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Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, October 2007back to archive

You've seen the third-rate imitations out there, like Munch. Gulp. Consider. and Chomp. Masticate. Think A Spell. Don't accept anything less than the original: Bite. Chew. Mull. is your best option among all the monthly taqueria review compendiums saturating today's market.

Watch what happens when someone presses our taqueria sage's magic "Taco Time" button in Dear Beano.

In this month's Obstinate Reader Commentary, one reader champions a place we're not too keen on, another reader lambasts one of our favorite burrito parlors in town, and a third reader reports on a trip to the Bayview.

Letters Re: " The Formative Years" collects reader outcry from the September Apocalypse's poignant, sepia-toned retrospective of our earliest works.

What's in this month's (epilogue)? The same old stuff that's in it every month, plus those two things we change every month, just to keep our readers jumpy.

Club Slab is open. Pull up a food.

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Profiled on Yahoo! Featured in the Examiner. All over Yamsearch. is all up in your Web business.

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Powerful Burrito Hankerin'

September's two truly disappointing burritos enjoyed isolated moments worthy of quiet praise. Similarly, the month's pair of eight-mustache winners brought our judges panel scattered sources of griping. It was that kind of month. We also took about a week off in there somewhere.

TAQ. LA ALTEÑA (Mission/29th St.) (Mission), 9/1/07, Super Pastor: 7.33 mustaches
From the limp tortilla and the set of somewhat lifeless refried beans to the brown rice that got buried in the whole shuffle, this was an infernally spicy and enormous piece of foiled food that, while swashbuckling and exciting in moments of rare cohesiveness, suffered from nearly as much misguided overabundance as this sentence we're finally about to put the kibosh on.

TAQ. MANÁ (Union Square), 9/4/07, Super Pastor: 7.50 mustaches
Taq. Maná's vaguely Cajun-spiced pork was neither overwhelmingly delicious nor remotely lousy. It was just kooky.

EL AZTECA TAQ. (Bayview), 9/8/07, Especial Spicy Pork: 8.25 mustaches
So rarely do we meet a meat advertised as "spicy" that actually puts the fire-boot in, but El Azteca's pork hit all the high notes on our spiciness meter. Burrito of the month.

360° GOURMET (Financial District), 9/11/07, Chicken Breast: 6.33 mustaches
It took us nearly four years to brave up and return to this upmarket burrito counter. Perhaps we'll be back for a third visit in 2011.

LA CASTRO TAQ. (Castro), 9/15/07, Super Breakfast (Chorizo): 8.08 mustaches
La Castro's minced pork spewed forth enough grease to power rockabilly festivals the world over for the next decade or so.

TAQ. MARGOTH (Oceanview), 9/23/07, Super Carne Asada: 6.58 mustaches
There was a lot wrong with the food on our plate here. Nice folks, though.

LA SALSA (Pacific Heights), 9/25/07, Overstuffed Grilled (Carnitas): 7.83 mustaches
Certain elements wrote lucrative checks to our Bank of Mustachioed Mustaches. But where was that weird buttery taste coming from? And was that toy dog that pranced by our sidewalk table really wearing a foofy Ralph Lauren sweater?

MEXICO AU PARC (South of Market), 9/28/07, Super Breakfast (Ham): 7.25 mustaches
A somewhat confused flag flew over our panel’s table on this morning.

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Churlishness And Bad Breath, All In One Convenient Package

People wonder what's up with this Beano Cook fellow of ours. Fact is, nobody around Burritoeater Towers really knows. We know he's kind of an old crank, that he's originally from the Schenectady area, and that he "commands respect." Other than that, he pretty much just answers our reader mail - and not very politely, either.

Fire away, suckers:

Dear Beano: The place obviously did not make good burritos (or anything else, for that matter), but I'm sad to see Cabbies Burger gone now, if only because I appreciated the write-up you guys gave it a couple years ago. Working Travis Bickle into a taqueria description is always a nice touch.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Cabbies won't be missed. They were so lazy there, they couldn't even muster the energy to put an apostrophe on the sign. My editorial director asked I reprint the Burritoeater description of it one final time, before putting it away for good: "While its gruff name may conjure images of Judd Hirsch talking out the back side of a mushroom melt, Cabbies Burger scores minimally sufficient taqueria cred with the Mexican flag and sombreros hanging on its east wall, and of course, the burritos and tacos littering its all-over-the-map menu (salads, fish and chips, burgers). Trapped in a mid-'70s Tom Waits song and home to the noisiest carrot grinder in town, Cabbies isn’t much of a place to bring your date, unless perhaps your date is Travis Bickle. Open late, naturally."

Dear Beano: With such a large vegetarian population and an abundance of super veggie burritos on every place's menu, I think it's your civic duty to have at least one meatless burrito at all these places. After all, there is an art to making a wrapper full of beans and rice good.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Fair enough. Although on most occasions when I go sans carne, I tend to opt for something like a chile relleno or tofu burrito, or perhaps some sort of grilled vegetables concoction. Straight vegetarian burritos don't get me out of bed in the morning. It's like the "grilled cheese" option at In-N-Out - just a clever way of saying you're eating an unburger. I need some sort of ingredient stand-in. Papalote's marinated tofu is the current gold standard, I reckon, while La Corneta in Glen Park produces a mighty mean chile relleno slab.

Dear Beano: I miss Taco Time's crisp beef and crisp bean burritos. Where can I get something like this? It is a thin meat- or bean-filled tortilla that's been deep-fried. I love them.
Dear Apocalypse reader: If my one experience at Taco Time (in Roseburg, Oregon, several years ago) is any indication, I'm afraid you can only get what you're looking for in hell below. Taco Time's uniquely wretched take on Mexican fast food may be big in Utah (over 30 locations), Winnipeg (six!), and Kuwait City (three, all currently under construction), but in my world, its clock is only right twice a day. Ask someone in Alberta, perhaps they can help you out.

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A Choir Of Voices, Floating In And Out Of Key

What's that burning sensation you feel? No, not that one. We're talking about the one that's telling you to foist your opinions of San Francisco's ample taqueria scene upon the Web at large.

Sometimes, it feels good to foist. So, foist. Foist away! Foist 'til you can't foist no more:

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

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"I just wanted to give a little love to my favorite joint, Chino’s. Obviously, you are not a fan, and everyone has different tastes, but the carnitas there is great. Make sure to get their hot sauce, it’s very tasty. I actually don’t think their other meats are all that great, but please give the carnitas a try - maybe it will jump their average rating up a bit. Also, they are super-friendly, and let you choose your type of tortilla, which is nice."

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"My friend and I, both avid burrito eaters, decided to try Papalote in the Western Addition, based solely on the high mustache rating it received from I was so disappointed in my burrito, and so heartbroken that your site failed me. Let me make it clear that I don't hate you...but the trust we once shared now has a burrito-shaped scar from being cut deep. Real deep."

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"I looked at all of the out-of-the-way taquerias on your site, picked the one with the highest rating, and took a road trip with my cousin last Saturday afternoon. I live in North Beach, she lives in the Tendernob, and we ended up at La Laguna on 3rd St. on the way to Candlestick. Found it to our liking. Thanks for steering us in the right direction."

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A Special Look Back At Last Month's Feature, Which Itself Was A Special Look Back At A Simpler Time When Burritos Were 40 Cents And People Drank Communal Horchata From Large Buckets

There weren't any letters about it. Alright.

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

Now for this month's hidden bonus track.

The Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly,, and The Great Mustache logo are brought to you by The Exploding Head Trick Publishing Co. Now pipe down about all that "embezzlement" business. Same goes for that "racketeering" talk. Take Fredo fishing, will you Al?

Yours, in delicious horchata,