the Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly Apparel Bazaar

Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, January 2005back to archive
Pull up a food and put on your sesos hat. The burrito blargh has returned.

This time around:

- Brief (143-word) Re-introductory Spiel
- Call For Webperson
- How We Rate: Mustaches Explained
- Burritos We Have Recently Met
- Letters To The Apocalypse

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

"Disgustingly Phallic Objects" Decried From Prudish Pulpits Nationwide

Once upon a last year, some nutcase ate a bunch of burritos and wrote about it. Or to put a finer point on it: We visited over 100 taquerias in San Francisco in 2003, rated the super carne asada offering from each one, whittled the field down to an eight-taqueria race in due time, slogged through a six-week playoff, and crowned a champion on Leap Night 2004, while splattering the screens of our weekly newsletter readers with detailed accounts of our horchata-swillin, chip-dippin, burrito-wranglin, waste-layin ways.

What was the Intestinal Apocalypse Weekly in the winter of 2003-2004 has been revived for consumption in January 2005 as the Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly. Heard you missed us, we're back. We brought our pencils. Give us something to write on.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Help Us Build A Website, We Will Buy You Food

People have been clamoring for it for, oh, at least a year or so now, so it's time to try to make a living, coding reality. We're looking for someone to help us build our dream website, complete with clickable links and multiple pages and perhaps even a few images and graphics. Do you harbor great love for both a finely constructed href and a spoonful of thick, spicy guacamole? If so, and if you're willing to do something strictly for the love of the game with no chance of financial reward whatsoever, contact us at We can't offer much in the way of health insurance, and our retirement plan is a total joke, but you'll be helping create a valuable resource for our community, while learning pretty much all there is to know about your sole form of compensation: San Francisco burritos.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Incorrect Answers Include "License And Registration, Please" And "Bark Like A Dog!"

Our burrito ratings operate on the premise that mustaches are good, and the more mustaches the better, as long as there are no more than five. After that, things begin to get hairy.

Each burrito we rate receives 0-5 mustaches in a variety of categories; as the total number of mustaches a burrito garners is divided by the number of categories, what results is our airtight Overall Mustache Rating (OMR) for that burrito -- essentially, the linchpin of this entire house of cards you see here. It goes like this:

5 mustaches: The holy grail of burritodom. Perennially coveted, (seemingly) forever unattainable.
4.50 - 4.99 mustaches: A suitable stand-in for 5 mustaches at this point. As good as it gets.
4.00 - 4.49 mustaches: Recommended despite minor, forgivable flaws.
3.5 - 3.99 mustaches: Almost there, yet not quite. Burrito purgatory.
3.00 - 3.49 mustaches: Bearable portrait of mediocrity.
2.00 - 2.99 mustaches: Heavy on calories, carbohydrates; light on actual quality. Hrumph.
0 - 1.99 mustache: Potentially bowel-shattering bog sludge. Avoid in perpetuity.

And surely you're wondering how many elements of a burrito can be examined. Well, we figure about 12 or 13:

1: size; 2: tortilla; 3: meat; 4: rice; 5: beans; 6: cheese; 7: vegetables (pico de gallo, guacamole/avocado, onions, cilantro, beets, etc. etc.); 8: sauciness; 9: spiciness; 10: ingredient mix; 11: temperature; 12: burstage abatement.

A 13th category, intangibility, acts as bonus of sorts -- maximum one-mustache potential. Subtract meat for vegetarian burritos (duh). Add eggs for breakfast burritos (yum).

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

And This Is What We Thought Of Them

Excruciatingly detailed, blow-by-blow accounts of taqueria visits were always the sine qua non of The Intestinal Apocalypse Weekly. This time around, we'll be presenting results more pithily, yet with all the blowhard authority you came to expect from the IAW.

Note: We put the kibosh on ordering sour cream in our burritos sometime in mid-2004. When a single ingredient holds the potential to foul up the entire food-slab -- and tends to do so a frustratingly high percentage of the time -- the whole exercise just becomes sick and wrong. Same goes for lettuce.

(*Asterisks around taqueria name indicate recommendation*)

--> 4.13 mustaches <--
Truck at Folsom/Spear (Downtown / South Of Market) 9/7/04
~$5.00 - Super Carne Asada
Comments: Burrito wagon near Embarcadero serves solid work across the board, from finely trimmed steak to perfect construction. Spice nearly set off alarm at adjacent fire station. Take your burrito and paper plate to nearby waterfront Rincon Park.

--> 3.95 mustaches <--
Crocker Galleria (Third Floor) at Post/Montgomery (Downtown) 9/9/04
~$4.00 - Breakfast (Sausage)
Comments: Non-taqueria spews forth positively hulking piece augmented by chunks of potato. Sausage and eggs stand in where steak and rice ordinarily do; beans absent and unmissed. Busy downtown cubefarmers take note: Don't have time for lunch? Pick up one of these en route to work in the morning. You'll be set for the day.

--> 3.57 mustaches <--
Judah nr. 44th Ave. (Outer Sunset) 9/16/04
$6.00 - Super Carne Asada
Comments: Newly opened (May 2004) spot makes a reasonable, if hardly memorable burrito for neighborhood coastal denizens. No remarkable elements to report, yet aside from an overly chewy (steamed) tortilla, nothing embarrassing about it either. Be sure to request an additional steamer stint, unless you enjoy lukewarm bites.

--> 3.92 mustaches <--
South Park nr. 2nd St. (South Of Market / South Beach) 9/23/04
$5.75 - Super Carne Asada
Comments: An improvement over its prior incarnation as Pepito's Parrilla, but still, no gold standard is set. Tasty steak exhibits a porkish texture, and all the bites are warm (you'd be surprised), but spice is a dream away and it suffers from a sticky tortilla. Can a burrito be described as "lithe"?

--> 3.88 mustaches <--
2nd St. nr. Harrison (South Of Market) 9/29/04
$7.20 - Carne Asada
Comments: Undersized, overpriced, yet respectable. Strangely wheaty -- and ungrilled -- tortilla cocoons just-above-average steak, slightly wonky-tasting beans, and a real dearth of sauciness. On the bright side: nice guacamole, good veggie contents, much spice and melted cheese, and 100% hot bites.

--> 4.00 mustaches <--
Haight nr. Fillmore (Lower Haight) 11/30/04
$4.50 - Colorado (Spicy) Beef
Comments: The place that's closed on weekends. Melted cheese aplenty, heaping chunks of onion, and foolproof construction lead the charge, but a bizarre lack of kick -- this had been one of 2003's spiciest entries -- underscores their shaky grip on consistency. And the white-ish rice is a bit odd. In other news, the horchata here is complete dreck.

--> 3.96 mustaches <--
North Point btwn. Polk/Larkin (Russian Hill / Fisherman's Wharf) 12/3/04
$5.50 - Super Carne Asada
Comments: No five-mustache peaks, but no real clangs either, save its chewy tortilla and unmemorable dimensions. Steak does a spot-on imitation of roasted pork. Cheese creates tooth-stick -- nice. Smart ingredient mix. Workmanlike. Weird location in the rear shadow of Ghirardelli Square.

--> 3.83 mustaches <--
Portola/Evelyn (Twin Peaks / Mira Loma) 12/6/04
$5.45 - Super Spicy Beef
Comments: One of those awkward burritos that's actually less than the sum of its ingredients. Red bell pepper and fat onion slices gamely attempt to offset piecey meat, runny guacamole, and a drippy hind end. Homogenous sloppery inside -- makes it tough to differentiate ingredients. To-go orders only from this Mira Loma market.

--> 3.46 mustaches <--
Mission nr. Richland (Bernal Heights / Holly Park) 12/8/04
$5.50 - Super Beef
Comments: Billing itself as a "torteria," here's a spot for anyone who appreciates bland steak, unmelted cheese, and iffy-tasting sauce. High spice quotient is the ghastly cologne on this unshowered burrito. You get the picture.

--> 4.13 mustaches <--
1550 Howard at Lafayette (South Of Market) 12/10/04
$4.99 - Super Carnitas
Comments: Formerly Don Quiqué's. A mightily grilled tortilla can't prevent tragic first-half burstage, but everything else is on point, from generous sizing and nicely salted carnitas to a terrific avocado-enhanced mix and extraordinary overall flavor. Place has already changed hands once in about a year -- get there before it closes altogether.

--> 4.33 mustaches <--
292 Divisadero nr. Page (Lower Haight) 12/12/04
$5.25 - Super Spicy Chicken
Comments: Under new ownership, and a huge step up from former in-house burrito-wreckers L-Rico's. Loads of red pepper flecks help float the spice rating up to a perfect 5. Chicken's sauce is tastily kickin' as well, while the chicken itself is shredded but no worse for wear. A late dump and a just-okay mix can't sully this welcome surprise. Not to be confused with El Taco Loco (see below) in the Mission.

--> 4.13 mustaches <--
Haight at Belvedere (Upper Haight) 12/14/04
$6.95 - Super Chile Verde
Comments: Always long and slender here. Peas in the rice, and that's okay. Cilantro, pico de gallo, and onion noticeably absent. Another overly chewy tortilla. Is is that tough to grill a tortilla? Other than that, full speed ahead on all fronts. They have another location across town behind a car wash.

--> 3.69 mustaches <--
3306 Mission nr. 29th St. (Lower Mission) 12/21/04
$7.00 - Super Breakfast (Ham)
Comments: A fine piece of work undercut by phantom spice and an almost total absence of sauciness. Hot throughout, perfectly built, in love with its own cheesiness, and the eggs are downright respectable. Meanwhile, pinto beans and a somewhat misleading overall rating shouldn't scare you off, although the mural of a hatted/mustachioed bandit-jalapeno chasing a bespectacled crispy taco with a firearm is kind of a daunting sight on an empty stomach.

We also had a quite lame burrito in Woodland in mid-December that's probably better left unchronicled.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Wherein We Take A Few Minutes To Electronically Confab With "The People"

Well, that's the plan anyway. In last year's IAW heyday, we'd respond in kind and occasionally in sarcasm to e-mails from readers both near (Russian Hill, The Presidio, Oakland) and far (Tacoma, Chicago, Morocco, Thailand).

But since this is the maiden voyage of our now-monthly newsletter, we haven't yet received any letters we can slap back at. So we'll just make some questions up. (The answers are real, though.)

Dear Beano: What the hell?
Beano says back: Well, we still see a great need. Also, we figure the worst we can do is bore people once a month rather than every week on the week. Hence the Monthly tag on your old-look, newly worded Intestinal Apocalypse here. And if we can get a website up and crawling at some point, then the IAM will provide an ideal forum for spitting out site additions, updates, features, highlights, etc. etc. But it's mostly just something fun to do, kind of like skimming rocks on a frozen lake. Only the rocks are burritos, and the lake is our systematic, fully thawed engine of analysis.

Dear Beano: So which taqueria won the title in your playoffs last year? I know Taqueria San Francisco is your favorite place in town, but I heard it didn't win the gold.
Beano says back: Last February's finals were a real tussle between Papalote Mexican Grill and Taqueria San Francisco, two 24th St. taquerias that take disparate paths to roughly the same place. Hardscrabble TSF was the heavy overdog, threatening to crush the perceptibly poncey PMG under the weight of its titanic work-in-foil. But while TSF would kick down the greatest burrito of all time on Wednesday and a merely fine one the following Sunday, PMG's efforts were virtually identical time-in and time-out. With their wanting size and use of whole (not refried) beans, Papalote seemed an unlikely champion until you consider their heavenly steak (straight from Montana daily, the guy told us), each burrito's delectable sauciness and ingredient mix, and most of all, the place's mechanical consistency. What can we say? Their burritos rule, and they deservedly took home the hardware.

So Papalote won. We still love Taqueria San Francisco, though.

Dear Beano: Will you be reviewing ham sandwiches this time around?
Beano says back: We have no immediate plans to rate ham sandwiches. Perhaps visit and see what that's all about?

That e-mail address again:

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

List addition/removal requests, questions, comments, and/or anecdotes always welcome and encouraged:

yours, in delicious horchata,