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Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, August 2008back to archive

On soprano sax, Bite. Chew. Mull.

On guitar-synth, Dear Beano.

On assorted pretentious percussion instruments, Obstinate Reader Commentary.

And on electric triangle, (epilogue).

Club Slab is open, smoove jazz and all. Pull up a food and watch our house band strangle the classics.

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Some Burritos Implied

July was about unbridled successes at Gordo Taq. on Clement (nine-plus mustaches) and new heavyweight Taq. Reina's in Crocker-Amazon. July was about unexpected letdowns at previous unassailables El Burrito Express in the Western Addition and La Salsa in the Financial District. July -- or at least about one week of it -- was about bouncing from one celebrated Taq. Can-cún shop to the next, beginning at lower Mission and ending at one of the grimiest corners in town at Market and 6th St. July was about the much-anticipated debut of Cilantro on the edge the Tenderloin, which didn't really warrant the year-long wait. July was about fluffy bunnies and snarling grizzlies. July was about sun and fog. July was about 31 days long.

TACOS SAN BUENA (Financial District), 7/1/2008, Super Pollo Asado: 8.00 mustaches
For our oenophile readers: serious top-end punt. Intangibility was quite high; tannin content remained low. Cheesy, bean-deficient finish.

GORDO TAQ. (Clement) (Outer Richmond), 7/3/2008, Super Chile Verde Pork: 9.08 mustaches
A Gordo slab looks the part: It’s short, it’s chubby, it’s gordo. 17 bites of real good times in the Richmond fog. Slab of the Month, July 2008.

TAQ. CAN-CÚN (Mission/Valencia) (Mission), 7/5/2008, Super al Pastor: 8.92 mustaches
The first installment of our Taq. Can-cún Trilogy turned out to be the finest.

TAQ. CAN-CÚN (Mission/19th St.) (Mission), 7/7/2008, Super Carnitas: 7.83 mustaches
The review of this underachieving burrito begins with, "OK. Let’s go to the phones," then heads straight downhill from there.

TAQ. CAN-CÚN (South of Market), 7/9/2008, Vegetarian: 8.36 mustaches
At long last, Can-cún's ballyhooed veggie burrito lived up to its considerable hype.

TAQ. REINA'S (Crocker-Amazon), 7/12/2008, Super al Pastor: 8.67 mustaches
This outstanding effort made a passionate pitch for Reina's securing a spot in this fall's Slab Scrum.

EL BURRITO EXPRESS (Western Addition), 7/15/2008, Super Bronco Carnitas Pork: 7.92 mustaches
A politely parched dinner that suffered the ignobility of being the first sub eight-mustache entry on this shop’s CV. Result: A sharp drop from no. 1 to 8 on our Mustache Chart.

PASILLA MEXICAN GRILL (Financial District), 7/18/2008, Steak: 7.00 mustaches
Quite a ratings drop from our first visit (one month prior) to this fresh face on the Downtown scene.

CILANTRO (Civic Center / Tenderloin), 7/21/2008, Super Pastor: 7.33 mustaches
Too many faceless elements and a disappointing ingredient mix characterized one of the longest-awaited San Francisco taqueria debuts in recent years.

LA SALSA (Financial District), 7/24/2008, El Champion Carnitas: 7.42 mustaches
Few elements of this burrito lived up to its inflated name.

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A Dog's Breakfast Of Dialogue

In this month's feature: we're accused of corruption!; one impressionable youngster asks about the tortillas and the bees; we have a meat-averse reader over for lunch; and, we're hit with a clever query that makes the rarely linked connection between our favorite foiled foods and podiatry issues.

You too can be an anonymous Internet star:

Dear Beano: Not a ton of variety among your highest-rated taquerias these days, Mr. Beano. Two Papalotes, two El Burrito Expresses, three El Castillitos! I smell collusion.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Sorry, no antitrust violations here. Just a handful of local chainlets whose fortunes haven't suffered at the hands of expansion (the black sheep El Castillito notwithstanding). These are our honest ratings, friend. You want parity, go watch middle school sports.

Dear Beano: I'm wondering if you know where the oversized flour tortillas used to make burritos come from?
Dear Apocalypse reader: Trees -- tortilla trees! OK, that's a made-up story. They come from the Oversized Flour Tortilla Stork™. Really now, I think all the jumbo tortillas come from a factory in San Leandro. Or maybe that one old woman's house on 25th St. near Bryant.

Dear Beano: As an honest inquiry, where can one go for a vegetarian version of these tasty feasts you routinely describe? Or is this an insult to the traditional Burritoeater way? I feel there is an unmet demand.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Why not take a look at our August Blargh? We've painstakingly run down the top-rated vegetarian slabs on Burritoeater record over the years, and this month we pay fond tribute. At this point, there's nary a taqueria in town that doesn't boast some sort of meatless option on its burrito menu -- and in many cases, there's more than one from which to choose.

Dear Beano: What exactly makes a tortilla ingrown? Can we exchange this term for an equivalent one that doesn’t make me think of feet?
Dear Apocalypse reader: No spicy Tinactin in your burrito then? OK, I see your point. When we describe a tortilla as ingrown (a term coined by our pals at, for the record), we're referring to the folds that sometimes occur in the wrap itself. More often than not, these folds are a telltale sign of a burrito with more unused space on the inside that it knows what to do with. It's a construction ploy that's as old as the hills, and while it's not usually a major detraction, it does speak to a certain inefficient use of tortilla real estate. It has nothing to do with toenails.

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Hrumphing Your Days Away

Let it out, America! Just be sure to keep it on topic:

(By topic, we do mean San Francisco taquerias. Also, comments may be edited for spelling, clarity, and/or brevity at our editorial staff's discretion.)

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"I had the misfortune of eating at Pancho's the other day, and what a whopping disappointment it was. Half a mustache."

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"You should check out Depot Cafe in Mill Valley. I am a burrito lover as well, and I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of their chicken burrito."
(While home to a great many wonderful trees and outdoor hot tubs, Mill Valley lies well outside our jurisdiction, which itself is hemmed in by water on three sides and Daly City and Brisbane on the fourth. -Ed.)

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"El Farolito. Pollo y sesos. There is no substitute."

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Yours, in delicious horchata,