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Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, May 2005back to archive

The site? It’s on the way, we assure you. We’re still working toward its launch later this month.

Have you seen that mustache? It’s really something.

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Bite. Chew. Mull. rehashes the most notable of Burritoeater’s April taqueria visits.

Dear Beano finds our resident sage pawing through the e-mailbag and digging out a few inquiries amidst all the lint.

What occurs when a kid hauls a 30-inch burrito down to his New Mexico junior high school? Total mayhem, for starters. See Slabs in the News for details.

This Month in Burrito History revisits an old tale about a burrito that stretched on for two-thirds of a mile.

And all the usual muckrake you’ve come to expect from our (epilogue).

Step on in.

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April’s Burritos: A Retrospective

Trips to a pair of Tonayense trucks came up aces. A colossal 26-biter ratcheted up a bit of surprising respect at the Wharf. We finally stumbled upon El Castillito and El Balazo locations where the burritos don’t completely rule, as well as what we think is the least appealing truck burrito in town at El Norteño. We didn’t get a ham sandwich at El Faro, although their menu certainly allowed us the option. And while the Western Addition’s El Burrito Express proved itself a mere pretender to the civic slab-throne, Taq. San Francisco again demonstrated its hammer-wielding superiority with grace and fury. That’s right, grace and fury.

TACOS EL TONAYENSE (Mission) , 4/2/05, Super Carne Asada: 8.67 mustaches
We’ve been getting super carne asada burritos from this truck at Harrison and 22nd St. for so long, we could identify their distinctive deliciousness blindfolded by now. But despite this burrito’s familiarity, it wasn’t quite long enough, and it definitely wasn’t girthy enough. Little matter, however, as nearly everything else rated eight, nine, or the hallowed 10 mustaches. Some slightly funny looking, but tasty steak keyed this burrito’s winning ensemble, with near-perfect sauciness and spiciness, subtle and melted cheese, and other sharp details such as red pepper flecks all contributing to the stellar ingredient mix. Yup.

LA SALSA (Fisherman’s Wharf) , 4/4/05, El Champion Chicken: 7.92 mustaches
Although championship-caliber elements such as jalapeño-intensive spiciness, foolproof construction technique, delectably grilled and lime-hinted chicken, and daunting length make La Salsa’s El Champion an immovable force on the local burrito scene, we found enough wrong with it to still harmlessly shrug our shoulders with a straight face. Most notably, the double wrap was a bit of a bust given the semi-rigor mortis texture of each tortilla, and the low-profile cheese should have made a bigger impact; less serious issues included a minor overabundance of rice and a consistently inconsistent ingredient mix. It’s safe to say this is San Francisco’s only taqueria only reachable on foot via a wooden plank walkway, but when the venue is Pier 39, all bets are off.

TAQ. EL CASTILLITO (Castro) , 4/8/05, Super Pollo en Molé: 7.75 mustaches
The initial thrill of having a burrito this girthsome plonked down on our dinner plate was almost too much to gauge. But although 7.75 mustaches is usually a respectable achievement for a burrito, at El Castillito it prompted us to wonder how the hell they could hire the dude responsible for this slab’s extra-disappointing ingredient mix. Fortunately, this one was saved by some delicious molé sauce that saturated every corner of the first-rate, grilled tortilla, while tender, shredded chicken and an excellent veggie medley also hit the target. Shockingly, the cheese wasn’t fully melted, a sad development which went against every other El Castillito burrito in history.

TAQ. SAN FRANCISCO (Mission) , 4/10/05, Super Carnitas: 9.00 mustaches
This place should be designated a local holy site. Our first recorded foray into Taq. San Francisco’s selection of non-carne asada meats proved as monumentally successful as most every steak burrito we’ve ever enjoyed at the corner of 24th St. and York, for we learned there is zero worry in ordering their well-spiced (if slightly fatty) fried pork. The only remote complaint here was with the inconsistent ingredient mix, which settled itself by the final third of this burrito’s existence. A cavalcade of 10-mustache ratings – for cheese, vegetables, temperature, and burstage abatement – provided the thunder, while a near-perfectly grilled tortilla, solid rice and refried beans, and backpat-worthy sauce and spice content drove the delicious point home kindly, yet forcefully. Hot burrito #1, indeed.

TAQ. EL BALAZO (Downtown / South of Market) , 4/12/05, Super Pollo en Molé: 7.67 mustaches
The letdown here arrived in the form of un-melted cheese, increasingly saggy temperatures, and an ingredient mix that was met with mild sneers and polite grimaces all around. The Balazos generally adhere to the long ’n’ slender school of burrito design, but this Super Pollo en Molé was more long ’n’ squatty than anything else, with a loose wrap-job that promoted some unbecoming floppiness. The molé sauce itself was nice and thick, and the chicken it housed was tasty and tender, but a series of lukewarm bites drove this burrito’s rating due south. On another note, this was the first time in memory we even considered offering a perfect rating for rice…it was that excellent.

LA PARRILLA GRILL (North Beach) , 4/14/05, Pollo: 8.25 mustaches
A slightly upmarket venture by the El Pollo Supremo folks who brought us the unforgettably creatine-enhanced chicken on that restaurant chain’s logo, La Parrilla unsurprisingly features a menu built around their vaunted moneymaker, chicken. Their pollo burrito didn’t do much wrong, yet it left virtually no impression after the last bite. Granted, it could have been a bit longer and heftier, it certainly could have used a lot less Spanish rice, and their ballyhooed marinated chicken should have made more of a mark. But the tortilla was wonderfully grilled, the cheese was spot-on melted all over the place, it was saucy in all the right spots, the ingredient mix was just about perfect, and its construction was perfect. A fine, yet strangely underwhelming burrito.

EL FARO (Downtown / Financial District) , 4/27/05, Super Chile Verde Pork: 7.83 mustaches
Here at the newest El Faro in town, we went out on a limb and requested a double-tortilla wrap, a decision that resulted in hulking burrito dimensions every which way. It also resulted in much chewing. But in the El Faro tradition, a certain amount of slurping was necessary to circumnavigate the inevitable mushiness that occurs when a massive slab like this doesn’t receive the tight wrap it needs. Sadly, the unspectacular pork was pieced exclusively in plus-sizes, while the refried beans, cheese, and creamy guacamole together all danced the Mushy Shuffle. But nice touches such as plentiful jalapeño slices and other nice veggie additives helped this big fella repel the taunts of mediocrity and maintain its composure. They also make ham sandwiches.

EL BURRITO EXPRESS (Western Addition) , 4/29/05, Super Chile Colorado Beef: 8.00 mustaches
A quick return trip to The Burrito Express was in order, given the strong whiffs of overachievement that permeated our visit several weeks earlier. The only change we made to our order was the slab’s focal point – we got chile colorado beef this time rather than chile verde pork, and a slight upturn in meat quality was noted. But more than anywhere else, this burrito’s overall rating took it in the shorts in the vegetable and spiciness categories. On the plus side of the ledger, ten-mustache ratings were pulled down for the burrito’s delectable sauciness and cavalcade of all-hot bites, while the awesome grilled tortilla, piecey and tender beef, abundance of melted cheese, and solid construction were all rated to the nines. So we still heartily recommend this location, although it’s not the world-beater it purported itself to be on our first visit.


BUR-EAT-OS (Financial District) , 4/6/05, Breakfast (Bacon): 7.92 mustaches
EL NORTEÑO (South of Market) , 4/16/05, Super al Pastor: 7.00 mustaches
SI SEÑOR (Downtown) , 4/19/05, Super Carnitas: 7.50 mustaches
JASMIN’S CAFÉ (Nob Hill / Union Square) , 4/21/05, Breakfast (Ham): 7.73 mustaches
TACOS EL TONAYENSE (Mission [Shotwell/16th St.] ), 4/23/05, Super Carnitas: 8.33 mustaches
TAQ. VALLARTA (Mission) , 4/25/05, Super Pastor: 8.04 mustaches

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All Gangly Limbs and Exaggerated Gestures

Fire at will with your questions, comments, and stories to share:

But if it’s guff you offer, kindly go suck on a wrap.

Dear Beano: The site’s logo rules.
Dear reader: Thanks. It took a long time to peel it off Yosemite Sam’s face, but we got it. He looked irritated afterward, not to mention really different.

Dear Beano: Still entertaining after all these year(s). Now get your ass down to San Diego and take a look at some SoCal-style taq. shops. I'll buy you a churro.
Dear reader: I’d be delighted.
You know, I was standing in line at a Pacific Beach taco stand in San Diego about ten years ago when I recognized the guy behind me. I turned and said to him, You’re Jameson Parker. He smiled and said, Yeah, I am. Then there was this awkward silence, like he expected me to ask for his autograph or something. Those taquitos there were really good. I dropped one in the sand, though.

Dear Beano: Taco Bell Corp., a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., (NYSE: YUM), is the nation’s leading Mexican-style quick service restaurant chain serving tacos, burritos, signature Quesadillas, Border Bowls®, nachos and other specialty items. Taco Bell serves more than 35 million consumers each week in more than 6,500 restaurants in the U.S. In 2003, Taco Bell generated sales of $1.6 billion in company restaurants and $3.8 billion in franchise restaurants. Over 80 percent of the restaurants are owned and operated by independent franchisees. At this time, there are over 280 restaurants operating in Canada, Guam, Aruba, Dominican Republic, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Hawaii, Asia and Europe.
Dear reader: You can get a Meximelt in Aruba?

Dear Beano: Your run-in with the breakfast burrito with bacon at Fisherman's Wharf has me thinking you'd be a shoe-in for a Tums sponsorship.
Dear reader: Dum-da-dum-dum. Dum-da-dum-dum. DUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.

Dear Beano: I demand that the burrito spot inside SFSU's student center be reviewed...they’ve raised my spirits through many an overcast day. I consider them rivals to Can-cún in terms of consistent delicious success. Get the La Paz burrito there.
Dear reader: Taq. Girasol at San Francisco St.? I liked what I had there in 2003; I’ll try to get out that way again later this year. But equating their fine work to one of those grease-slabs from any given Can-cún location in town? Come ahhhn. That’s like comparing Curtis Mayfield to Engelbert Humperdinck. You get the picture.

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The Boy With the Burrito in His Side

Thanks go out this month to the numerous Apocalypse readers who clued us in to the patently bizarre story of Michael Morrissey, a New Mexico teen who sought some sort of vague “extra credit” with a 30-inch burrito and instead instigated a code blue lockdown on his school’s campus.

No joke.

No joke again, complete with photo of burrito weaponry.

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Also Reported in May 1997: Sunshine, Wind, Scattered Showers

Eight years ago this month, a bunch of people declared war on complacency, gathered in a park, and built the longest burrito on record. We all learned something that day.

The story’s here.

In other news, the world’s largest hockey stick can be found in Eveleth, Minnesota.

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Kindly direct news of taqueria openings and closures - or word on any class-action lawsuits against establishments that serve only “burrito bowls" - here:

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Yours, in delicious horchata,