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Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, December 2008back to archive

It was one hell of a month of burrito-eating. Bite. Chew. Mull. was there for every chewed, mulled bite.

Somehow, Zima gets referenced in Dear Beano this time. Weird.

Obstinate Reader Commentary takes a couple of wrong turns and ends up at the airport.

But (epilogue) holds the fort.

Pull up a food.

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A Cavalcade Of Quality Meals

Is it any wonder? No, it really isn't any wonder that every single burrito hurled at our panel last month was a regal, eight-mustache success, considering that November was all 2008 Slab Scrum, all the time. There's an even more complete recap on our dedicated Scrum page than what's below; of course, this edition of Bite. Chew. Mull. is still totally worth at least a quick skim.

TAQ. CAN-CÚN (Mission/Valencia) (Mission), 11/1/2008, Super Pollo Asado: 8.17 mustaches
This sizable lunch hit on many of Taq. Can-cún’s usual talking points, but flubbed on a few crucial fronts.

TAQ. EL CASTILLITO (Golden Gate / Larkin) (Civic Center / Tenderloin), 11/4/2008, Super Pastor: 8.58 mustaches
The Little Castle's strong platform of robust sizing, avocado deployment, and onion-speckled pork garnered plenty of mustache-electorates on Decision Day ’08.

EL NORTEÑO (South of Market), 11/7/2008, Super Pastor: 8.50 mustaches
21 bites strong, this massive slab failed to allow room for a dessert churro. El Norteño doesn’t carry them anyway.

GORDO TAQ. (Inner Sunset), 11/10/2008, Super Carnitas: 8.50 mustaches
A chronically delicious burrito that had us seeing mustaches, mustaches, mustaches.

EL BURRITO EXPRESS (Outer Sunset), 11/13/2008, Super Bronco Grilled Steak: 8.33 mustaches
A well-concocted combination of refried beans and Spanish rice laid down a smart foundation.

TAQ. SAN FRANCISCO (Mission), 11/16/2008, Super Pollo Asado: 8.92 mustaches
We didn’t think they made ingredient mixes like this anymore. Thought they went out with pagers and mesh hats worn at 30-degree angles.

TAQ. REINA'S (Crocker-Amazon), 11/19/2008, Super Chile Verde Pork: 8.42 mustaches
When spice comes up this limp, well, damn. This one could have been a contender.

PAPALOTE (Mission), 11/21/2008, Super Carne Asada: 9.00 mustaches
Papalote’s third nine-mustache effort on Burritoeater record (!) was a true tour de force in almost every way. Slab of the Month, November 2008.

GORDO TAQ. (Inner Sunset), 11/23/2008, Super Chicken: 8.00 mustaches
A pile of loveless chicken and a lack of door-kicking spice left us with a solid, but hardly legendary foiled food.

EL NORTEÑO (South of Market), 11/26/2008, Super Lamb: 8.25 mustaches
Memories of mighty tasty lamb and aggressive spice insurgency remain fresh in the minds of our judges panel.

TAQ. EL CASTILLITO (Golden Gate / Larkin) (Civic Center / Tenderloin), 11/30/2008, Super Pollo Asado: 8.33 mustaches
Some of that old Castillito magic was on leave, but enough of it hung around to knock this burrito's intangibility rating up to the maximum two mustaches.

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No, No, It's Pronounced "BEE-no"'s customer-facing taqueria sage generally enjoys digging into the mailbag each month — except when some wiseguy from marketing a few floors up dumps a number of cactus plants into said mailbag, as was the case during production of this edition of Dear Beano. Our man soldiered on and played through considerable pain by typing this month's replies with his nose.

Grab yourself pencil and paper, and take down the number for Beano's "hotline": That's Operators are sitting by! ($4.95 a minute. Other charges may apply.)

Dear Beano: I'd like to see the term "mexicatessen" used more broadly in the taqueria community. What can be done about this? That's a palabra muy buena.
Dear Apocalypse reader: La Palma Mexicatessen in the Mission has been at the forefront of this quiet movement for some time now. Sadly, other businesses haven't followed suit, so it hasn't gained much traction in recent years. Reminds me a bit of someone I know who moved to Baltimore and tried his hand at an unsuccessful grassroots campaign which involved persuading locals to refer to themselves as Baltimorons. Great idea, just no legs under it.

Dear Beano: I'm imagining John Madden with a teleburritoillustrator: "And then - BOOM! There's your burstage, right there...."
Dear Apocalypse reader: I remember the day Madden had his first nine-mustache burrito, back in '77. He was clearly kind of amped up about it.

Dear Beano: Your name is just a nickname, right? What's actually on your birth certificate?
Dear Apocalypse reader: I was born Vladimir Ciccone Burgermeister O'Lonaghan Meisterburger Diaz. Far as I recall, Jim Schwahntz on my JV wrestling team out in Turlock was the one to slap the simpler Beano Cook tag on me one day during a particularly fierce Greco-Roman grapple/scrimmage. Now ease back down on the personal questions there, friend. I don't like you.

Dear Beano: I think is one of the greatest Web site ideas to come along in a long while. I particularly like how you note whether a taqueria serves beer or not. Such attention to detail is appreciated.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Thanks. We're here to help. I was talking with someone here at Burritoeater Towers last week about how burrito-beverage habits have sure changed from the days when people shared a large communal bucket of horchata as they broke burritos together. People seem to enjoy beer with Mexican food now. For awhile there, it was all about wine coolers. Then Zima got real big. Now it's beer. I bet people will be pairing infused vodkas with burritos at Taq. Can-cún within the next few years. I also think we're due for a Clamato comeback any day now.

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Cage Match To Follow

This is where you, loyal reader, enter the picture. This is your place in the virtual sun. Where the San Francisco taqueria enthusiast community congregates at little windowside table and chews the gristle (vegetarians are also welcome) about local mexicatessens and the like. Where there's a century's worth of taquerias to discuss, and the century is still young.

Make a difference today! Or next week:

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

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"I'm sure the 90 that Chavo's earned from the health inspector means it's perfectly safe, but I just can't shake the mental image of a co-worker, bent over double and wracked with stomach cramps and vomiting, all from a lunch at Chavo's. Yeah, yeah, it was ten years ago. Still. Bent over double."

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"Not to sound like a curmudgeon, but I was glad to see Gordo get bounced from the Scrum early on. I don't see the fuss that everyone within a mile or two of 9th and Irving makes over that place. It's OK, but I'd rather make the short trip to El Balazo or Zona Rosa on Haight."

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"I've forgotten the name of the place, but I had an awful burrito at SFO in the United terminal's food court. (Shame on me for thinking I'd be able to find a quality slab at the airport). The steak wasn’t grilled, but rather stewed, which made for some sloshy eating. And at certain points, I was convinced I was biting into a salt lick. The burrito came in a to-go box with a small green salad coated in an oily dressing, which ran all over the box and coated the foil. By the time I peeled the foil down, my hands were covered in dressing. And the thing cost $9.50! The next time I find myself starving at the airport, I’m going to suck it up and remind myself that 24th St. is only a 20-minute drive away."
(Sounds like an Andalé-style mishap. Harrowing. SFO burritos are San Mateo County's baggage, though. Not Burritoeater jurisdiction. -Ed.)

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Yours, in delicious horchata,