the Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly Apparel Bazaar

Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, May 2009back to archive
Pick up a copy of Lonely Planet's freshly published California Trips, wherein we don our bright purple Contributing Expert clown outfit and parade through our favorite San Francisco taquerias with hungry author Nate Cavalieri for his excellent piece, "A Burrito Odyssey." Belt-busting breakfast burritos from El Castillito are ingested, heads are scratched while analyzing faux-cubist depictions of pork rotisseries at El Farolito, and Latino power ballads are grimaced at all over town.

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April's eight taqueria visits get the run-down in Bite. Chew. Mull.

The hapless. The halt. The hunky. Dear Beano takes them all on.

We got some real obstinance on our hands this month in Obstinate Reader Commentary.

(epilogue)'s always there for you. Are you always there for (epilogue)?

Kindly pull up a food.

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Introducing the Phrase: "Thunderslab"

April picked up on late March's mustachioed success and ran — nay, sprinted — with it. What resulted was, other than a minor hiccup at Pancho's on Polk, a real strong month of burrito-eating, with the top highlight a champion-level effort from new entrant Goza-Goza Taco. Other thunderslabs on the April docket sprung forth from the kitchens of El Azteca, La Mexicana, Los Compadres, and La Fonda; La Mexicana in particular proved that it's poised to help lead an overdue ground beef burrito revolution in this town. You've been warned.

LA CORNETA TAQ. (Glen Park), 4/2/2009, Super Pollo: 8.00 mustaches
Tiny chunks of melon in the pico de gallo provided the answer to our favorite taqueria-parlor game, What’s That There in the Pico de Gallo, Anyway? Review also includes lamely jumbled transit metaphors, as well as a quick trip to the Bahamas.

EL AZTECA TAQ. (Bayview), 4/4/2009, Especial al Pastor: 8.25 mustaches
Scallions! Also, top-shelf pork.

PANCHO'S (Russian Hill), 4/7/2009, Fajita Grilled Chicken: 7.25 mustaches
Despite a host of ups and downs, and an ultimately iffy rating, intangible cred somehow barreled through the roof.

GOZA-GOZA TACO (South of Market), 4/14/2009, Super Grilled Chicken: 8.58 mustaches
This burrito fully understood that ten-mustache spice doesn’t simply melt one’s face off, but instead gracefully complements every other flavor on hand with appropriately burly heat intensity. Slab of the Month, April 2009.

LA MEXICANA (Civic Center / Tenderloin), 4/20/2009, Super Ground Beef: 8.25 mustaches
Get over the inevitable Del Taco association — it’s high time “ground beef” becomes a valued phrase in San Francisco’s burrito lexicon.

LA FONDA (Inner Sunset), 4/25/2009, Super al Pastor: 8.33 mustaches
You could say we’re fonda La Fonda. (Terrible. Just awful. –Ed.)

LOS COMPADRES (Civic Center / Tenderloin), 4/27/2009, Super Pollo Asado: 8.17 mustaches
Despite under-represented refried beans and tasty brown rice that nonetheless approached the mushiness of most Journey ballads, there was no denying the juicy and extra-flavorful cuts of chicken that anchored this lunch.

LA CANASTA (Cow Hollow), 4/29/2009, Grande Steak Fajitas: 7.92 mustaches
After all these years, we finally found an opportunity to end a review with, "'ve left your pants in San Francisco."

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Introducing the Phrase: "Hunky Manservant"

Given a few of the old bean's wordy retorts this time through, we'll pass on the usual introduction. Wouldn't want to lose our audience this early.

Our taqueria sage impatiently awaits your queries at

Dear Beano: Hey, how come you only check out all these cheapo joints? Maybe some of the sit-down places don't have the "street cred" you seem to place such a premium on, but you come off as a reverse snob by not going to places like Chevy's — which I'm proud to say I like!
Dear Apocalypse reader: Very good. It's important to maintain pride. On a similar note, is proud to champion the best of the littler guys on the San Francisco Mexican-American food scene. As to why we don't cover any local sit-down restaurants, it's not so much about street cred as it is a matter of resources. Did you know there are 170 or so informal burrito shops in this town? Do you know our panel can only visit one of these places at a time? Do you know we never judge taquerias on consecutive days? For more on this rigorous, burnout-preventing policy, check our FAQ — hopefully that'll make everything lucid. If confusion persists, it's likely a literacy issue.

Dear Beano: I met someone in a bar in South Bend, Indiana, the other day, and he was wearing a "Burritoeater" T-shirt. I have a friend who would really love one.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Now, what were you doing in a bar in South Bend, Indiana? Well, it's probably none of my business. Anyway, visit our Apparel Bazaar and go nuts. (Sorry, no Notre Dame colors available. But those chocolate brown shirts sure were huge sellers last holiday season.) And when you're done there, take your credit cards over to our Merch Bazaar and load up on teddy bears, license plate frames, steins, and a slew of other silly Great Mustache-decorated items. Give my best to Touchdown Jesus.

Dear Beano: I am moving my dumb ass to Texas. Do you plan to open an Austin branch of, and if so, do you need a hunky manservant?
Dear Apocalypse reader: No! And don't forget your .38 Special records on the way out.

Dear Beano: Do you ever spend time in the Truckee/Tahoe area? I am consistently blown away by how terrible the burrito/taqueria scene is here relative to the Bay Area. We have a huge Hispanic population, a huge population of Bay Area folks (both visitors and transplants who “know what to expect”), and demand from the type of people who want a huge/yummy burrito (ie. skiers/boarders, backpackers, cyclists, climbers, general mountain-activity calorie-burners, etc.).
Dear Apocalypse reader: Yeah, what's with that? I was just up there and was yet again appalled. Of course, I got sucked into a total brodown-throwdown hoohaw happening at Cabo Wabo Cantina there at Harvey's South Shore, so should I have expected anything better from my simple $7.95 enchilada plate? Probably not. The beans seemed to date from around 1973, and I'm pretty sure the rice contained balsawood. And there was a tequila worm in my Arnold Palmer. As usual, I blame that mook Hammy Sagar. He can't drive 55, and he can't cook to save his life, either.

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Introducing the Phrase: "Complimentary Flan"

Impress your mates down at the firearms range or the other ladies in your Thursday night quilting club by contributing to our monthly forum.

This month only: Send your commentary on San Francisco's sprawling taqueria scene to and win a coupon good for a complimentary flan at Los Wankeros out on County Road 38, just past Uncle Hooch's Roadhouse and the landfill.

(Comments may be edited for spelling, clarity, and/or brevity at our editorial staff's discretion. In fact, count on it.)

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"Had the worst burrito EVER at Casa Sanchez on Easter Sunday because my old faithful, Taq. San Francisco, was closed. Damn thing was more like a bland soup than a burrito. Soggy celery? What's that all about? I'm glad to see you rate them pretty low. That burrito made me want to shave my mustache off. I pity the fool who got inked with their logo for free lunches."

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"Possible nine-plus-mustache encounter at Papalote in the Mission! Emboldened to venture there by your glowing reviews, the spouse and I had two of the better burritos this panel has seen in years. Even the Russian judge was impressed, and she had a vegetarian burrito with tofu, which was amazingly spicy with achiote-infused goodness. My super pollo slab had an intangibility factor that was off the charts. The flaky, grilled tortilla encased an amazing ingredient mix, and the grilled chicken blew away other local poultry by many mustaches. We can honestly say we didn't want the slabs to end, yet they were done too fast, sadly. We will definitely revisit this sassy little place. Was that pumpkin in the salsa?"

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"I picked up slabs from Chino's Taq. in the Outer Richmond the other night. We'd just returned from a Mexican vacation that we'd survived without getting sick. Unfortunately, half a black bean veggie burrito was enough for us to swear off Chino's for good. I believe you'd warned me to that several times in the past."

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Please forward freely, yet responsibly.

Newsletter subscription addition/removal requests, questions, comments, and/or anecdotes always welcome:

Kindly direct news of taqueria openings, closures, or name-changes here:

Happy 75th birthday, Eleanor.

Now for this month's hidden bonus track.

The Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly,, and The Great Mustache logo are brought to you by The Exploding Head Trick Publishing Co.

Yours, in delicious horchata,