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Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, October 2005back to archive

We summarize over 200 bites of September slabs in the neat and tidy space of Bite. Chew. Mull.

Our resident taqueria sage Beano Cook is particularly grouchy this time through, mainly because someone swiped the free-burritos-for-life card Taq. El Castillito sent him a few birthdays back. If found, please return to Dear Beano.

A counterpoint opinion on current Overall Mustache Rating kingpin Taq. Express. The skinny on where Vancouver bands slab down when they roll through San Francisco. And the return of the Gangsta Foodie. This month in Obstinate User Commentary.

We dump the gauntlet of absurdity into the lap of a few other sites for a change in This Month in Carniceria Folk Art and Competitive Facial Foliage.

Kindly examine our (epilogue). Our attorneys not only seso, they insist.

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September San Francisco Slabtacular a Swashbuckling Spectacle

We imposed our fierce rigor throughout September at 13 local burrito dens, and although it was hardly a banner month for top-notch cylindri-food, strapping deliveries from Salsa Taq., Taq. Fiesta Taco, and Los Hermanos still rang the eight-mustache bell. We had our hearts broken by El Cachanilla, we endured another cheese travesty at Taq. La Alteña in the Mission, and we got squarely bludgeoned by silly hyphen usage at Bur-Eat-Os. And if nothing else, we learned for ourselves that Cabbies Burger - whose menu includes an unexpected Mexican sub-set - is as broke-down as its name suggests.

CABBIES BURGER (Tenderloin), 9/1/05, Special Pork: 6.50 Mustaches
Lettuce. Really now. (Free Judd Hirsch reference included with every link click-through.)

ZONA ROSA (Upper Haight), 9/5/05, Super Barbecue Chicken: 7.92 Mustaches
Zona Rosa’s barbecue chicken lived in a thick marinade – not as glurgy as KC Masterpiece, but still 30-weight in its own right.

TAQ. GIRASOL (SFSU), 9/7/05, La Paz (Chicken Molé): 6.17 Mustaches
This disappointing burrito may as well have been built at the University of Winnipeg.

PANCHO’S (USF / Inner Richmond), 9/9/05, Fajita (Grilled Chicken): 7.82 Mustaches
We kept the lid on the bean vat for an evening and took the fajita burrito route. Who says our regimen’s inflexible?

EL CACHANILLA (Mission), 9/11/05, Super al Pastor: 6.58 Mustaches
Clearly, some moneybags San Jose residential developers got ahold of this slab and cul-de-sac’d it straight to hell. Ingredient subdivision = bummer. A staggering blow to the little joint’s previously unassailable reputation.

TAQ. ZAPATA (Castro), 9/14/05, Special Spicy Chicken: 7.42 Mustaches
The portrait of shoulder-shrugging consistency. Worse yet, we nearly had to ask the foil and tortilla to get their own room.

EL METATE (Mission), 9/16/05, Chile Colorado (Steak): 7.00 Mustaches
Little did we know upon its arrival that this burly specimen was mostly composed of sauce. By meal’s end, our patience had run as dry as this burrito was moist.

SALSA TAQ. (Mission), 9/18/05, Carne Asada: 8.08 Mustaches
The first eight-mustache burrito of September, and it came on the 18th day of the month. Certain menu copies indicate Salsa’s street address as 1198 Meats St., and we’re not even kidding.

TAQ. FIESTA TACO (Civic Center / Tenderloin), 9/20/05, Super Breakfast (Chorizo): 8.08 Mustaches
We gave them $4.99 at 11 A.M., and they gave us a tortilla-clad reason to not eat again until later that evening.

DOS PIÑAS TAQ. (Potrero Hill), 9/22/05, El Truck Stop (Chicken Sausage): 7.55 Mustaches
Are truck stops known for skimping on chicken apple sausage? They are? Really?

TAQ. LA ALTEÑA (Mission), 9/24/05, Super Pastor: 7.17 Mustaches
Give certain food handlers access to cheese, and they’re bound to use it as a weapon at some point.

BUR-EAT-OS (Financial Dist. / Embarcadero), 9/26/05, Super Pork in Green Sauce: 7.33 Mustaches
We always expect this place to totally suck, but it usually ends up just harmlessly furrowing our brow.

LOS HERMANOS (Marina), 9/28/05, Super Carnitas: 8.17 Mustaches
This time around, The Brothers treated us like family - unlike a few years back, when they just dumped a bunch of weird, orange sauce into a tortilla and called it a burrito.

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Like a Rolling Pin

This month’s cast of inquiring characters: a new New Yorker in the midst of San Francisco burrito withdrawal; some heckler in the 23rd row; a wrap apologist; that one guy who thinks he’s been tracked by the FBI since 1993; and that other guy who pines for “community” on a local taqueria Web site.

E-mail Ol’ LL Cool Bean at He guarantees a reply. He doesn’t guarantee you’ll enjoy that reply.

Dear Beano: I moved to New York earlier this year from San Francisco, and I have to admit, having good pizza in my life is ultimately more important than burritos. But if you want to send me a super chicken molé burrito from Papalote, I'd appreciate it.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Burritoeater’s corporate bean counters have been yammering for months about how the heretofore untapped industry of slab shipping is the future of commerce. Plant your corn-spackled Spanish rice early and get yourself some heat-retentive foam shippers, stat. In the meantime, see you at Grimaldi’s.

Dear Beano: Judas!
Dear Apocalypse reader: What? Because our Pancho’s burrito didn’t have beans? I don’t believe you. You’re a liar.

Dear Beano: Hey, what’s your truck with wraps?
Dear Apocalypse reader: One person's wrap could be another person's diet burrito. You sound a little run-down. Have some carbs.

Dear Beano: Much to my surprise, the Tacos Santana truck was in the LIMN parking lot today. The guy who took my order said that the Tacos San Buena truck was in the shop, so they brought in the Santana substitute from 22nd/Harrison because it was owned by the same people. Isn't that a Tonayense location? I’m getting the feeling that all the burrito trucks in SF are owned by the same people - I’ve always thought San Buena’s burritos are pretty Tonayense-like.
Dear Apocalypse reader: On one hand, you raise some serious concerns about the integrity of diversified ownership and management among San Francisco burrito trucks. History has demonstrated how collusion chews up the cuticles of ethical commerce, and quite frankly, we’d rather not have it stirring up our civic pot of profit margin-obsessed beans. On the other hand, you sound like a paranoid conspiracist.

Dear Beano: Why can't I leave comments on your taco site?
Dear Apocalypse reader: You just did. Nice work.

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Long Live the First Amendment

Free speech? Sure, we’re all for it. See that 4’ x 6’ patch of scrub brush over there, behind the four-deep police barrier and the Fox News banner? It’s all yours, have at it.

Once your bullhorn’s been confiscated, go ahead and e-mail us your taqueria-related yays/nays at For your convenience, we’ll tweak your commentary so it aligns with corporate policy here at Burritoeater Pipe and Supply. You won’t even be able to tell the difference, really.

(Comments may be edited for spelling, clarity, and/or brevity at our discretion. But rarely for colorful language.)

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“I had previously tried Taq. Express on Geary, but decided to give it another look after your rave rating a couple of weeks ago. Finally made it there this weekend. We got the super steak con todos, and the enchilada plate. And were not impressed. You might want to review this place again. The people were incredibly friendly and the music was great, but what in the world is that bright green mush they list as guacamole? The meat was delicious, but everything else was so-so, including the oomph-less jalapeños. Neither of us liked the rice, either, which was overdone and basically just sweet.”

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“At the New Pornographers show last night, there was a discussion of SF taqs. between the band and crowd. A.C. Newman said they’d been debating which one to go to after the show. Someone in the band suggested El Toro, and Newman replied, “But I think that’s where tourists go, right?” The audience chimed in, agreeing/disagreeing and shouting alternatives. When someone suggested El Farolito, Newman said something like, “That’s where you go late, when you’re drunk.” Then someone suggested Can-cún, which Newman was also familiar with. There was an internal discussion among the band, then Newman announced they had decided on Can-cún. He knows his SF taqs. pretty well, for a Canuck.”

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La Pachanguera is the motherfucking truth. A lot of people told me about El Tonayense when I first moved here, which is cute, but Pachanguera hooks it up. I happen to hit them up quite a bit, and the al pastor is my regular. They are always good, but when they are on point, it's the shit. Once they were running low on al pastor, so they hooked up some half beef / half al pastor steez, and it was on point as fuck. Sauce was killer, and the tortilla was the best part. Dude grilled it to perfection. They haven't matched that burrito since, but that shit was probably one of the best I've ever had. I've yet to try one of those Cuban joints, but I will someday. I don't know about Pachanguera’s tostadas, though. The cheese on those is kind of suspect. It's like some almost gone-bad ranchero cheese, and not enough of it with a gang of sauce makes the tostada soggy if they’re not up on their shit.”

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Pigs In the Kettle Vs. Full Beard Freestyle

If the line connecting taquerias and mustaches is a mercurial zig-zag, the link between murals in the foodplace and stunt beards must be some kind of circuitous sham. And yet still we foist the following ridicularity upon you, kind and willful reader.

Carniceria murals: Los Angeles may be more about tacos than burritos, but the Great Tax Base of California knows no peer in the field of lo-fi / mid-brow / hi-fun wall art.

World Beard and Moustache Championships:
We had a hell of a time at the Carson City event two years ago. No results yet from Berlin’s hairy humdinger that went down a few weeks ago; hopefully soon.

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The Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly,, and The Mustache Logo are exclusive properties of The Exploding Head Trick Publishing Co. © 2005. They're ours and you can't have them, unless perhaps you ask politely. And even then, we’ll probably hit you with a six-figure licensing fee that will have you seeing stars and us pricing vacation retreats in Bermuda, Paris, Cape Cod, and possibly even Campbell and the Catskills.

Yours, in delicious horchata,