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Intestinal Apocalypse Weekly, January 26, 2004back to archive
Burrito blargh onward ho etc. etc.:

- Quarterfinals Results: 1/20 - 1/24
- Continuing Playoff Schedule: 1/27 - 1/31
- Sex And Burritos, But Mostly Burritos: John Roemer Exposé / Burrito History Lesson ca. 1993
- Beating A Dead Horse, Vol. 7: 2003-04 Gas Face Awards
- Nice Tilde, Jackass: Letters to the Apocalypse

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Poll Taken in Perfect World Shows More Interest in Burrito Playoffs Than Football Playoffs

Quarterfinal visits continued apace last week as the Committee trudged barefoot through the snow uphill both ways en route to Luna Azul and Taqueria San Francisco, each of which performed more solidly than superlatively. Meanwhile, the surly management team responsible for SF's sole one-mustache burrito at La Placita Mexicatessen (on San Bruno Ave. in Portola) struck again early last week, this time adding a rare fuel additive known as "cabeza" to the Committee's shiny 2004 Bentley. Future burrito ingredient attacks have not been ruled out.

AGAIN WITH OUR IMPORTANT NOTE REGARDING MUSTACHE RATINGS: A total of 14 elements are examined during our time with a burrito. The first 13 elements are rated on a 0-5 mustache scale, while a maximum of two bonus mustaches are allowed for intangibility. A burrito's Overall Mustache Rating is determined by dividing the total number of mustaches awarded (variable) by the number of burrito elements (a constant 13). The four highest OMRs from the eight-taqueria quarterfinals advance to the playoffs' semifinal round, scheduled for Feb. 3 - 19.

Last week's results:

** LUNA AZUL ** (seed: 8 odds to win title: 11-1)
Overall Mustache Rating --> 4.12
Ratings By Category --> size: 2 tortilla: 3 steak: 4.5 rice: 4.5 beans: 4 cheese: 4.5 sour cream: 4 vegetables: 3.5 sauciness: 5 spiciness: 4.5 ingredient mix: 4 temperature: 5 burstage abatement: 4.5 (intangibles: 0.5)
Mission at 4th St. - inside Metreon (South Of Market) 1/20/04
$6.49 - large steak
Comments: Tournament's unlikeliest success story impressed recent converts while winning over the Committee's most hardline members, turning in a steady bite-by-bite performance; delectable sauciness worthy of perhaps six mustaches was the star of the show, with 100% hot bites, nicely gooey melted cheese, tasty and healthy-sized rice grains, just-short-of-perfect steak, stellar construction, and sucker-punch spice each proudly flying the 4.5-mustache (or better) flag; primary reasons for Luna Azul's minor ratings downturn were its completely ordinary, ungrilled tortilla and, most frustratingly of all, its short and somewhat thin stature – seemingly easy enough issues to thwart, but we don't make the burritos, we just eat 'em and rate 'em, don't we? yes we do; also worth noting: chipotle sauce added notably heavy flavor; it's a semifinal shoo-in if the tortilla's grilled and it's just plain bigger!, but nooooooo.

** SAN FRANCISCO, TAQ. ** (seed: 1 odds to win title: 5-4)
Overall Mustache Rating --> 4.15
Ratings By Category --> size: 4.5 tortilla: 5 steak: 4 rice: 4 beans: 4 cheese: 5 sour cream: 4.5 vegetables: 4.5 sauciness: 2.5 spiciness: 2 ingredient mix: 3.5 temperature: 5 burstage
abatement: 5 (intangibles: 0.5)
24th St. at York (Mission) 1/24/04
$4.75 - super carne asada
Comments: The prodigal burrito...a burrito that comes from a place so legendary it bears the name of our globally adored municipality...the odds-on favorite to take home the crown on Leap Day...yup, sounds like unreasonably unfair expectations all around; so, take the Committee's dream burrito - chunky/lengthy heft, a wall of melted cheese along the grilled tortilla's interior, excellent steak, toppermost vegetables / rice / refried beans, all mixed just right – then suck out a portion of the sauciness and almost all the spice, and what you have is what we had the other day at our acknowledged favorite taqueria in town; it's really this simple: if they add back some of the lost sauce (where'd it go in the first place?) and crank up the spice meter (see "where'd-the-sauce-go?"), it's clearly leading the pack as of press time; as it stands, it's holding down a middle-of-the-pack slot, hoping like hell for another opportunity in the semi's; further proof that the Committee acts on the most objective terms possible – giving this burrito a 4.15 was like kicking your best friend out of your apartment...okay, that's a bit dramatic.

1 Taq. El Castillito: 4.39
2 Papalote Mexican Grill: 4.35
3 Taq. San Francisco: 4.15
4 Luna Azul: 4.12
5 Taq. Fiesta Taco (a.k.a. Taq. Clang): 3.31
? Taq. El Tonayense: TBD
? Aguila De Oro: TBD
? Chavo's: TBD

(Top four quarterfinalists advance to semifinals.)

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Also Occurring This Week: Bingo at Our Lady of the Worthless Miracle

A pair of afternoon delights on tap this week, and everyone's eagerly awaiting our Tuesday night visit to oddsmaker darling and new tournament favorite Taq. El Tonayense.

Tu 1/27 evening: Taq. El Tonayense (Mission: 24th St. at Shotwell)
Th 1/29 afternoon: Chavo's (South Of Market: Bryant at 4th St.)
Sa 1/31 afternoon: Aguila De Oro (Bayview: 3rd St. nr. Thomas)

Semifinals: Tu 2/3 - Th 2/19
Finals: M 2/23 - Su 2/29
Champion crowned: Su 2/29
Colonostomy: M 3/1

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Also Makes Excellent Paper Hat Once Printed

One particularly judicious IAW reader turned the Committee on to an excellent historical piece which was (apparently) first published in the SF Weekly over a decade ago. The era when Taqueria El Cumbre was the local burrito cred-king has long since passed, but you can re-live those heady days of Blind Melon and Jurassic Park while learning all there is to know about the history of one of the world's culinary marvels at It starts out with a dildo harness and gets better from there, while the final line basically sums up the timeless, intangible allure of IAW's ongoing subject, the San Francisco burrito. A full read, and highly recommended on all fronts.

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Each week in this space we promote an upcoming feature called the 2003-04 Gas Face Awards that will never actually happen. Stay tuned for additional teasers, right here.

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Letters To The Apocalypse

We enjoy your questions, your comments, your anecdotes, your feedback, your off-color jokes, your smile. Yes, we love to see you smile:

Dear Committee: "I deserve to experience a playoff-caliber burrito, after trolling the low minors as a roving part-time scout in 2003. I'm not coming to Luna Azul, though."
The Committee gets small: Everyone deserves a playoff-caliber burrito. We've worked hard all year to delineate what we consider to be the finest super carne asada burritos in town. WE HAVE DONE THE WORK FOR YOU. Free of charge, even. You owe it to yourself and the burrito concoctionnaires of your community to get out there in the thick of it, kick down six or seven bucks (tip not included, you cheap-ass) for a burrito and an horchata, and dive face first into these festivals of flavor. Screw the dietitians!: Beans have always been and always will be good for you.

Dear Committee: "I've hit Taqueria El Gran Taco many a late night when I lived in Norte Beach. It's gotta be the joint with the longest hours outside of the Mission. You gotta be careful though when venturing in there after the bars close cuz it's almost like a scene outta the "Star Wars" cantina with an assortment of degenerates ranging from loony panhandlers to transvestites...all hovering over you as you chew. And I agree with the burstage/drippage issues...the sloppiness in the fold only worsens when the help is half-asleep at that hour. It still hits the spot after a steady evening of libation consumption, though."
The Committee shrugs: Sure. Loony panhandlers just make us chew that much more forcefully.

Dear Committee: "Is the most common physical reaction to a 3.5-mustache burrito likely to be the sturgeon face?"
The Committee turns the edges of its collective mouth southward in a show of acquiescence: In certain cases, yes, this is indeed the case. Although data culled from our 2003 taqueria tour shows that a four-mustache burrito is more likely to get the sturgeonesque nod and lip downturn, for the simple reason that a four-'stacher elicits more reserved satisfaction than does a 3.5'er. Look around the room next time you wander into a taqueria. Are people's faces dancing the Sturgeon Shuffle as they dine? Do these people appear sated when finished? If so, we recommend you order your burrito at once.

Dear Committee: "I must say your newsletters are very entertaining. Amazing you can find different words to describe the same thing 101 different times. Though they are not the same thing, as you describe in your analyses, you find a way to show their differences. I dig it. What I don't dig, however, is the fact that I am now in shitty Washington where I think Taco Bell may win the burrito competition if I were to conduct an experiment."
The Committee responds: Our favorite letters are often the ones that come from distant zip codes. We've heard from gentle New Yorkers, big shouldered-Chicagoans, U.S. expats living out their peanut-sauce-and-mango fantasies in Thailand, a couple people over in Oakland, and now, a Pacific Northwest collegian. Burritos have truly become the international tongue, even when the included meat (if any) is something other than lengua. It will be even more impressive when burritos become the international seso.

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That's at least three or four weeks now without an Idaho reference here on the pages of the IAW. Let's keep up the pace, people.

Recurring, perpetual thanks to all the newsletter-forwarders in the audience. Stand up and take a bow, even if you're reading this in your undershorts at 11:30 PM in your room.

Questions, comments, anecdotes, list addition/removal requests always welcome and encouraged:

yours, in lard,