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Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, May 2008back to archive

From Visitacion Valley to the Outer Sunset to the Marina to Union Square, Bite. Chew. Mull. tallies up the results of another month dedicated to townwide burrito chasing.

Dear Beano takes on a flurry of national and international comers with equally poor tact.

There's dissent, agreement, and something about spam meat in Obstinate Reader Commentary.

And where would we be without the fine print of our ragtag (epilogue)?

Club Slab is open. Pull up a food.

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Last Month's Final: San Francisco Slabbers 10, Springfield Taciturn Poindexters 0

Among April's ten taqueria visits, we'll always remember how kindly we were treated by the kitchens at both Taq. El Castillito (Golden Gate / Larkin location) and Taq. La Playa near Ocean Beach; the Little Chihuahua (burrito shop, not housepet) in the Lower Haight also made us real happy. At the other end of the month's quality spectrum, Herbert's Mexican Grill near Union Square couldn't come close to equalling the mustachioed success it enjoyed our first time in, merely a month prior.

Also worthy of brief note were first visits to two newcomers on the civic slab scene: Nayarit Taq. in Visitacion Valley, one of southeast San Francisco's few burrito purveyors; and, Fillmore Mexican Grill, a Mexican place on Fillmore with a grill.

LOS HERMANOS (Marina), 4/2/2008, Super Chile Relleno: 7.27 mustaches
It’s high time Los Hermanos’ kitchen broke that crazy saffron rice habit.

LA FONDA (Inner Sunset), 4/5/2008, Super Breakfast (Ham): 7.50 mustaches
The most ordinary burrito ever tossed our way by this usually on-the-money taqueria.

TACOS EL TONAYENSE (Harrison/14th St.) (Mission), 4/7/2008, Super Pollo Asado: 7.83 mustaches
Immeasurable intangibility almost made us forget the fact that this burrito contained exactly one bean. Almost.

FILLMORE MEXICAN GRILL (Western Addition), 4/9/2008, Super Carnitas: 7.67 mustaches
The portrait of serviceability.

LA PLAYA TAQ. (Outer Sunset), 4/11/2008, Breakfast (Chorizo): 8.67 mustaches
Spice started courteously in this breakfast burrito before ramping up to full-on ragin’ by slab’s end. Lunch was basically skipped.

NAYARIT TAQ. (Visitacion Valley), 4/15/2008, Super Carnitas: 7.17 mustaches
We’re pretty sure we’d never had this many massive chunks of pork in a burrito; we’re also pretty sure we don’t need to again anytime soon.

HERBERT'S MEXICAN GRILL (Union Square), 4/18/2008, Super Puerco en Chile Verde: 6.58 mustaches
The clangs came fast and furious as March goodwill turned to April doom at Herbert's. Then we went shopping!!!

THE LITTLE CHIHUAHUA (Lower Haight), 4/22/2008, Super Carne Asada: 8.25 mustaches
Delectably juicy steak. Prodigious amounts of diced onion. Lime-infused guacamole. And the grilled tortilla!

LA PARRILLA GRILL (North Beach), 4/26/2008, Huevos con Jamon: 7.92 mustaches
Five perfect element ratings undercut by a flat zero mustaches for spice. A perplexing meal.

TAQ. EL CASTILLITO (Golden Gate / Larkin) (Civic Center / Tenderloin), 4/28/2008, Super Carne Asada: 8.83 mustaches
A bit light on salsa and Spanish rice, but anvil-heavy on just about everything else. Burrito of the month, April 2008.

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Live Globally, Pine For What You Can't Eat Locally

What common traits do Southern California, Copenhagen, Australia, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Egypt share? Aside from all being wonderful places to spend bacchanalian Club Med holidays, it appears as if it's moderately to supremely difficult to find a quality burrito in any of them, if this month's cavalcade of long-distance correspondents are to be believed.

We've devoted this month's public tonguewag to queries recently received from regions far beyond our bean-pelted bubble -- four continents' worth, in fact. (In absentia: Asia, South America, Antarctica, Nevada.)

Dear Beano: I'm a big fan of your site, especially now that I've moved to Southern California and realize how truly special San Francisco burrito culture really is. Everyone is into tacos down here, and I don't get it.
Dear Apocalypse reader: People down there should be into tacos more than ever -- have you heard how a few misguided locals are putting the draconian squeeze on Los Angeles County taco trucks? Join the frontlines of the backlash and visit If San Francisco ever tried to pull a similarly stupid stunt, heads would roll at City Hall, and I'd be the one swinging the bloody Nerf Bat.

Dear Beano: Following periods of residence in San Francisco and Paris, I'm now in Copenhagen, finding myself missing crêpes as well as burritos. Copenhagen is no capital of culinary treats -- especially not affordable ones. People here are excellent pastry-makers, but when it comes to burrito-making, they've simply got no clue: Carrots and olives have been known to end up in Danish-made burritos.
Dear Apocalypse reader: As much as we enjoy a good bear claw every now and again, it's not exactly a full lunch. Crêpes and burritos share more characteristics than you may realize: Each is often made by a friendly, mustachioed man in a truck, and each lends itself nicely to being eaten by hand. Nutella burritos in Paris are, in fact, the best -- provided you bypass the carrots and olives.

Dear Beano: I live in Australia now, and there aren't any quality burritos here. It's one of the things I miss most about San Francisco (I lived there six years). My first burrito experience was at Chabela's on Haight (I think it's gone now), and I was instantly hooked. Back when I lived there, Gordo wasn't very good. I guess they've raised their standards.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Chabela's is indeed gone. Gordo is indeed very good these days. You are indeed in Perth right now, eating Kraft vegemite.

Dear Beano: As a pair of San Francisco expats marinating on the thawing tundra of Minneapolis, we sincerely miss the heat-generating foods of El Farolito, La Cumbre, and El Castillito that kept our Twin Peaks apartment warm. Should you ever feel a chord of compassion in your gut, please feel free to FedEx us an 8.50-mustacher so we might warm our humble Minnesota abode. p.s. If there are any other SF expats between Fargo and Madison, drop us a line.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Shipping hot slabs of food halfway across the North American continent would probably require several oven-heated bricks, a whole lot of Styrofoam popcorn, and a temperature-proof steel box to ship it all in. Here's a tip: Relocate to Weehawken, New Jersey, and you'll be right there at the business end of the world's first burrito-shipping tunnel.

Dear Beano: Help! I have been living in Seattle for three years and am languishing in this taqueria-starved town. I used to fall for locals’ recommendations, but found out the joke was always on me. Do you have any inside scoop on the burrito happs up here? If not, I may be forced to lower my standards (or have them flown in).
Dear Apocalypse reader: I'm afraid I'm no Seattle taqueria insider. In fact, every time I find myself up there, I just end up playing a few games of toss-a-sturgeon with those characters down at Pike Place Market. You're in Washington, not Whitehorse -- there has to be somewhere to find a worthy burrito in the greater Seattleland area. Here's a starter list, now get crackin' -- although you might get your new search off on the wrong foot by starting at Bimbo's Bitchin' Burrito Kitchen.

Dear Beano: I'm in Egypt. No burritos here. Bumming.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Sit tight. Surely Chipotle will open a shop at Siwa Oasis before long.

Residents of the San Francisco Bay Area are equally encouraged to drop our taqueria sage a line at Note that local charges may apply.

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Fist-Shaking Up 8% From 2007 Levels

Here's your chance to sidestep's staunch comment-unfriendly platform: Send your plaudits and bellyaches on San Francisco taquerias to If they make the cut and are deemed worthy of publication, look for them in a future Apocalypse; if not, look for them in your sent-items folder.

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

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"Shaddup about Taq. El Castillito already!! Every month in your newsletter, it's Castillito this, Castillito that. You write, There is no substitute -- well, I can think of a few. Place is OK, but hardly worth the repeated visits and inflated ratings."

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"I feel the need to tell you about my complete obsession with The Little Chihuahua. It probably has something to do with living two blocks away, but ever since I've been going there, I've been spoiled by its Niman Ranch meats...all those Mission burritos now taste like spam to me. My favorite by far is the carnitas super burrito -- can't recommend it enough."

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"Glad to see you give an 8+ to Taq. Castillo on Mason -- I will gladly walk up there from 2nd and Mission when I need a quality burrito. The people behind the counter are always sweet and friendly. They deserve more business, but the location sucks."

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