese micro-grates moved in before Slab One’s pilot could even flip our vessel’s windshield wipers on. And this just in about La Iguana Azul’s refried beans: not real tasty. This burrito's grilled chicken was finely ground and grease-producing, but it displayed enough peppery seasoning to rise above its peculiar chop style. The overly steamed tortilla, however - a victim of its own gumminess - wasn’t quite as fortunate; same goes for the rice, which was either “enhanced” by saffron, or perhaps simply contained a whole block of butter. Good grief, we sound grouchy here, so we’ll wrap things up nicely without having to again lean on that earlier aviation motif: Hats off to hell-bringing spice, burly sizing, dunce-proof construction, hot bites galore, and an avocado-inclusive vegetable mix that did the trick.

08/07/06Super Carne Asada$5.857.58 Mustaches
Swish: vegetables (10); size (9); cheese (9); temperature (9); burstage abatement (9); tortilla (8)
Shrug: meat (7); rice (7); beans (6); sauciness (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: spiciness (4)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

Not unlike the empty-headed supermodel who’s great company at the cocktail party until (s)he starts talking, this burrito looked like a true winner until we ate it. Bodacious dimensions? Check. Well-heated and smartly built? Indeed. Avocado slices, diced steak, and scads of melted cheese? You bet. Judged on appearance, La Iguana Azul’s effort had a slew of mustaches sewn up even before bite one. How could it register a mere 7.58? A lack of unique taste played a significant role. Leading the flavor-deficient charge was a flight of harmless beef that mistakenly thought it could pass muster on its own unseasoned merit. Elsewhere, the small-grain rice seemed to just take up space, while the refried beans tasted a little off. And while the whole affair wasn’t necessarily dry, it certainly could have done with a saucy (and spicy) slap on the cheek. The ingredient mix suffered from segregation, but a robust welt of melted cheese brought us some good times and toned down the beans’ shortcoming. Too bad they leaned on the “bland” lever a little too hard back in the kitchen. If burritos could assume roles in major motion pictures, this one would have been Ben Stiller’s character in Zoolander.

01/26/05Super al Pastor$5.657.92 Mustaches
A long, slender burrito like this is the neatest kind to eat, with nary a spill or collapse in sight. Supremely compressed – practically vacuum-packed – ingredients such as juicy, extraordinarily tasty barbecued pork and tender avocado carried the day, even as less savory aspects (semi-incognito sauce, too much rice, a segregated mix) reared up every few bites. We forgave the minor sauce soak-through near the end, since it was abundantly clear that this burrito’s maker ought to teach Cheese-Melting 101.