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Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, February 2007back to archive

Mike Wallace probes the growing trend of unspectacular burritowork tossed our panel's way over the last two months in Bite. Chew. Mull.

Ever caught our man Beano Cook's spot-on Morley Safer imitation? It's stunning. More in this month's Dear Beano.

This Valentine's Day, Obstinate User Commentary gets misty-eyed reminiscing about long-ago candlelit moments over burritos with...Diane Sawyer.

And it wouldn't be an (epilogue) without some Andy Rooney-style hijinks.

Pull up a food.

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That's No Way to Start the Year

Theorize all you want about how the December/January streak of sub-eight-mustache performances on Burritoeater record is simple comeuppance/payback for that orgiastic Slab Scrum we undertook in late 2006. The truth of the matter is, our panel threw themselves at 11 burritos throughout January, and a few of these burritos may have deserved to have been thrown right back into the kitchens that produced them. Thanks to El Tepa and the new Taq. Guadalajara location in the Mission, a couple of near-winners reared up from the big pile of foil. But all told, it was our second consecutive rough month spent on the San Francisco taqueria circuit. Kind of weird, really.

TAQ. EL SOL (Civic Center / Tenderloin), 1/2/07, Super Pork in Red Sauce: 7.67 mustaches
On our first visit within a few weeks of this taqueria’s opening, a patently centrist burrito emerged.

CARAMBA (South of Market), 1/4/07, Super Chicken Molé: 7.25 mustaches
An unnecessarily loose wrap caused us slab-long anxiety. Ongoing tortilla cleaves only upped the nervous ante.

GORDO TAQ. (Outer Richmond), 1/8/07, Super Beef: 7.58 mustaches
Rumors are afoot that this Gordo shop has plans to package and sell its vaguely adequate refried beans under the product name UltraSludge. Stay tuned.

EL TEPA TAQ. (Mission), 1/11/07, Special BBQ Chicken: 7.92 mustaches
Brandishing a spice index usually reserved for 911-level Indian/Pakistani entrees, this burrito had sirens blaring all over our panel’s taste buds.

TAQ. SAN JOSE (North Beach), 1/14/07, Super Breakfast (Chorizo): 7.08 mustaches
This burrito needed one more cold element like it needed a hole in the tortilla.

HERNANDEZ TAQ. & BAKERY (Visitacion Valley), 1/17/07, Super Pollo en Chile Rojo: 6.67 mustaches
Just boring. Boring burrito. As for the steamily steamed tortilla, we’ve had less sticky sticks of Wrigley’s Spearmint.

LA PARRILLA GRILL (Mission), 1/19/07, Super Pollo: 6.92 mustaches
Since it looked like a real winner on the platter, we figured we’d boarded the next trolley bound for Eightmustacheville. Well, no. Not at all, actually.

TAQ. GUADALAJARA (Mission), 1/21/07, Super Carnitas: 7.50 mustaches
Pico de gallo, onion, and cilantro were each absent and unaccounted for, leaving the avocado and jalapeño slices to fend for their own on short-handed Team Vegetable. Exceptional carnitas, though.

TAQ. EL POTRILLO (Bayshore), 1/24/07, Super al Pastor: 7.25 mustaches
A lack of sauce-fired spice proved to be the biggest shortcoming, while a series of lesser grievances (unmemorable cheese deployment, sequestered rice, and one or two mean names it called us) also brought the mood down a few notches.

LA PARRILLA GRILL (Ingleside), 1/26/07, Super Breakfast: 7.33 mustaches
Other than the MIA cheese and a creeping deficiency of salsa accompaniment, there was much to enjoy here. Two-mustache intangibility!

LA SALSA (Fisherman's Wharf), 1/29/07, Grande Sirloin Steak: 7.67 mustaches
The iffy mix cordoned off various ingredients from one another, and unless you’ve ordered yourself an oil-and-water burrito, this qualifies as an invariable bummer.

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Champion of Chicanery, Sultan of Swing

The more questions, comments, and anecdotes you send our taqueria sage, the less he's bound to mumble to himself all day long while irritating the stuffing out of our VP of Foil Acquisition in the cubical next to him:

Dear Beano: I don’t understand why your site doesn’t allow user commenting.
Dear Apocalypse reader: The mass media, in its current infatuation with all things Web 2.0, has yet to pick up on's bold plunge into Web 31.0. (Webs 3.0 - 30.0 seem to have already been co-opted. Fair enough.) In our own take on Web 31.0, all user commentary is filtered through a seasoned editorial board. These staffers handpick the best submissions for inclusion in a monthly feature titled Obstinate User Commentary (see below), while also saving our readers the troublesome task of slogging through another Internet-fueled torrent of ill-informed idiocy. We're decades ahead of our time, which probably explains why my knees hurt like hell and I've got such hairy ears all of a sudden. Imagine an online era when you won't be subjected to that one person known as simply "anonymous" posting ”I AGREE!!!!!!!!” on every message board from here to cyberbia. We're already there, and we're pretty happy about it. Catch the wave and meet us for dinner at El Castillito del Futuro.

Dear Beano: The "Tenemos Horchata" picture on your site's splash page is awesome.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Thanks. That's a staff favorite. Keep reloading that page and you're bound to get a good shot of Casa Sanchez's Jimmy the Corn Man at some point.

Dear Beano: I went to New York over the holidays, and thought of you as I sat in Burritoville on 9th Ave. I just got their Border Burrito - the basic one with beans, rice and cheese. It had too much rice, but was otherwise a welcome fusion of flavors to my burrito-starved palate. Now I'm back in the U.K., where even tacos are scarce and restaurant fajitas resemble gyros.
Dear Apocalypse reader: I was about to reply, If you think a New York burrito is a welcome fusion of anything, you must live in the U.K. But, you beat me to it. Take two Boddingtons and call me at happy hour.

Dear Beano: A bottled water tasting? You're not about to enter your poncey phase, are you?
Dear Apocalypse reader: You’ve got me confused with somebody else. I’m Beano. I go to refried-beans-in-styrofoam-cups tastings.

Dear Beano: Please let your readers know that extra spicy salsa and the Burritoeater classic thong do not mix. Learned that one the hard way. Ouch!
Dear Apocalypse reader: Very good. Thank you for the product review. Sounds as if our golf shirt might be a better bet, in your case. See you at the 19th Scandia.

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Easy, Big Fella

Is mere obstinance no longer enough? Must we also endure stubbornness, mulishness, and in particularly harsh moments, pertinaciousness? At what point will doggedness become acceptable? Will our thesaurus ever let us down?

Help us build out Web 31.0! Send us your taqueria-related takes and tales:

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

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"30 years ago, there was a place, Benny's Burritos, in the Haight. Served a burrito with finely chopped broccoli cooked in clarified butter. Oh, that was very good."

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"I eat at Taq. Mana on Stockton a lot, and I think it’s better than you rate it. Their chorizo is the best around, and their pastor is excellent as well. Super burritos with either of those are fantastic. I think it might be worth another taste. Great job guys, and keep up the good work."

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"Taq. San Jose rules...they do a pretty good veggie, once they ask you three times what kind of meat (keep saying no meat, no meat)...what a great fixins bar they have also...always well stocked and clean, even during the lemming-like march of the drunks when the Mission bars are getting ready to close...."

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"A clarification on clarified butter and broccoli - that would have been Juanito's Burritos in the Haight, not Benny's."
(Many thanks for the update, old-timer. -Ed.)

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Please forward freely, yet responsibly.

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

Hey! Who here ordered the clam burrito?

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

The Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly,, and The Great Mustache logo are exclusive properties of The Exploding Head Trick Publishing Co. © 2003-2007. They're ours and you can't have them, unless perhaps you ask our legal team politely. And even then, those hammerheads will 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 a bunch of hatchet-brandishing goons your way.

Yours, in delicious horchata,