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Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, November 2006back to archive

Bite. Chew. Mull. can't get its beady eyes off our 2006 Slab Scrum.

Our taqueria sage addresses a Scrum superfan, a Samuel Beckett imposter, and someone who could very well be Canadian. He also deftly skirts a socio-political dust-up. It's all tonight on Dear Beano!

Obstinate User Commentary gets the double-album compilation treatment.

Hopefully, This Month On The Burrito Blotter will not be a recurring feature.

And if you dig deeply enough into our (epilogue), you'll learn the subtle differences that distinguish the burrito from its close cousin, the ham sandwich.

Pull up a food.

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Look, Up Above! The Burritoeater Blimp!

October saw our elite burrito derby, the 2006 Slab Scrum, take flight like a graceful dirigible. Other than the suddenly Hindenburg-esque Tacos El Tonayense, all Scrum entrants delivered edible zeppelins that posted impressive quarterfinal ratings. Papalote, Taq. El Castillito, Gordo Taq., and Loco Taco Taq. each earned airship rides to the semifinal round, with Papalote and Gordo set to square off in this week's final.

Throughout our tournament's gripping drama, the whole town has remained a-titter.

TACOS EL TONAYENSE (Mission), 10/3/06, Super Carnitas: 7.08 mustaches
Three clangs? From a burrito purveyor this well-respected? Unacceptable.

TAQ. EL CASTILLITO (Castro), 10/6/06, Super Pastor: 8.83 mustaches
Impeccable burstage abatement countered any drippy designs the meat’s plentiful sauce may have harbored, and for those of you still with us after that ridiculous turn of phrase, spice levels topped out at or around fierce.

LA CASTRO TAQ. (Castro), 10/9/06, Super Pollo en Molé: 8.42 mustaches
Not that 8.42 mustaches is anything to shake a ladle of refried bean-sludge at, but our first two visits to La Castro gave us every reason to think that infallibility’s the norm here. This was our third visit.

PAPALOTE (Mission), 10/12/06, Super Pollo: 8.92 mustaches
This extraordinary lunch only reinforced Papalote’s unfailing knack for slabb-crafting magick.

LOCO TACO TAQ. (Lower Haight), 10/17/06, Super Pollo Asada: 8.75 mustaches
With this burrito, Loco Taco ran its hit streak to four high-rated slabs in all four Burritoeater plate appearances. This streak would derail itself exactly two weeks later.

GORDO TAQ. (Inner Sunset), 10/20/06, Super Chicken: 8.75 mustaches
The crew behind the Gordo counter is way pro these days.

TAQ. SAN FRANCISCO (Mission), 10/24/06, Super Carnitas: 8.58 mustaches
The 24th St. warhorse ponied up and grabbed back some respect with this solid effort.

EL BURRITO EXPRESS (Western Addition), 10/27/06, Super Bronco Carnitas Pork: 8.50 mustaches
The closing glob of melted jack, mixed as it was with some wonderfully lumpy refried beans, was as forceful a parting statement as we’ve tasted from any taqueria lately.

LOCO TACO TAQ. (Lower Haight), 10/31/06, Super Pollo en Salsa Verde: 7.67 Mustaches
Salsa coup at slab o'clock. If any burrito merits a one-liner about the inharmonic convergence of taquerias and life preservers, it’s this one. Cannonball! Cannonball coming.

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Final Score: Jimmy Jazz 62, Jukebox Hero 0

In much the same way that only a complete stooge would confuse the Clash's Mick Jones with his namesake from Foreigner, you'd do yourself wise to never mistake our taqueria sage for red-nosed American football television commentator Beano Cook. Several factors distinguish the two men - most notable among them, the fact that our Beano has always done his own makeup.

Care to jaw with the man who holds the key to the San Francisco taqueria scene's treasure of knowledge? Well, tough luck for you. Beano's medical staff is discouraging in-person interviews these days, in light of the old man's recent entanglement with the gout. E-jawing, however, is always an option:

Dear Beano: Exciting Scrum action! Personally, I am rooting for Gordo, as they have to be considered the underdog. You've been hard on them in the past, and with good reason. Otherwise, I want to see Taq. El Castillito knock that smug look off of Papalote’s face.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Gordo's in a great position to wrest the Great Mustache away from 2004 winner Papalote. It's an epic competition. 24th Street versus 9th Avenue. And of course, the whole town's a-titter.

Dear Beano: Don't you think it's time to expand the effort to the Peninsula? In Mountain View, there are several taquerias worthy of review.
Dear Apocalypse reader: No, we don't. Why should we?’s extensive directory, which lists 13 slabhouses in Mountain View alone, heads way further afield than our panel of fiercely provincial judges ever bothers to. And have you heard? One of the Burritophile honchos is well on his way to cultivating a career as a TV pundit. No word on whether he does his own makeup.

Dear Beano: Beano, perhaps my best years are gone. But I wouldn’t want them back. Not with the fire in me now.
Dear Apocalypse reader: I see you've just survived a trip to Taq. Guadalajara’s salsa bar.

Dear Beano: What’s all this I'm suddenly hearing about “San Francisco values"? Aside from property, I didn't think San Franciscans had values.
Dear Apocalypse: Just as there are Cincinnati values...just as there are Sebastopol values...just as there are surely Moose Jaw values...there are certainly San Francisco values. My San Francisco values? Maybe a tortilla that sits on the grill for a good 45 seconds, then gets flipped over, then has three or four slices of jack or Oaxaca cheese plopped upon it, then sits on the grill for another good 45 seconds. Perhaps half an avocado, sliced up and dumped atop a pile of Spanish rice, refried beans, jalapeño-flecked pico de gallo - and for the carnivores among us, perhaps some sauced-up-to-high-heaven pastor or a bunch of juicy, fresh-grilled carne asada. San Francisco values are bodacious. San Francisco values don’t spill. San Francisco values are six or maybe seven bucks out the door. So, stick that in your limp, steamed tortilla and chew on it, caballero.

Dear Beano: I see you drop sly baseball references from time to time, and you’ve made your feelings about American football pretty clear in your FAQ. Any thoughts on ice hockey?
Dear Apocalypse reader: Well, Moving Pictures and Permanent Waves still get all the plaudits and the classic rock airplay, but my dark horse has always been Hemispheres. 2112 never thrilled me much. Expecting any snow there in Moose Jaw soon?

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Celebrating Several Years Of Having Fingers Pointed In Our Faces

We figured the time was nigh to send a couple of our interns down to the basement vaults here at Burritoeater Towers, arm them with a case of Fresca for sustenance, and give them an afternoon to dredge up the Apocalypse's greatest hits of historical obstinance. They made it happen.

New material returns next month. Interested in grousing? Contribute, sucker!:

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Gordo, fool. Learn about it.” (Alex H., January 2006)

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"Thanks to the feature on your site in Sunday's Chronicle Magazine, we tried Taq. San Francisco. Best burrito ever, a true find!" (Kim A., April 2006)

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"La Pachanguera* is the truth. I hit them up quite a bit, and the al pastor is my regular. Once they were running low, so they hooked up some half beef / half al pastor steez, and it was on point as...." (Serg O., October 2005)

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“I find your review of La Taqueria to be narrow-minded, inaccurate, obtuse, and - frankly - offensive." (Adam L., December 2005)

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"Will there be a touring version of the Apocalypse for the kids? Arroz y Frijoles on Ice?" (Howard M., February 2005)

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"Went to Can-cún last night. My burrito wasn't working for me, so I yelled at the taquerista and threw it down." (Ryin K., April 2006)

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La Salsa is TERRIBLE, done.” (Susan R., June 2006)

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"La Alteña uses pump cheese?! Dear god! I'm going to go drive around, roll down my window, and just start yelling 'PUMP CHEESE AT LA ALTEÑA!!' at anyone who'll listen." (Emily D., January 2004)

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“I had two carne asada tacos from the Tacos San Buena truck today, and get this...parsley instead of cilantro! I've been there enough to know it was a mistake, but how could it happen? I’m still trying to get the taste out of my mouth.” (Colby M., September 2005)

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"Why can't I leave comments on your taco site?" (Nick T., October 2005)

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“I used to get in arguments when I worked at Wired/Lycos because people would talk about how much they loved Victor’s. I almost got violent.” (Tim M., July 2005)

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“I went to Harry's Burritos for lunch because when I Googled “New York burritos,” the place got rave reviews. I wouldn't feed this to a dog." (Jesse T., November 2005)

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"Come to the Windy City. The burritos here are deep-fried and filled with sausage, Italian beef, spicy wings, and beer, and come with a side of cheese fries. The survival rate is about 60/40 in your favor, but you only live once anyway." (Tim M., January 2004)

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"An 8.25 rating for La Salsa's Financial District location? I still can't get my head around it. I'm giving your site a burrito knowledge rating of 1.22 - barely a flavor-saver on your mustache rating system." (Brett M., July 2006)

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"I'm not going to Luna Azul." (Ross M., December 2003)

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"Taq. San Jose at Francisco and Mason wails on El Gran Sodium Taco Barfhouse like nobody's business." (Tyler R., May 2006)

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"In lard we trust." (Sonja J., February 2004)

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"Very funny. Not burritos, however. Those are rarely funny. It’s like laughing at the night. Can you laugh at such limitless possibilities? If I opened your eyes to the cosmos, or showed you the inner workings of the honeycomb, would you laugh? Of course not. You would cry. Such is the way of the great mysteries in life. Who are we? Where are we going? What kinda beans do you want?" (Jon P., November 2005)

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* Since closed.

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Book 'Em, Slabbo

Turns out October 2006 was perhaps the most brutal month on record for crimes featuring our storied, foiled subject as an unwitting accessory. The month's news headlines speak for themselves:

Santa Fe, N.M.: Woman Accused of Smuggling Drugs in Burrito

New Haven, Conn.: Bicyclist Robs Burrito Vendor at Gunpoint

Palm Springs, Calif.: Burrito Helps Police Nab Hit-and-Run Suspect

Dumb-Ass, Wisc.: Rogue Burrito Mashes Crispy Taco in To-Go Bag

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A promotional fee has been paid to this edition of the Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly by the Moose Jaw Board of Tourism. Accommodations for this month's Apocalypse provided by the Old Saskatchewanian Hotel and Saskatchewanese Saloon.

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Yours, in delicious horchata,