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Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, November 2007back to archive

Bite. Chew. Mull. capsulizes each October taqueria visit so succinctly, by the end you won't even realize you've just read over 500 words about a bunch of burritos.

Certain Dear Beano readers seem to have forgotten that our site traffics in San Francisco taquerias. Not upstate New York taquerias. Not San Diego taquerias. Not Midwestern fast food restaurants. Come on, people. We're bad, but we're not nationwide.

Things heat up in Obstinate Reader Commentary! Then they cool down.

And there's a bit of buried treasure down in this month's (epilogue).

Club Slab is open. Pull up a food.

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Burrito Bonanza! A Bonanza of Burritos!

On the heels of a seriously lackluster September, our hard-charging / hard-chewing judges panel desperately needed some solid slabwork thrown its way. Enter September's annual successor, October, a month known for changing weather, New York Yankees failures, and generally fun times at the taqueria, not to mention sentences with far too many commas, like this one.

Five of the month's ten burritos came up golden, with La Salsa's Battery St. shop garnering Slab of the Month honors for its 8.83-mustache sledgehammer. (The unlikely Financial District success story is now up to No. 5 on our Mustache Chart. See the November Blargh for further details.) Other impressive works in October came courtesy of Taq. Zorro, Chavo's, O.G. slabbery El Faro on Folsom, and Lower Haight newcomer The Little Chihuahua. Elsewhere, Tlaloc Sabor Mexicano's highest rated effort to date was still less mustachioed than Church's Taq. El Castillito's lowest ever, while Rolling Taco's debut just plain lagged.

TAQ. GIRASOL (Park Merced), 10/1/07, La Paz (Pollo en Salsa Roja): 7.00 mustaches
Our third on-record visit to the big concrete beam that doubles as SFSU’s indoor food court cornered the seven-mustache mediocrity market like an old pro.

ROLLING TACO (South of Market), 10/3/07, Super Carnitas: 6.92 mustaches
The classic twin shortcomings of a poor wrap – tortilla sog, tortilla droop – reared up. None too stoked were we.

TLALOC SABOR MEXICANO (Financial District), 10/5/07, Pollo Adobado: 7.83 mustaches
With this intangibly delicious effort hitting on several cylinders before succumbing to a blown, unmelted head cheese gasket prior to crossing the finish line, San Francisco's only taqueria with an elevator earned much respect from our previously unimpressed panel.

TAQ. EL PELON (South of Market), 10/8/07, Super Pollo Asado: 7.42 mustaches
Would you like a linguica sausage with that pollo asado burrito? Consider visiting El Pelon.

LA SALSA (Financial District), 10/10/07, Three Pepper Fajita (Chicken): 8.83 mustaches
La Salsa nearly pulled off the unthinkable: a nine-mustache burrito in the Financial District. Riots surely would have followed.

CHAVO'S (South of Market), 10/12/07, Super Pollo en Salsa Roja: 8.50 mustaches
Hats off to an ingredient mix that brought everything together seamlessly, without turning our lunch into a Mexican-American mish-mash’d take on KFC’s Famous Bowl.

TAQ. EL CASTILLITO (Castro), 10/17/07, Super Carnitas: 7.92 mustaches
The Little Castle’s usually reliable intangibility went on mysterious leave, and, well, here we are, 7.92 mustaches later.

TAQ. ZORRO (North Beach), 10/20/07, Breakfast (al Pastor): 8.55 mustaches
The grease-free pork/egg scramble hit on all the right points, while our overall burrito eating experience was enhanced by a smart level of sauciness. Zorro’s AM burrito handled its business with grace and flair.

THE LITTLE CHIHUAHUA (Lower Haight), 10/24/07, Super Pollo Asado: 8.17 mustaches
Spice was wicked fierce, all bites boasted a hot temperature, and most impressively, Mister Slabmakin’ Fella back of El Pequeño Dog's counter kicked down one hell of an ingredient mix.

EL FARO (Mission), 10/27/07, Super Breakfast (Bacon/Chorizo/Ham): 8.33 mustaches
Had we not requested that small pile of (raw) chopped white onion and pinch of cilantro, we’d have been looking at zero mustaches in the vegetables column of this burrito’s scoresheet, and we wouldn’t have been nearly so excited about our foiled brunch.

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Disgruntling the Heretofore Gruntled

Remember back when our taqueria sage used to get letters about San Francisco taquerias? That was great.


Dear Beano: I’m from upstate New York, and in the four years I've been in San Francisco, I haven’t found any place as good as Bros Tacos back in Albany.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Hey, wait a second there, Brosemite Sam. I'm supposed to deliver the punch lines around here.

Dear Beano: Any thoughts on that new Country Breakfast Burrito Hardee's just rolled out? Such a gut-bomb could only come from America's Flatland.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Of course, I'm intrigued by this development, although it's no secret that fast food franchise burritos usually land squarely in six-mustache territory, at best. But considering the nearest Hardee's to San Francisco is up in Montana, it doesn't look like my cardiologist will have to get up in my burrito grill anytime soon about the dangers of ingesting 920 salty calories by 8:00 A.M. every morning.

Dear Beano: I’m a San Francisco ex-pat now living in New York. I've realized I'm not going to find a true replica taste here, so instead I've decided I should try finding the best ingredients out west, pay to have them shipped to me, and make my own burritos as authentically instructed as I can from some burrito guru, should one exist. Any hints?
Dear Apocalypse reader: That seems awfully involved. And aren't avocados kind of expensive at this point? Why not just contact our Albany-homesick brozo from a couple questions ago? Perhaps he can hook you up with some broficient burrito action back in the Empire State.

Dear Beano: Simpler times: My dad once took my mom out on a (very cheap) date to Indianapolis' first Taco Bell. Keep in mind that it was the late '60s, and Middle America's exposure to other cultures was so limited that my mother called it "Tay-co" Bell. Can you imagine having no exposure to the word "taco" until your 20s?
Dear Apocalypse reader: Can you imagine living in a world where something called Bros Tacos is your principal point of reference for burritos?

Dear Beano: Hi, I moved up here to San Francisco from San Diego a few years ago. The burritos there are far superior. For one, they don't put rice or beans in their carne asada burritos. It's just guacamole and salsa or pico de gallo. It's delicious that way. And you get way more meat. They also have the "California Burrito" - these are delicious. They mix sour cream, a little bit of cheese, and fries with carne asada. If I want one of these, I generally make it myself by getting a $1 bag of fries from Burger King and combining it with a burrito from a taqueria with merely meat, cheese, and sour cream. It's pretty good, but not the same. I really hate the burritos up here. I do. So much. Can you recommend any taquerias that have any burritos like I mention?
Dear Apocalypse reader: Sure, but they're all 500 miles down the Pacific coast from your current home. Now, I'm just thinking aloud here, but I wonder how a burrito shop named Taq. San Diego would fare in San Francisco? If Giordano Bros. can do a solid business in North Beach with those Pittsburgh-style, fries-inclusive sandwiches, why not a new taqueria that serves fries-inclusive burritos sans all the usual super burrito embellishment? You could decorate the walls with signed photos from Jameson Parker, Tony Gwynn, Pete Wilson, Three Mile Pilot, even the San Diego Chicken. Here's your challenge: Get your MBA pals on the horn on the double and cobble together a business plan, then find a vacant shopfront here in San Francisco and live the California Burrito Dream. I'll be there on opening day, scorecard in hand, looking menacing and mustachioed and, as usual, stinking of Old Spice.

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It's Your Platform, Dive In! Just Be Sure To Tie Your Swimsuit's Drawstring First

Each month around this point in the Apocalypse, our editorial board takes a powder and briefly hands the baton of opinion off to Dick and Jane Q. Reader. Hijinks invariably ensue.

Naturally, there are subjective parameters to keep in mind. A very partial list of items we care not to hear readers' convictions about includes:

- The outcome of the Crimean War
- Habits your pet has that you deem "cute"
- Albacore
- That last Tom Cruise movie
- Sports (up to and including the festival of idiocy that is "competitive eating")
- What drives the world's finest cross-stitchers to be the best
- The weather, anywhere

However, if you feel like spouting off about San Francisco taquerias, kindly have at it:

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

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"I tried that plantains burrito at Cuco's, but didn't care for it too much. It sounded great, but the plantains were sweet, so it didn't mix well."

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"Just fyi: That 'Tacos on Wheels' truck down by Townsend/Division completely sucks ass."
(Rolling Taco? Yeah, we know. -Ed.)

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"I tried La Castro on your suggestion, and found it to my liking. But I think Taq. Maná has tastier pastor. You be the judge. And I totally agree with your view on El Castillito on Golden Gate - truly a favorite. Also a fan of Chavo's, but I only get the chile verde, which you awarded 8.33 mustaches."

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Now for this month's hidden bonus track.

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Yours, in delicious horchata,