the Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly Apparel Bazaar

Intestinal Apocalypse Weekly, January 6, 2004back to archive
Get your blargh's worth:

- Results: 12/31 - 1/4
- Schedule: 1/6 - 1/12
- Hot Sesos!: Playoff Schedule Update
- The Shyst Continues: 2003-04 Gas Face Awards
- Waggers de Lengua: A Vanload Of Readers Speak!

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Back to a full schedule of taqueria (re-)visitation last week after our White Castle-storming days of late December 2003. Victims of our ruthless burrito analysis this time around included: oft-overlooked gem Taqueria Baja California on that particularly grim stretch of 16th St. where people have sex in shopping carts; westside stalwart Gordo Taqueria, where beans are king and every other ingredient is the bean-slave; and, sadly underachieving Taqueria La Alteña on
Mission near 22nd St., where they inexplicably use pump cheese on each prepared food product. Results:

--> 4 mustaches <--
16th St. nr. South Van Ness
$4.80 - super carne asada
Comments: Proof that a place can kick down a fully recommendable burrito if they do a few things perfectly and most everything else really well – in the case of Taq. Baja California, a hot bite in every bite and ideal construction technique coupled with a strong medley of ingredients and a certain intangible goodness; average size, sure, and fairly conservative spiciness and cheese usage, but all other elements garnered raves, from the grilled tortilla and preponderance of chopped onions to its fine sauciness and chunky steak; we found a soft spot for this taco room in our hearts and bellies due to their burrito's ineffible flavor...had to be the sauce, must've been the sauce; keep a sharp lookout - the sign's sheathed by a humongous tree.

--> 3.5 mustaches <--
9th Ave. btwn. Lincoln/Irving
$5.60 - super beef
Comments: Loved by many an East Bay'er and SF Avenue-dweller, Gordo has always flummoxed the Committee with its delicious burritos that are routinely fouled by rickety construction practices and an ongoing fascination with the oversized pinto bean - it's enough to make you want to bring in your own tub of refrieds and a roll of salsa-slathered electrical tape; on the soccer team of burritos, Fat Taq.'s works are the fireplug-like center fullback - squatty and short, of unrounded girth; the average steak, like just about every other ingredient, was overwhelmed by a flurry of giganto pinto beans, the kind Vikings slung ashore centuries ago when they sacked Iceland; and yet, it was all acceptable until burstage occurred early and often - only our remarkable containment skills prevented an all-out collapse; top-tier guacamole and pico de gallo and a steady sauciness offset the burrito's lack of spice; if they import some refried beans and learn how to (literally) seal the deal, Gordo gets four hairy ones, but until then....

--> 3 mustaches <--
Mission nr. 22nd St.
$5.20 - super carne asada
Comments: Pump cheese!, they used pump cheese! - stooges; Taq. La Alteña double-faulted the other day, serving up a burrito that, given this popular taqueria's reputation, missed wide on an alarming number of bites; oh it was a lengthy, albeit slender piece, and its fine composition and consistently hot temperature meant business, but when you're dealing with a place that thinks it's okay to swap in icky ballpark melto-cheese for the real deal, all bets are off; the steak neither added nor subtracted simply showed up for the work party, sloughed off, and read magazines in the corner; other than a fair helping of chopped onions (always a wise move), this burrito seemed to take the anti-vegetable stance a bit too far - guac content was embarrassingly light, and cilantro accents were completely in absentia; pump cheese!; merely sporadic spice and some iffy refried beans presumably held over from Thanksgiving '01 also brought down the room; four locations to disappoint you in the Mission and Excelsior.

Still to be revisited: Botana; La Casona; Cuco's; El Gran Taco.

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And again, the Committee shall wheel its Hummer up, down, and all around San Francisco sidewalks this week/weekend as we visit the following taquerias:

Tu 1/6: La Casona
Th 1/8: El Gran Taco
Sa 1/10: Botana
M 1/12: Cuco's

You may have noticed (while not really noticing at all) that last week's taqueria visitation schedule was the first one in quite awhile to occur almost exactly as planned. Naturally, we don't want to set the scheduling-accuracy bar too high, but if the wind blows just right, we hope to visit each of the above taquerias in the scheduled order. Nevertheless, check with us prior to arranging that wiffle bat goon squad smack-up to go down this Thursday night at the Great Taco on Broadway.

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Complete results of 2003 SF taqueria tour released: In about a week or so
First round begins: No earlier than Jan. 14, no later than Jan. 20
Semifinals begin: No earlier than Feb. 5, no later than Feb. 9
Finals begin: Feb. 23 or 25
Champion crowned: Feb. 29
March 1: Temporary vegetarianism

Or not.

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Anyone got a podium? We could use a podium. PODIUM.

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This week's mailbag is as full-to-burst as last week's holiday edition was paltry. The Committee considered each query with a lengthy session of thoughtful chin-stroking and sturgeon-facing before replying in our typically rash, reactionary fashion. Each letter's requisite closing remark of "Go screw yourself, Beano" has been deleted for the sake of brevity.

Dear Committee: "Wasn't/isn't there a sportscaster named Beano Cook?"
The Committee keeps its cover: Prove we're not him.

Dear Committee: "What's the most expensive burrito in SF? Least expensive?"
The Committee visits the lab/records room and does the research: According to our forthcoming findings, the most expensive super carne asada burrito in town comes courtesy of Andalé in (where else?) the Marina: $7.50, and you get to see it on a flat screen color monitor before you order it. Except they don't call it "super carne asada" - it's a "supremo beef" burrito. Uh huh. Salsa Taqueria on the corner of Treat and 25th St. in the Outer Mission features San Francisco's least expensive super carne asada burrito, priced at $3.75. For this very reasonable fee, you not only get a burrito (wrapped in what is perhaps the most lovingly grilled tortilla in town), but also an opportunity to view tremendous exterior murals in which select menu items - your enchiladas, your tamales, your burritos - are portrayed dancing what appears to be some sort of bastardization of the Twist. Not to be outdone, an adjacent wall features a variety of smiling, mustachioed vegetables making exaggerated gestures vegetables don't usually make. It's completely rad.

Dear Committee: "Have you developed a burrito pooch belly yet? Are the off-days spent working off the lard?"
The Committee sneers: No!

Dear Committee: "Idaho? Puhleeze. If you're going to get airborne at any point on this mission, you must pass on whatever potato-and-leaf burrito Idaho offers and hit the Windy City. The burritos here are deep-fried and filled with sausage, Italian beef, spicy wings, and beer, and come with a side of cheese fries. The survival rate is about 60/40 in your favor, but hell, you only live once, yes?"
The Committee nods agreeably and emphatically: Yet another reason to extol Chicago, and the Midwest in general. You people know how to get your food on. Build an ocean and some mountains and we're there.

Dear Committee: "Are the rumours true that not only the moustache rating system but also the entire idea for this tortilla-wrapped odyssey were purloined from a friend - a fellow burrito eater, no less - in San Luis Obispo many a year ago?"
The Committee contemplates: Quite a rumor, and it appears it's been given a good marinating in the tub of exaggeration. The Committee's notoriously uninhibited love for the Great Wrapped Food of the West indeed germinated during visits to California's Central Coast well over a decade ago. And we've made little secret to friends and readers during the last year that our Five-Mustache Scale is the initial product of a brilliantly creative Sonoman named Kobza. So if you define "purloin" as "borrowed with great reverence from a burrito brother gone missing," then you've nailed it. However, remind yourself of that ancient proverb scrawled on the walls of California's most sacred beach caves: "An extraordinary burrito is much more than the sum of its ingredients."

Dear Committee: "Personally I don't think there is a good burrito off the Mission corridor. But I do dig that spot in San Rafael, and I know of a good one in San Leandro (Los Pericos)."
The Committee takes it to the limit: Here's the kind of perspective our far-reaching project has aimed to carefully sidestep all along. Next week we'll be revealing plenty of taquerias where the super carne asada burritos come Committee-recommended, and IAW readers would be remiss to expect every single one to be found on hardscrabble Mission soil. Remember, all Eagles fans don't come from Philadelphia...they sold a lot of records in other areas as well.

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Keep a-forwardin, people. We love receiving e-mails from people we don't know, particularly when those e-mails aren't pitching some "Magic Penis Pill That Adds Inches!!"

Questions, comments, anecdotes, list addition/removal requests always welcome and encouraged:

yours, in lard -- and again, happy new year to ya,