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Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, September 2006back to archive

This time around, more than ever, we take special care to cater to all levels of Burritoeater devotion.

Hardcore fans will delight in the slab-by-slab rundown of each August taqueria visit detailed in Bite. Chew. Mull.

The rough-hewn tact and coarse back-and-forth of Dear Beano never fails to reel in the casual rubbernecker looking for the e-mail equivalent of a good old-fashioned ten-car pile-up.

Obstinate User Commentary, our clearinghouse for taqueria-related compliments, complaints, and causticity, is the people's choice for community involvement,

We're unsure about the market appeal of The 2006 Slab Scrum, but we figure it can't hurt to run it up the flagpole. If anyone salutes, hey, alright.

(epilogue), meanwhile, holds little appeal for anyone, we reckon.

Pull up a food.

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Coming Soon to the Back of a T-Shirt Near You

When the month's OMR (Overall Mustache Rating) crests the 8.00 mark, that's tangible proof that it's been 31 days well spent on the local taqueria tiles. The dozen entries on Burritoeater's August record averaged out to 8.02 mustaches. Eight mustaches, real good burrito.

Other than a major miscue at Taq. White Orchid and a dull delivery from 2005 darling Taq. Express, disappointments-in-foil were pleasantly rare throughout the foggy dog days of late summer. La Castro Taq. debuted with a handsome scud that reached well into the high eights, while La Corneta Taq. in Glen Park dazzled our panel with a smashing, cheese-packed chile relleno effort. The Tacos Santana truck also outdid itself one Saturday afternoon. Best of all, no disgruntled kitchen wiseguy tried to trick us by slipping hot sesos into our tortilla while we weren't looking.

TAQ. EXPRESS (Civic Center / Tenderloin), 8/2/06, Super Chicken en Salsa Roja: 7.08 mustaches
Mr. Hyde had his way this time; Dr. Jekyll could only look on helplessly. We’ve had spicier slices of flan before.

TACOS SANTANA (Bayshore), 8/5/06, Super Pollo Asado: 8.50 mustaches
Our intangi-meter bing-bing-bing’ed like crazy throughout.

TAQ. LA IGUANA AZUL (Crocker-Amazon), 8/7/06, Super Carne Asada: 7.58 mustaches
Too bad they leaned on the “bland” lever a little too hard back in the kitchen.

TAQ. EL TACO LOCO (Mission St.) (Mission), 8/9/06, Super al Pastor: 8.17 mustaches
With the right amount of beans, this would have been the Crazy Taco’s second consecutive 8.50-mustache effort. But, no.

LA CORNETA TAQ. (Glen Park), 8/11/06, Super Chile Relleno: 8.64 mustaches
The cheese-filled vegetable hunk within turned out to be an extraordinary centerpiece.

EL TESORO (Civic Center / Tenderloin), 8/15/06, Super Chile Verde (Pork): 7.92 mustaches
A handful of shrugs and a slew of hoorays.

TAQ. EDUARDO (South of Market), 8/17/06, Super Chile Verde (Pork): 8.17 mustaches
We ordered carnitas. Mr. Slabmakin’ Fella behind the counter assured us the meat was carnitas. And yet, it wasn’t carnitas. Mighty fine burrito, though.

TACOS EL TONAYENSE (Harrison/19th St.) (Mission), 8/19/06, Super Carne Asada: 8.25 mustaches
An immeasurable amount of intangible deliciousness delivered the knockout blow.

TAQ. EL BALAZO (Upper Haight), 8/22/06, Super Pollo Asado: 8.17 Mustaches
If this one arrives fully heated, it’s in the vaunted 8.50-mustache range. Meanwhile, the refrieds served as poster-beans for delicious mush.

TAQ. WHITE ORCHID (Fisherman's Wharf), 8/25/06, Super Pollo Asado: 6.67 Mustaches
Charmlessness in the burritoplace. Lifeless, all-blah chicken and overly sludgy guacamole each took home a game-worn dunce cap.

TACOS EL TONAYENSE (Harrison/22nd St.) (Mission), 8/28/06, Super al Pastor: 8.33 mustaches
It’s rare that such a high-scoring effort suffers a clang-level element rating and lives to tell about it. But this is no ordinary slabwagon.

LA CASTRO TAQ. (Castro), 8/31/06, Super Pollo en Chile Verde: 8.75 Mustaches
And on the day's final month, San Francisco’s taqueria scene experienced a little tremor. A rip-roaring debut.

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Beez Nuts

His pension checks roll in like logs on a flume. The grandkids are all grown up. The garage is spotless, the front steps are swept. He's seen it all. He's done it all. He knows San Francisco burrito shops better than your credit card company knows your mother's maiden name. What's a taqueria sage to do in his golden years?

Grouse, scoff, bellyache -- he's got all the frustrated old-guy reactions down pat. Send your taqueria-relevant queries to our man Beano Cook. Once you sift through all the nostalgia littering his reply, about how everything was utopian until BART tore up Mission St. in the late '60s and "those Chipotle commies" starting setting up shop all over North America later on, you may even learn something. Either way, expect the phrase "hell in a handbasket" in there somewhere -- or on a good day, "rapid and utter ruination."

Dear Beano: Will you be launching a MySpace page soon?
Dear Apocalypse reader: There are two answers to that. The first one is “no”; the second one goes into a bit more detail, then ends in “no” as well. So, firstly, no. Secondly, I do not have audio, video, or tour dates to post. I surely do not need to add boy-crazy 14-year-old girls from Fremont, or slick-dressing, Web-stalking 29-year-old boys from the Marina, as “friends.” In summation, no.

Dear Beano: Which taqueria has the cleanest rest room in San Francisco? My vote would go to Papalote in the Western Addition. It's almost spotless.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Haven't felt the need when I've been at that Papalote, although I recall the restroom at the one on 24th St. being adequately tidy. I also remember being struck by the remarkable sheen on display in Taq. La Cumbre's lavatory on one particular visit. Ladies, weigh in with your ideas.

Dear Beano: Do you know these people? They look shifty. I think you should fight them.
Dear Apocalypse reader: They present no real threat; we're on good terms. There's a third, unpictured person in their organization...he's the back-room guy, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. They kind of remind me of The A-Team, only there's no B.A. Baracus, no Murdock, no Face Man...wait, scratch that -- that one guy is pretty handsome.

Dear Beano: Not to put too fine a point on it, but you seem like a real jerk, Beano.
Dear Apocalypse reader: They pay me to act this way once a month. Don't read too much into it.

Dear Beano: I was leafing through the April 2006 Apocalypse, and read about Bucky's Burritos. I clicked the link provided and found that, alas, the Web site is no more, and that the short-lived company apparently bit the dust. I can only surmise that your concerns about "the long-term viability of a blue crab / black olive / cabbage burrito in the national taqueria marketplace" were well-founded.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Thanks for the update. The wizard who thought up the PB & J burrito option on their menu ought to be publicly insulted by Don Rickles. I don't mean really, but I mean, really. Everything's going to hell in a handbasket nowadays, I tell you. What's next? "Law and Order" on Ice?

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Specially Designed for Those Letter to the Editor-Types

This month's collection of reader input includes the phrase, "for crying out loud" -- pound for pound, possibly the finest G-rated disagreement signifier in the land. No exclamation point necessary.

Send your own collection of agreement/disagreement signifiers to

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

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“I beg you to retry Gordo Taq. in the Inner Sunset. Granted, I eat only super vegetarian slabs. But even if it had meat, the burrito I had at the "Fat One" today would have been a tasteless flub, surely not worthy of an 8.32 average. It's nearly in your top ten, for crying out loud.”

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“My only two visits to Taq. El Jalapeño on Ocean Ave. were marred by large lumps of gristle in the carne asada slabs. A definite turn-off.”

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"I'm vegetarian, and I think you should try the chile relleno burrito at Taq. El Balazo in Upper Haight. It's heaven."

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“As a long-time Tonayense disciple (truck and taqueria), my standards are appropriately high. Unfortunately, I was let down with two recent visits to Taq. San Francisco. Both involved a lack of salsa. On the first visit, I was a little stunned at the paucity of saucity -- therefore I vowed to go back a week later. Same result. Shocker. Best keep an eye on them.”

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Because America Loves a Good Slab Scrum

Everyone high atop Burritoeater Towers is excited -- in that jumpy, corporate kind of way -- about our upcoming invitational tournament, only the second of its kind. The results of our first, the well-documented 2004 event, have grown a bit long in the tooth, so we thought it was high time we cranked up the postseason hype machine and toyed with the oddsmakers all over again. Witness: the 2006 Slab Scrum.

We'll be releasing further details (a full list of participants, tournament schedule and format, total cash purse*) towards the end of September, with an eye on the whole shebang getting underway by early October.

In the meantime, have another delicious horchata.

* Indicates absolute fabrication

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Who would you like to see produce the October Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly? Carol Doda? Monroe Ficus again? Should we bring back Quinn Martin? How about Guy McIntyre? Send your ideas here. If we sign a production agreement with your candidate, you will automatically be entered into our bi-annual Win a Side of Guac! sweepstakes.

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Yours, in delicious horchata,