the Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly Apparel Bazaar

Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, August 2006back to archive

Bite. Chew. Mull. is what it is.

What do Gwen Stefani, Don Cheadle, the guy who runs the register at Taco the Town down in Brisbane, and Bullwinkle have in common? For starters, none of their letters made this month's cut for Dear Beano. See if yours did.

If you don't watch where you click in Obstinate User Commentary, you may get a Web page full of photos of dudes with Chapman sticks. Exercise caution.

Considering the blowhard behind This Month in Special Messages From the Chicago Meat-Eating and Racketeering Syndicate, it's no wonder they call it the Windy City.

One of these months, when you least expect it, (epilogue) will turn out to be a compelling read.

Pull up a food.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Loco Taco Taq. Goes Nine, Gets Win

What with only 10 taqueria visits on the books - 11 if we include our ill-fated trip to the Whole Foods Market Burrito Bar (detailed in last month's Apocalypse) - we downshifted our schedule a bit last month. Whether or not it was a conscious decision on our panel's part to ramp down remains to be seen, but one thing's for sure.

Problem is, we can't recall. Know what that one thing is? Fill us in at

TACOS SAN BUENA (Financial District), 7/6/06, Super Carnitas: 7.67 Mustaches
Our first visit to this burrito wagon's new location at Pacific and Sansome rendered satisfactory results.

TAQ. FIESTA TACO (Civic Center / Tenderloin), 7/10/06, Super Pollo Asado: 8.08 Mustaches
More workmanlike efficiency from this flatlining slabshed.

TAQ. LA PAZ (Civic Center / Tenderloin), 7/12/06, Super Pollo en Salsa Roja: 7.42 Mustaches
La Paz's low-priced menu may jam econo, but this burrito's chicken was a blah exercise in contemporary poultry deployment.

TAQ. EL CASTILLITO (18th St.) (Castro), 7/17/06, Super Veggie: 8.18 Mustaches
This salvo of bites jogged faint memories of that June afternoon we spent sitting in a black Chevy Beretta in a Costco parking lot down in Yuma – windows shut and all. Our all-El Castillito week begins here.

TAQ. EL CASTILLITO (Civic Center / Tenderloin), 7/19/06, Super Carnitas: 8.42 Mustaches
A nice, huge lunch. The stellar, avocado-spackled vegetable medley was a particular source of elation.

TAQ. EL CASTILLITO (Church) (Castro), 7/21/06, Super Breakfast (Chorizo): 8.54 Mustaches
A powerful chorizo/egg scramble dominated this white-hot breakfast slab top to bottom. Mighty tasty.

TAQ. EL CASTILLITO (Mission), 7/23/06, Super Carne Asada: 7.83 Mustaches
Aridity was the order of the evening - a dry, comparatively limp-wristed effort from this civic heavyweight. Our all-El Castillito week ends here.

TAQ. LA TAMBORA (Mission Terrace), 7/26/06, Super Carnitas: 7.75 Mustaches
Split-personality carnitas and the worst bite of the month sent this slab careening down a steep, greasy slope.

LOCO TACO TAQ. (Lower Haight), 7/28/06, Super Carne Asada: 9.00 Mustaches
A liberal slathering of some of the finest salsa verde this side of the Rio Grande made an already excellent ingredient ensemble that much more unassailable. Loco Taco enters the Burritoeater pantheon.

LA FONDA (Inner Sunset), 7/31/06, Super Molé Chicken: 8.17 Mustaches
A rich, ebony molé sauce was the dominant element of this handsomely sized effort. Meanwhile, we're convinced the tomato tortilla was nothing more than a flour tortilla hued in some sort of pale red food coloring.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Strike While the Irony's Hot, People

Scroll down a taste. Notice how we print readers' inquiries to our grouchy old taqueria sage in bold type? Our VP of Fonts and Character Sizing likes to throw the bold type lever each month in an effort to demonstrate how important this monthly exercise of give-and-take is to everyone who works high atop Burritoeater Towers.

The fact that Beano is a 107-year-old geezer with a pair of magnifying glasses for eyes is also a factor. Kindly reach him here:

Dear Beano: Who has the most jaw-rendering spicy salsa in the city? I want it to hurt.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Taq. Guadalajara's your joint. With colorful wall murals inside, a Mexican flag color scheme outside, and sesos on the menu, it enjoys brisk business from neighborhood families and anyone else in search of the real Excelsior deal. Furthermore, it boasts an unbeatable roster of quarter-fed toy vendors, including Golden Bling!, Homies (Series #6), and a nameless machine that traffics exclusively in messianic stickers and decals. In other news, Guadalajara’s ultra-scorching habañero salsa has reportedly claimed several fatalities over the years. The story goes that all victims have been overcome by a false sense of bravado prior to overdose; even more tellingly, each casualty was named “Steve,” “Jennifer,” or “Bubba.”

Dear Beano: I had to tell you about the smashed five-year-old at Tacos Morenos in Santa Cruz. The poor child grabbed what she thought was a juice, but turned out to be a sangria off the lower shelf of the self-serve cooler near the counter. As her parents (the owners) worked vigorously to assemble magical al pastor burritos, their daughter tripped and stumbled her way into oblivion.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Too bad McDonald's divested its shares in Chipotle - the nationwide taqueria chain could have erected PlayPlaces outside certain locations. Then and only then would we have been able to keep the nation's burrito-eating youth off the liquid cheer in the taqueria fridge, and instead, on slides, swings, and jungle gyms.

Dear Beano: We went to a Noe Valley block party on the Fourth of July that featured a bounce house and fire truck for the kids, and free beer and the Tacos San Buena truck for the adults. Fun for all ages! Replace the weekend warrior blues band with some of that college rock I like so much, and they’d really be on to something. I asked the San Buena guy if the truck was ever coming back to the LIMN parking lot, and he smiled and said, “No.”
Dear Apocalypse reader: I never knew those contraptions were known as "bounce houses" until now. When I was a tyke, we didn't have such things. We had sangria, though.

Dear Beano: I would like to buy a tortilla steamer, like the ones you see at actual taquerias, so I can make my own burritos at home. Can you advise me on where I can buy one?
Dear Apocalypse reader: Montgomery Wards, perhaps? Would Emporium-Capwells carry such a thing? Here, wait, I found you a Fresh-O-Matic 4000 on the Internets - 55% off, even. Better yet, consider a grill.

Dear Beano: Do you ever review out of town establishments? I’m curious what you'd think of El Super Burrito in Millbrae. I’ve probably consumed over 50 burritos from this taqueria in the past 20 years - the place supported my eating habits as an adolescent. Without them, I may never have recovered from all the hours I spent working hard at my father’s apartment particular, that hot afternoon I spent jack-hammering a condemned pool.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Every now and again, we'll patronize our friends over at with some words of idiocy about burritos beyond San Francisco's reach. But I think the real story here is, Isn't jack-hammering illegal in California? Ferrets are too, right?

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Your Subheadline Here - Call 707/867-5309, Ask for Jenny

It's usually around this point of the trip when we get tired of driving. Someone, anyone, take the wheel - send us your ill-informed insight, your baseless opinion, your sad story of living abroad and consequent inability to procure a quality burrito:

However, do not under any circumstances send us photos of dudes with Chapman sticks. That is what is for.

Comments may be edited for spelling, clarity, and/or brevity at our editorial board's discretion. (By "may," we mean "shall.")

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

“I'm living up in the fog belt on Lone Mountain these days, and your Web site has become more than a source of entertainment - it is now invaluable. Pancho's on Geary is the closest taqueria to my place, and it's been nothing but dreaded. But I love Papalote - both the chili verde and chicken molé are amazing. I'm looking forward making some field trips to El Burrito Express and Ocean Taq. on Divis, and La Fonda on Irving.”

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

“There is no way Chino's sucks worse than any of the Gordo locations. No chance. They're not great, but still. And the El Burrito Express location out in the Avenues is for sure small and uncomfy, but the food is definitely better. Your Web site had great street cred - just looked for the first time, gotta say I'm a little disappointed. My credentials: SF native and far-ranging burrito grazer. And lame enough to sit down and write about it on the Interweb.”

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

“You must try the carnitas at Luna Taq. - that's where it's at. About 50-60% of the time, the meat is as good as old-school El Castillito.”

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

“I live around the corner from Taq. Express and used to be a regular there. A few months ago, the ownership changed structure and there was a big shakeup. There was talk of adding pork to the menu and starting to make the chips again, but none of it came to fruition. The long and short of it is that the famously friendly register guy, Nelly, has been displaced, and their best burrito man, Jose, is also on the outs. The new crew there is comprised of a couple of 13-year-old kids working the register and a burrito-making rookie working the grill. Since the shakeup, the burritos have been bland, sauceless, and overloaded with rice.

"I tried to keep supporting the place in hope that there would be a learning curve and they'd work their way out of burrito purgatory, but no dice. Now I just walk the extra block down to El Tesoro, which, while not as friendly as the old crew at Express, has put up some monster slabs in my book lately.”

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

The City of Big Shoulders (and Bigger Angioplasty) Weighs In

Direct from the land of wings-inclusive pancakes and deep-fried yogurt comes this scoff-laden screed, ostensibly in response to a marinated tofu burrito from Papalote that recently earned Burritoeater's prestigious nine-mustache rating.
Look. I understand it's healthy, that your home base is San Francisco, and that you continue to foolishly embrace the flower power mentality that your fair city unfortunately generated some 39 summers ago. But tofu does not belong in a burrito. Not ever.

When my great uncle ("tio" for you tofu-nibbling anglos) Timeteo prepared the first Mission burrito at El Faro in the fall of 1961, he never intended for tofu to be a primary ingredient. I'm sure he would hack up his jalapeños if he knew it had come to this. Carne asada, pollo, al pastor, carnitas, barbacoa - YES! Chorizo, pescado, camarones, machaca - PREACH ON, PADRE! Birria, tripa, lengua - SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS!

Tofu? No way.

I ask that you reconsider the inclusion of this tasteless imitator. Put away those bellbottoms and the worn-out cassettes where Jerry's guitar leads were "soaring" during set two of the Colgate '77 show, and think of those of us in other regions. Burritos should be filled with those that once walked among us on this big blue ball. Not soy, amigo. Not soy.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>


The Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly is now a Monroe Ficus production, until the JMJ Bullock references just become too tiresome. Then we'll think about renewing negotiations with the Quinn Martin bigwigs again.

Please forward freely, yet responsibly.

Look at the size of that spider crawling up your arm!

Newsletter subscription addition/removal requests, questions, comments, and/or anecdotes always welcome:

Kindly direct news of taqueria openings, closures, or name-changes here:

The Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly,, and The Mustache Logo are exclusive properties of The Exploding Head Trick Publishing Co. © 2003-2006. They're ours and you can't have them, unless perhaps you ask politely. And even then, we’ll probably hit you with a six-figure licensing fee that will have you seeing stars and us seeking telephone numbers for any number of offshore banks. Or perhaps we'll just send some Wiffle Bat-wielding goons your way.

Yours, in delicious horchata,