the Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly Apparel Bazaar

Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, February 2006back to archive

Our January burrito review feature, Bite. Chew. Mull., proudly contains one of the world's most sadly underused words. That's right, "hippopotamus."

Dear Beano runs with the animal motif and drops in one or two dog references. Pets are fun, but they won't handle our dry cleaning, will they?

There's no reason for hostility here, people. That's what Obstinate User Commentary is for.

This Month In Stuntburgers details the...oh, never mind.

It's tempting to head off-topic in (epilogue) and castigate Sheffield's foof-rockers of yesteryear, Def Leppard, for foisting the unforgivable quatrain, "And I want / And I need / And I love / Ani-MAL", upon us at such an impressionable age. None of that, however. Just a quote from an old boxer.

Pull up a food.

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This Regular Feature Kindly Underwritten by Halliburton

As we began making return visits to several slabhouses that earned eight-plus mustaches last year, we also dropped in at three newly opened burrito shops around town: Taq. Castillo on Mason St., where portion control is out of control; El Fadi Taq. along the Excelsior's Slab Row, where bones are rumored to float about the chicken molé and intangibility’s bell of success rings loudly; and Taq. Pancho Villa's instantly popular new spot along the Embarcadero, where, despite the absence of Carlton, Your Doorman and Security Fella, the famously clangorous meat cleaver guy will remind you that, indeed, you've stepped into a Pancho Villa.

The month's big winners? The Lower Haight's Loco Taco Taq., the Tenderloin's El Tesoro, and most of all, El Castillito on Mission. As for Oceanview truck Tacos El Molcajete, whose praises we ballyhooed so prominently in that San Francisco Bay Guardian article last fall, well, things change, apparently.

TAQ. LA PAZ (Tenderloin), 1/3/06, Super Carnitas: 8.25 Mustaches
Who heaves a sealed, yet still-unfoiled burrito on the grill anymore? The afternoon shift at Taq. La Paz.

TAQ. CASTILLO (Tenderloin / Downtown), 1/5/06, Super Pollo en Salsa Verde: 6.83 Mustaches
If this burrito were capable of exercising human judgment, you’d have cringed watching it shoehorn itself into an outfit two sizes too small.

TAQ. EL CASTILLITO (Mission), 1/7/06, Super Pollo en Salsa Roja: 9.00 Mustaches
Dicey hoodlums. Undercover fuzz. Brass knuckles. A nine-mustache burrito. Just another night on Mission and 17th St. Slab of the month, January 2006.

TAQ. EL GRAN TACO (North Beach), 1/9/06, Super BBQ Chicken: 7.58 Mustaches
Indiana Jones wouldn't even bother with this first-rate obstacle course.

TAQ. FIESTA TACO (Civic Center / Tenderloin), 1/11/06, Fiesta al Pastor: 8.08 Mustaches
Big peas in the Spanish rice. Really big peas.

LUNA TAQ. (South of Market), 1/13/06, Super Carne Asada: 6.92 Mustaches
Between a tragic third-bite imbroglio and its hot bites being merely warm, this burrito’s legacy of gristle and climatic shifts will not soon be forgotten.

EL FADI TAQ. (Excelsior), 1/15/06, Super Carnitas: 8.00 Mustaches
Big as a hippopotamus, only with tasty Spanish rice and refried pinto beans standing in for prodigious, water-spouting nostrils.

TAQ. PANCHO VILLA (Financial Dist. / Embarcadero), 1/17/06, Especial Spicy Chicken: 8.25 Mustaches
Mr. Villa’s sharp, thick guacamole proved to be some of the tastiest green slop we’ve had hurled our way in quite some time.

TACOS EL MOLCAJETE (Oceanview), 1/19/06, Super Carnitas: 6.50 Mustaches
What happened here? Wasn’t food flavor discovered back around 1962? Haven’t we moved beyond Salinas Valley ag field lunch fare by now?

TAQ. EL BALAZO (Bayshore), 1/21/06, Super al Pastor: 7.67 Mustaches
Three-mustache spice may have abandoned ship and left its slabmates in the lurch, but intangible goodness persevered through all the madness.

LA PARRILLA GRILL (North Beach), 1/23/06, Vegetarian Tofu: 7.83 Mustaches
They openly boast of “generous portions” on their menu; their burritowork supports this claim.

LOCO TACO TAQ. (Lower Haight), 1/25/06, Super Carnitas: 8.50 Mustaches
Loco Taco’s relentless, smoke-sauced carnitas and excellent refried pinto beans anchored this soft-blimp as only tasty meat and mush can.

EL TESORO (Tenderloin), 1/27/06, Super Pollo BBQ: 8.42 Mustaches
This none-more-grilled, ten-mustache tortilla cradled a bevy of tasty moments. The sauced-all-to-hell chicken alone deserved an ovation.

TACOS EL TONAYENSE (Shotwell) (Mission), 1/29/06, Super Pollo BBQ: 7.42 Mustaches
We wondered for a few moments if we’d mistakenly ordered their all-meat Imperial County Special. Quite the letdown.

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Pathos, Insults, and Redemption, All With a Side of Guac

As if living by some busted clock that only tells time correctly twice a day, our taqueria sage Mr. Cook gets even surlier than usual a couple months throughout the year. February's one of them. Football season's through, so he's got no reason to angrily toss his plastic beer mug at the TV, grunt a lot, and act like a parka-clad mook every weekend. He's too cheap to turn on the heat in his house, so his fingers end up going numb several times a week; as a result, he has to eat his burritos with knife and fork, which makes him very sad. But the worst part comes when his neighbor's rogue schnauzer holds him up at gunpoint every year on Groundhog Day and steals his socks and underpants.

Send him e-mail, cheer him down further:

Dear Beano: Not sure if you knew this, but was plugged on Live 105's morning show yesterday. They said the Web site was great and that you were maybe going to expand into pizza. Maybe that was just a joke.
Dear Apocalypse reader: And a remarkably bad joke, at that. Pizza's great and all, but when frozen, it's not much of a blunt object the way a burrito is. Same goes for eel. When’s the last you heard of an attacker getting bludgeoned by a slice of grilled unagi?

Dear Beano: We have a live-in nanny that makes really good burritos. But the funny thing is, they taste just like her lasagna. Or it could be the other way around.
Dear Apocalypse reader: That girl we went to high school with, right? I had a total crush on her, and you loused it all up. I was all set to send her a dozen roses on Valentine's Day that one year, and you had to go and send her 12 pork chops the day before, under my name. Thanks, pal. Thanks a lot.

Dear Beano: I don't understand your Web site. Your writing is too complex for me to digest (pun intended).
Dear Apocalypse reader: must be all the complicated punctuation and capitalization our copy editor makes us use we will stop at once and fire him sorry

Dear Beano: News flash: "Delicious horchata" now available by the carton (like milk) at Albertsons in Vacaville. The suburbs are always on the cutting edge.
Dear Apocalypse reader: I always liked Vacaville. Used to stop by the Nut Tree all the time back in the '50s. Good halfway point when I drove United Grocers' Gilroy-to-Chico route. No horchata back in those days, though. Just swill from a canteen. Swill and peanuts. Once I got so hungry on desolate old highway 50, I started to gnaw on my forearm. This was all before the factory outlets set up camp there.

Dear Beano: Being the burrito connoisseur you probably aren't, I’m guessing you go for that Mission District crap where they feature ingredients scraped off the bottom of the street-cleaning trucks. Yummy. Take a rigor mortis tortilla, mix in the stuff that washed down the street from the Chinese joint that got shut down for serving Tsingtao beer to 11-year-olds, foil it all up, and get a good review on Burritoeater. You’re corrupt!
Dear Apocalypse reader: Gutter-mung's the new sesos. You heard it here first.

Dear Beano: Congratulations on your 300th burrito review on the site. That's a tall number. I don't think I can count that high.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Right on, thanks. Cy Young also sold himself short like that, though, and he made it to 511.

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Belly On Up to Our All-You-Can-Sling Mud Bar

There you are with your beef stroganoff, or perhaps your jicama salad, or your Peruvian tapas. Or your microwaveable piroshki. You get the picture. And you know what you're thinking: To hell with the V8, I could have had a burrito. You're also thinking, Maybe those numbnuts over at Burritoeater aren't so out of their tree after all.

Yes, you think, I shall eat more burritos. And when I do, I will not only post my thoughts on user review-driven Burritophile, I will also e-mail those jerks at Burritoeater and give them a piece of my mind, and perhaps a bite of my next super al pastor from El Castillito if they choose to reprint my spiel in a future edition of the Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly.

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

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Pancho's, Geary location. Steak Borracho burrito. Good steak, great guacamole, excellent Mexican barbecue sauce, all in nice tortilla wrapper. Hint: the longer the line, the better the burrito...they thrive on the excitement. I've had dozens, quality is always high, size is variable. The barbecue sauce keeps me coming back.”

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“I know it’s a sit-down restaurant and you only list more informal taquerias, but give Puerto Alegré on Valencia between 16th and 17th Sts. a shot. Get the super grilled chicken. I like to replace the refried pintos with whole black beans, and I substitute the all-too-oniony guacamole for sliced avocado. Huge and tasty. Just for a day, let yourself rest in a seat and be waited on, as opposed to lugging yet another heavy burrito from the counter to your seat.”

(Sure thing. By the by, Puerto Alegré's sketchy bar-cousin is listed on -Ed.)

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“During my five years in San Francisco, Jasmin's (on Bush near Mason) served the best burrito in the city. Well, maybe that was just because they fronted me a burrito when I was low on funds or forgot my cashish...or, is it because I couldn't get lost on the way to their place from my damn $1500-a-month apartment after a night out, since it was only a half-block away? At any rate, their burritos and nachos sustained this southern boy when I couldn't get anything from Biscuits and Blues.”

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Vegetarian Readers May as Well Skip Ahead to (epilogue)

Of course, this has nothing to do with burritos. But neither does Hysteria, Cy Young, or hippopotami.

Enjoy, or be repulsed. Your call.

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It's high time everyone got over the fact that the Apocalypse will always be a Quinn Martin production.

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"I like the Oreos cookies. And eggs. I love eggs."
- Larry Holmes, former heavyweight boxing champion

Yours, in delicious horchata,