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Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, October 2013back to archive

Bite. Chew. Mull. capsulizes every high and low we experience throughout our ramshackle farewell tour of San Francisco taquerias.

Dear Beano chronicles another half-dozen or so pointed exchanges between our tactless taqueria sage and our valued readers.

Burritoeater Hall of Fame Inductees ropes in three more highly qualified legends for their very own mustachioed bronze busts.

And (epilogue) is the lunkheaded stooge in the room that nobody wants to acknowledge is actually there.

Pull up a food. Alright.

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"Why was the pork so internally dry? What was with the scattered, but noticeably unmelted cheese? Who ordered the clams? (OK, nobody ordered the clams.)"
--> Los Compadres (Civic Center / Tenderloin), 5/16/2011

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Our Farewell Tour Continues

(Follow our panel's final on-record taqueria visits this autumn in the Burritoeater Blargh.)

Since revealing last month that our judges panel will be retiring after ten-plus years in the trenches of rigorous burrito analysis, we've been on the business end of poignant indifference from our public -- touching reactions ranged from "Finally! Your taste buds were always as sharp as driftwood" to "I didn't know you were still doing this." And we've continued to knock around a number of San Francisco taquerias, with highly variable results.

Certain destinations -- your Papalotes, your Taq. El Castillitos, your Tacobars -- have proven themselves reliably excellent, while the kitchen at Bayview heavyweight La Laguna Taq., the runner-up in our 2012 Slab Scrum, seemed to phone it in when we dropped by. Youneverknow.

But it's our nostalgia-driven visits that have turned out less than the best. The previously steady hands behind the counter at old-happy-place Cuco's turned awfully shaky; Tacos San Buena in the Mission -- at one time our favorite slabwagon in town -- kicked us down some merely adequate 7.58-mustache action; and Taq. La Cumbre, the very first taqueria our panel ever hit up in San Francisco, chose for whatever reason to go the travesty route.

Our fearless panel remains undeterred. We're going out in an unstoppable blaze of habanero this autumn -- boneheaded ingredient mixes and parchment paper-wrapped slabs be damned. Heyaheyaheyaarrrrrrgh.

Tacobar, 9/9/2013, Especial Carne Asada: 8.33 mustaches
In which we reference Banana Republic apparel, skiing, Wes Anderson films, and of course, Rush. How else to handle a final review of one of San Francisco's most whitefolky burrito joints?

Tacos San Buena (Mission), 9/15/2013, Super Pollo Asado: 7.58 mustaches
What's a judges panel to do except shrug uncontrollably? Whole pinto beans just have that kind of effect on us.

La Laguna Taq., 9/28/2013, Super Carnitas Fajitas: 8.00 mustaches
Perhaps this loosely wrapped mess only had a few boss elements working for it, but the whole ensemble rang true as more than a few bites were punctuated with contented mutterings of "uh-huh" and "aw yeah."

Cuco's, 9/30/2013, Super Pollo en Salsa Roja: 7.17 mustaches
That's no way to say so long, is it?

Taq. La Cumbre, 10/6/2013, Super Carne Asada: 6.50 mustaches
We've encountered a lot of unfortunate troubles in burritos over the years, but there was a pure clanger here that was wholly new to our wizened panel, and it begged one simple question: Why in the hell was this burrito wrapped in parchment paper??

Papalote (Mission), 10/9/2013, Super Carne Asada: 8.50 mustaches
So what if this brightly foiled effort wasn't the pinnacle-product of Papalote's slabular prowess. To us, no San Francisco taqueria has ever been more consistently on-the-money.

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"Next time? No hapless mayo verde for us."
--> Tonayense Taq. (since closed), 6/22/2007

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Hoist and Slurp, Hoist and Slurp

Urgency! You're running out of chances to hit up our in-house mastermind with taqueria-related queries aplenty. Point your question marks at

Because you'll miss him when he's gone.

Dear Beano: You're hanging it up; I'm destroyed.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Soldier on, dear reader. Just whatever you do, don't become a silly "Yelper."

Dear Beano: Can I still buy a Burritoeater T-shirt???
Dear Apocalypse reader: All colors! All sizes! All sold out! All the time! Really sorry. You only had, like, the better part of a decade to snag one. Check Goodwill on Mission in a few years.

Dear Beano: What's the story with your iPhone app? Is that also going the way of the pager? I spent a solid $1.99 on that thing, so I'm hoping you'll keep it updated.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Ease back down, big fella. No need to fret -- we won't allow Burritoeater's Top 30 San Francisco Taquerias to go sour in the fridge.

Dear Beano: You're going out at the top, just like the Eagles. Take it easy.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Right. Just like the Eagles. Uh-huh.

Dear Beano: I saw you last weekend walking up Valencia, around 17th St. You were drinking refried beans from a Styrofoam cup. Don’t even deny it.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Guilty as charged. What else am I supposed to do when I request an extra order of beans at El Castillito and they hand it to me in an environmentally questionable Tommy Tippee? You don't ask questions at times like that. You just hoist and slurp.

Dear Beano: Very funny. Not burritos, however. Those are rarely funny. It’s like laughing at the night. Can you laugh at such limitless possibilities? If I opened your eyes to the cosmos, or showed you the inner workings of the honeycomb, would you laugh? Of course not, you would cry. Such is the way of the great mysteries in life. Who are we? Where are we going? What kinda beans do you want?
Dear Apocalypse reader: Deep. You're like a Plato for the taqueria age.

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"Bite in, bite out, this burrito sported fierce fire that propelled the already nicely seasoned chicken even further into the mustachosphere."
--> Tacos San Buena (Mission), 3/3/2006

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These Individuals Have the Knack

Over the last decade, we've been the beneficiaries of all sorts of kind and admirable help from friends, Web designers, press folks, arms dealers, you name it. As we approach lights-out time here at Burritoeater Towers, a small handful of these individuals deserve special shout-outs for their support in the growth, domination, downfall, and subsequent ruination of the proud Burritoeater brand.

KALW Radio Executive Editor Ben Trefny featured on his fine Crosscurrents program not once, but twice (in 2009 and 2011), first by way of an in-studio interview during which he insisted we awkwardly read one of our reviews on the air, then in embedded-reporter style as he shadowed our panel around town during the 2010 Slab Scrum. That latter bit was taqueria-field journalism at its apogee.

Shortly after the launch of, New York Times travel writer Gregory Dicum had the good sense to include our taqueria punditry -- in six succinct words -- in an excellent piece on San Francisco's Mission District. The best part? One of those words was "vortex."

It's all well and good that John Vanderslice has released ten celebrated albums, owns and operates San Francisco's best-loved recording studio (Tiny Telephone), and has been a major player in keeping San Francisco's music scene vibrant and viable since the 1990s. But when he called out as the number one resource for living affordably in San Francisco (all things relative), that really got us where we live. The man wrote "White Plains" and called our panel "genius." There's really nowhere to go from there but down.

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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. (since closed), 2/28/2010

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