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Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, January 2009back to archive

Weren't the holidays terrific? Ours sure were. We had a bunch of burritos at a few of our favorite San Francisco taquerias, over and over again. Get the truncated recap in Bite. Chew. Mull.

Just because there's only one letter in this month's edition of Dear Beano doesn't mean it's any less gripping than usual.

As expected, the "new math" backlash – in reaction to our recently recalibrated mustache ratings – rears up in Obstinate Reader Commentary.

It's easily the most controversial (epilogue) yet.

Kindly pull up a food.

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Sorry, Gyros Not Covered Here

The 2008 Slab Scrum dominated headlines well into December, despite Burritoeater brass erroneously expecting the tournament to wrap up by the early or middle part of the month. We usually don't make back-to-back-to-back on-record visits to local burrito shops, but that's the sort of effect an extendo-Scrum can have on a panel's taqueria visitation schedule.

TAQ. SAN FRANCISCO (Mission), 12/3/2008, Super Carnitas: 7.50 mustaches
A dirty trick of a dinner at a critical moment from one of our favorite kitchens the world over. So, yes, kind of a letdown.

EL NORTEÑO (South of Market), 12/6/2008, Super Pollo: 8.58 mustaches
This lunch’s intangible charms were irrefutable.

PAPALOTE (Mission), 12/8/2008, Super Chile Verde (Pork): 8.42 mustaches
Cuts of pork were ideally textured, with no shortage of chile verde to accompany.

EL NORTEÑO (South of Market), 12/13/2008, Super Carne Asada: 8.50 mustaches
An alchemic mix of flavor.

PAPALOTE (Mission), 12/16/2008, Super Pollo: 8.50 mustaches
Hot bites? Hot bites, sure. Intangibility? Mighty. Spice? No! Hmm. Cue the tiebreaker theme.

EL NORTEÑO (South of Market), 12/20/2008, Super al Pastor: 8.42 mustaches
The burrito that earned El Norteño the 2008 Great Mustache.

PAPALOTE (Mission), 12/23/2008, Super Carne Asada: 8.25 mustaches
Another spice-deficient burrito, another wasted chance to secure the 2008 Slab Scrum championship.

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Future Burritoeater Intern Applicants: Take Heed!

Beano's mailbag is unusually light this month, and we can't quite pinpoint why. Perhaps it's simply attributable to post-holidays malaise. Or perhaps people simply can't afford to e-mail relevant queries to our resident taqueria sage anymore, the same way we're hearing people can no longer afford to water their plants or blow their noses.

In any event, Beano was thrilled to receive a very special e-mail this month from a junior admirer across the bay – so thrilled, in fact, that we've devoted an unprecedented 100% of Dear Beano real estate to this trans-generational exchange of ideas.

Hellos, goodbyes, go-to-hells, etc. etc.:

Dear Beano: I am writing an article for my high school newspaper that reviews the taco trucks around our school. I found your Web site and I think it's really cool that other people share my – I wouldn't call it an obsession, but my devotion towards burritos.

So my article takes a scientific approach towards reviewing burritos: I weighed and measured each one, and then calculated their volume and density. I also scored each one on taste, smell, and satisfaction. And I'm going to make a graph and plot each burrito on it.

Anyway, I come to you in the hopes that you might answer a few questions for me. Pertaining to burritos of course.

- What is the best part about eating a burrito? For example, the taste, or the smell of the grilled tortilla? Or unwrapping the foil like a present?
- Do you think burritos are a "super food"?
- Do you prefer your burritos wet or dry? And as a sub-question: Do you use hot sauce, and if you do, is there a brand you are especially fond of?

I have one more thing to ask you about. Because my article is based in the realms of science, I've decided to coin a Latin term for burrito. I finally came to terms with victus absconditus, which translates to "concealed nourishment." Since I see you guys as the highest on the burrito pyramid, I was wondering if you could approve the phrase. Or maybe you guys already came up with one.

I go to Washington High School in Fremont, so I look forward to taking BART into San Francisco and having a burrito day with help from Burritoeater.

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Dear Apocalypse reader: Young lion, your enthusiasm and hunger (for knowledge) is inspirational.

I'll answer your last question first, because once you become an adult you can sometimes can get away with doing things backwards without having to explain it. Certainly nobody here at Burritoeater Towers has taken steps to concoct a Latin phrase for burrito. Pretty sure you're a party of one in that particular field of translation. Victus absconditus. Nicely done, kid. Approved.

The best part about eating a burrito? Well, other than those special promotion weeks when El Castillito hides prizes inside its slabs all Cracker Jack-style, I'm not sure. Maybe it's that awesome bloated feeling I get after knocking down a 27-bite colossus in one sitting, or the fact that the average San Francisco burrito still costs less than an hour of Millipede up at the Musee Mechanique at the Wharf. Maybe you're onto something with that burrito-as-giftwrapped-present thesis. I like that a lot. There's so much to enjoy about this burrito-eating line of work.

"Super food"? You mean like spinach? Absolutely. Can you imagine how many more heads Popeye would have rolled had he chugged burritos in his heyday?

And I'm not into sauce-topped burritos, if for no other reason than I'm a Cro-Magnon heathen at heart and I really enjoy eating my hot meals by hand. These are part of my "San Francisco values" that seem to scare the living beeswax out of most of America.

Now if you plan to get anywhere in this field, kid, you're going to have to make peace with the fact that you're more than devoted – you're obsessed. It's OK, you're not alone. We're a growing majority, and it's going to take a nation of millions to hold us back.

Your slab-sensei, your pal,
Beano Cook

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Readers Commenting, Sometimes Obstinately

The other day at our weekly editorial meeting, a few staffers got carried away and started dreaming out loud. Won't it be amazing when, someday, Internet technology will allow our site's readers to leave comments on our actual site?! And, Just think: Discussion boards! Consider the community direction the site will be able to take…

Well, until that distant day when the reader comment superhighway builds an off-ramp straight into Burritoeater Towers, you'll have to share your San Francisco taqueria-related comments via e-mail with the lunkheads at Because that's how the bosses like it.

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

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"Gordo at number one? And...Gordo at number two? Tell me you're kidding."
(Actually quite serious about this. -Ed.)

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"My partner and I have lived in Sunnyside for years, near Glen Park, and we've always been big fans of La Corneta on Diamond, across from the BART station. The chile relleno burrito there is an ultra-cheesy delight."

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"We just got this new spot over here in Cow Hollow, Curbside Taq. I've been there maybe three times now, and I'm still trying to figure out what I think of it. I guess this lack of clear opinion means this blurb probably won't make Obstinate Reader Commentary, will it?"

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Please forward freely, yet responsibly.

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

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

Get back to Crawford, you disappointing jerk.

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.

Yours, in delicious horchata,