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Intestinal Apocalypse Weekly, February 2, 2004back to archive

- Quarterfinals Results: 1/27 - 1/31
- Complete Quarterfinals Recap / Standings
- Semifinals Preview / Schedule: 2/3 - 2/7
- Dig That Horse Up, Maybe It Ain't Dead Yet: 2003-04 Gas Face Awards
- What's Your Damn Problem, Beano?: Letters To The Apocalypse

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First Round Of Playoffs Ends In Townwide Food Fight - 24th St. Awash In Beans, Sesos

The third and final week of the 2003-04 SF Burrito Playoffs quarterfinal round came to a wrap this past weekend, with only one of the three visited taquerias managing to not soil its proverbial underpants with nervousness. Soilers included Taqueria El Tonayense and Chavo's, while the week's only non-soiler was Aguila De Oro Taqueria. The soiling stops here, hopefully.

AND AGAIN, HOW OUR MUSTACHE RATINGS RULE THE WORLD: 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 now advance to the playoffs' semifinal round, scheduled for Feb. 3
- 19. Still interested? Why not scroll down to see who advances and who goes home to drown their sorrows in rum-laced Jumex?

Last week's results:

** TAQUERIA EL TONAYENSE ** (seed: 2 odds to win title: 4-3)
Overall Mustache Rating --> 4.00
Ratings By Category --> size: 4.5 tortilla: 4 steak: 4 rice: 4 beans: 4 cheese: 4 sour cream: 3.5 vegetables: 4 sauciness: 3.5 spiciness: 4 ingredient mix: 3.5 temperature: 4.5 burstage abatement: 4 (intangibles: 0.5)
24th St. at York (Mission) 1/27/04
$4.25 - super carne asada
Comments: We expected to have our mouths blown away by this giant on the SF burrito scene...however, this did not occur, and we were mildly aghast; a glance at the all the 3.5s, 4s, and 4.5s above and you'll see that nothing was glaringly wrong with Tonayense's work, but a complete lack of 5s speaks volumes on this burrito's perceived fear of winning; as for its slightly-above-average (i.e. 3.5-mustache-worthy) elements, the sour cream didn't add much to the mix, the sauciness was gaffled by perpetual grease evident in every bite, and the ingredient mix itself was maddeningly inconsistent; who knew they'd cough up a greaseball in the quarters?; it's a bummer, but at least not a total embarrassment.

** CHAVO'S ** (seed: 6 odds to win title: 7-1)
Overall Mustache Rating --> 3.27
Ratings By Category --> size: 4.5 tortilla: 3.5 steak: 3.5 rice: 4 beans: 4 cheese: 4.5 sour cream: 3.5 vegetables: 2.5 sauciness: 2.5 spiciness: 1 ingredient mix: 2 temperature: 3 burstage abatement: 4 (intangibles: 0)
Bryant at 4th St. (South Of Market) 1/29/04
$5.25 - super steak
Comments: The clangs came early, often, and late at Chavo's the other day - truly a piss-poor showing, underscored by the playoffs' sole one-mustache rating thus far; sure, the steak was chunky and marinated...problem was, they forgot to add that ingredient that makes it delicious; no vegetables came to the rescue - in fact, a preponderance of lettuce brought the house down from every angle; thin sauce, cool bites on the veggie side of the slab, more segregation than certain Louisiana parishes, and a full-scale avoidance of any and all spice wrote this burrito's playoff eulogy and sent it packing; boo.

** AGUILA DE ORO TAQUERIA ** (seed: 4 odds to win title: 3-1)
Overall Mustache Rating --> 4.15
Ratings By Category --> size: 4.5 tortilla: 3.5 steak: 3.5 rice: 4 beans: 4 cheese: 4.5 sour cream: 3.5 vegetables: 4 sauciness: 4.5 spiciness: 4.5 ingredient mix: 3.5 temperature: 5 burstage abatement: 5 (intangibles: 0)
3rd St. at Thomas (Bayview) 1/31/04
$4.99 - super carne asada
Comments: This clutch performance weathered a flurry of 3.5s to qualify (but barely) for the upcoming semifinals; the lightly grilled tortilla was nothing special, the mix could have used some shaking up, and the plentifully dominant carne asada was good without being outstanding, while on the plus side of the ledger, it was well-sized, adroitly constructed, and chock full of melted cheese and gracious sauce/spice; on an ancillary note, we desperately wanted to dole out a truckload of bonus mustaches for the staff's black aprons that read "Mr. Pollo" (complete with rad logo), but there was just no way.

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Distraught Tonayense Fans Riot Until Dawn; Team Papalote Pulls Stunner

Four of the top five seeds advanced beyond the quarterfinals, so our oddsmaking staff obviously didn't have their heads up their asses too far. Still, overall ratings were lower than anticipated, ostensibly due to a combination of nerves and more rigorous playoff standards, not to mention general dimwittery all around town these last few weeks. Who knew an OMR of 4.15 would be good enough for a date in the semis? Not you, not us. Get your bookie on the horn on the double.

** Complete Quarterfinals Results **
1 Taqueria El Castillito: 4.39 (!)
2 Papalote Mexican Grill: 4.35 (!)
3 Taqueria San Francisco: 4.15 (!)
4 Aguila De Oro Taqueria: 4.15 (!)
5 Luna Azul: 4.12 (?)
6 Taqueria El Tonayense: 4.00 (?)
7 Taqueria Fiesta Taco: 3.31 (?)
8 Chavo's: 3.27 (?)

(!): Will advance to semifinals
(?): Will spend off-season in dejected seclusion

Capsule looks at each quarterfinalist's performance, arranged by current OMR (Overall Mustache Rating) in descending order....

1 ** Taqueria El Castillito **
Church btwn. Duboce and 14th St. (Duboce Triangle); three other locations in Mission, Castro, and Tenderloin
quarterfinal OMR: 4.39
pre-playoff seed: 3
comment: only heavyweight that performed up to lofty expectations in quarterfinals

2 ** Papalote Mexican Grill **
24th St. nr. Valencia (Mission)
quarterfinal OMR: 4.35
pre-playoff seed: 7
comment: low-seeded sniper won't surprise anyone in next round

3 ** Taqueria San Francisco **
24th St. at York (Mission)
quarterfinal OMR: 4.15
pre-playoff seed: 1
comment: sleeping giant stumbled gracefully in first round, now poised to strike it big

4 ** Aguila De Oro Taqueria **
3rd St. at Thomas (Bayview)
quarterfinal OMR: 4.15
pre-playoff seed: 4
comment: solid showing, yet capable of greater damage

5 ** Luna Azul **
Mission at 4th St. - inside Metreon (South Of Market)
quarterfinal OMR: 4.12
pre-playoff seed: 8
comment: just-happy-to-be-here entrant nearly cracked glass ceiling to further shock Metreon-phobes

6 ** Taqueria El Tonayense **
24th St. at Shotwell (Mission)
quarterfinal OMR: 4.00
pre-playoff seed: 2
comment: fearsome contender heaved forth comparably weak effort when it counted most

7 ** Taqueria Fiesta Taco **
Golden Gate btwn. Leavenworth/Hyde (Tenderloin)
quarterfinal OMR: 3.31
pre-playoff seed: 5
comment: so disappointing, children in Poland wept

8 ** Chavo's **
Bryant at 4th St. (South Of Market)
quarterfinal OMR: 3.27
pre-playoff seed: 6
comment: upstart lunch-only spot irrevocably shat bed

(Note: By virtue of price tiebreaker, Taqueria San Francisco [$4.75] placed third in quarterfinals over Aguila De Oro [$4.99].)

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Aguila De Oro Manager: "We'll Mash All Those Jackasses"

Each taqueria gets two visits in the semifinals. That's two delicious burritos for the price of two.

Tu 2/3: Taqueria El Castillito (Duboce Triangle: Church btwn. Duboce and 14th St.)
Th 2/5: Papalote Mexican Grill (Mission: 24th St. nr. Valencia)
Sa 2/7: Aguila De Oro (Bayview: 3rd St. at 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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If an awards ceremony doesn't occur and people still expect one, can we say it occurred anyway?

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Letters To The Apocalypse

Got a beef? Has it been assiduously marinated and grilled? Send it here:

Dear Committee: "Okay. I can deal with you giving the place at the Nordstrom shopping center downtown four 'staches. I shall cast a jaundiced eye, but still, you know your stuff, so I defer. But I positively draw the line at this Luna Azul business. There's no way the Metreon makes a better burrito than El Faro or Cancun. No way. What's really going on here?"
The Committee strikes back: Such vitriol! Such close-mindedness! Friend, The Committee assures you that we were not expecting much in the way of authenticity at everyone's favorite local corporate FutureMall. Not in the least. The Committee also assures you that we have endeavored to retain an unbiased mouth and taste buds about us throughout this entire project. Finally, we assure you that the steak burritos at Luna Azul mean tasty business. Granted, they are on the expensive side, and not as large as they should be. But if you can get your mind around the smallish size, $6.49 pricetag, and non-grilled tortilla, you'll be doing yourself a fine service by braving all the SonyStyle idiocy and indulging in one of the most smartly assembled burritos in San Francisco. No joke.

Dear Committee: "Are certain categories more (or less) important than others? Like, are the beans really as integral to the success of a burrito as the guacamole? Or the steak?"
The Committee puts its thinking cap on: It's tricky - not only to rock a rhyme that's right on time, but to explain this whole burrito-analysis racket. It's easy to say that ingredients such as steak and guacamole are the most important elements of a super carne asada burrito, and it's also easy to believe it after you've said it. Then you have a burrito sporting killer steak and guac, yet also white rice, runny pinto beans, globby sour cream, and a cavalcade of cold bites, and you realize that the so-called supporting elements mean a whole lot as well. We thought about weighting certain categories such as steak and size, but a burrito can be huge or boast terrific steak, and yet still suck a lot of ass. So, hmm.

Dear Committee: "Your list has my mouth watering. You don't know what it's like living in a country with no Mexican food. It's what I miss most about CA."
The Committee gets that faraway look in its eye: Ah, our seemingly weekly e-mail from a distant land. This week: Morocco! Frankly, we wouldn't want to know what it's like to not have access to quality burritos. Not that North Africa isn't without its considerable culinary charms, but couscous doesn't really cut it as a substitute for Spanish rice. Here, try a lamb kebab and crank up your imagination's engine.

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Thanks to all you folks who do that thing for which we thank you here every week.

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

yours, in lard,