the Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly Apparel Bazaar

Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, May 2010back to archive

We lead off with Bite. Chew. Mull., recent winner of a James Mustache Award for Best Monthly San Francisco Taqueria Recap. (We someday aspire to a James Beard Award.)

Dear Beano isn't any less ridiculous than the last time you looked at it.

Then it's Obstinate Reader Commentary, our most "transparent" feature.

And be sure to check this month's (epilogue) closely for exploding beans. Wear dark clothes.

Kindly pull up a food.

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Those of you bummed by our suddenly road-feverish panel's recent three-week disappearing act will be positively crestfallen by what's coming this May and June: seven weeks on leave from Burritotown, California. We'll miss the slabular trappings of home more than almost anything, but that doesn't mean we'll be desperately slumming it at Chipotle in Lincoln or Qdoba in Dubuque.

Do not wait up for a June Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly. It will not be home until July. Hold the fort.

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"We almost wanted this burrito to fall apart just to see how many cubic feet of rice had been stuffed inside."
--> Taq. Viva Zapata, 1/28/2005

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We Used Computers for This

We may have made only six taqueria visits in April, but it certainly didn't come at the expense of surprising moments. A couple of previously underwhelming burrito purveyors -- Taco Stop and Zapata Mexican Grill -- ratcheted up major mustache credibility, while the other places we knocked over throughout the month found fresh and exciting ways to let us down, from bucketfuls of grease at El Taco Loco to undesirable animal parts at La Alteña. Another unpredictable month like this and you may see us break out our dusty old ouija board for taqueria performance predictions.

TAQ. REINA'S (South of Market), 4/11/2010, Super Carne Asada: 7.25 mustaches
Never mind this drab burrito's serious ingredient segregation issues or its horrific dearth of both beans and salsa. Rather, please explain the oversize, utterly bizarre folk-art portrait of His Gavness that dominates the back wall of this less than lively taqueria's dining room.

TLALOC SABOR MEXICANO (Financial District), 4/15/2010, Super Carnitas: 6.67 mustaches
$8.75 for soft-serve carnitas, middling intangibility, and a shriveled tortilla? Only in the Financial District.

TAQ. EL TACO LOCO (Mission), 4/18/2010, Super al Pastor: 7.58 mustaches
The Crazy Taco's pork sure was well-grilled, but what it lacked in flavor punch it tried to make up for in grease-throwing. It pretty much succeeded.

TACO STOP (Bayshore), 4/22/2010, Super Carnitas: 8.50 mustaches
In the wake of this burrito's brilliantly grilled tortilla and ten-mustache sweep of hot bites, Taco Stop now sits poised to dominate the lucrative Bayshore slabwagon market. Slab of the Month, April 2010.

ZAPATA MEXICAN GRILL (Castro), 4/26/2010, Special Chile Verde Pork: 8.42 mustaches
In a single 8.42-mustache swoop, this shockingly delicious effort yanked this newly re-branded shop out of sub-mediocrity's ghetto. Hats off to Zapata's kitchen for finally sidestepping the scourge of lukewarm bites.

TAQ. LA ALTEÑA (Mission/29th St.) (Mission), 4/30/2010, Super Chile Colorado Pork: 7.08 mustaches
Repeated cartilage discoveries. Repeated! And so our burrito-eating month concludes with our vegetarian and vegan readers having the last laugh.

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"We spent 15-plus bites on the deck of El Tepa's SS Steady-Truckin' Shruggery, and while the ride certainly didn't make us seasick or anything, it was hardly the Love Boat."
--> El Tepa, 3/4/2009

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Because "Dear John" Remains Trademarked by a Swiss Conglomerate

There's this guy. He has a desk down on accounting's floor. Doesn't seem like he's there all that much, though. The company hired him back in, like, 1966, when this whole burrito thing was just starting to make waves in SF. You could say he was an early adopter.

He answers reader e-mail, but that's pretty much all he does anymore. He's kind of getting up there in years. People think he's kind of a grouch.

Before he got a job here, he worked the grift down on the Embarcadero as a merchant marine. Back then, he went by "Mac"...this is back when there were a lot of guys along the waterfront called Mac. Later he re-christened himself Beano Orenthal James Cook, and he's probably the only one of those, at least around here.

Start some trouble with him today:

Dear Beano: I'm checking out the claim that the "Mission-style burrito" as we know it was actually invented here in San Francisco, in the Mission District -- hence, "Mission-style." You seem to be the last word on everything burrito-related, so I'm wondering if you have heard of this "Mission-style burrito."
Dear Apocalypse reader: Yes, I have heard of the "Mission-style burrito" -- you could say I eat these items "quite regularly." In fact, I've "reviewed" more "Mission-style burritos" than Barry Bonds "hit" home runs. (Beano: 764. Bonds: 762. Statistics valid as of May 6, 2010. - Ed.) Tell me, have you ever submitted "comments" to Zagat? I think it could be an "ideal fit" for your "writing style."

Dear Beano: Your site is so entertainingly written and correct! It's like the Library of Congress commissioned a site about San Francisco taquerias but got a real writer to manage it.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Thanks!

Dear Beano: I can't believe you're still treating your readers like morons by trying to convince us that Taq. San Francisco is anything more than a bilge pump posed as a corner burrito shop. That place stinks, and so do your taste buds.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Thanks!

Dear Beano: Aside from you guys, is there a recognized burrito guru?
Dear Apocalypse reader: Many of my colleagues here at Burritoeater Towers are students of the Great Maharishi Mahesh Slabi; a few others are devout Meher Horchati followers. Actually, I'm making all this up. Timmy down in the mailroom is the recognized burrito guru. Hi Timmy!

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"One look at this slab shop's menu -- it's etched in marker on some boards nailed to the wall -- and you may wonder how a bunch of fifth-graders managed to open a business."
--> Ocean Taq., 2/28/2010

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Get Hrumphy

We may be resolutely Web 1.0 here at Burritoeater Towers, but our site's lack of community features doesn't mean we want to completely shut our eyes and ears down to public opinion on San Francisco's taqueria scene. Just mostly.

So here's your monthly opportunity to stand tall on your burrito-shaped soapbox, raise that purple-neon megaphone to your gaping maw, and make exaggerated gestures while shouting at the rest of us, "I think argledybargledy humma humma humma!!," "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet!!," and other similarly spirited summations of opinion on San Francisco taquerias:

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

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"I finally managed to make it to El Norteño. You aren't lying -- it was incredible. Probably one of my top five burritos ever."

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"La Taqueria is the East Coast deli of taquerias. It seems to me that their exclusion of rice appeals to the same kind of person who gets all anxious about having produce on their sandwich. They just want gobs and gobs of meat and not much else."

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"I was glad to see El Buen Sabor step up recently. My wife and I shared a burrito there on an early date a decade or so ago. It is still one of my favorites, and one of the only reasons I still go the Mission (besides the morning bun at Tartine) ever since Papalote set up shop on Fulton."

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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:

Now for this month's hidden bonus track.

Next up: Thunder Bay.

The Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly,, and The Great Mustache logo are brought to you by The Exploding Head Trick Publishing Co.

Yours, in delicious horchata,