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Placita, La PortolaOMR: 7.25
2531 San Bruno
cross street: Felton
ph. 415/468-4293
Map Visits: 4
The taqueria responsible for the greatest abomination on Burritoeater record (see 8/26/03, below) has, in the years since, cleaned up its act to become just another vaguely respectable burrito shop in town. A key element of La Placita’s one-way trip to critical credibility has been the fact that its kitchen managed to track down its previously misplaced copy of The Slab Rules, the standard-issue biblical pamphlet that advocates for, among other best practices, a full-tilt avoidance of microwave usage in the taqueria kitchen. (Our first pair of visits here were marred by nuked burritos. UNACCEPTABLE.) Of course, there was really nowhere to go here but up. Bottled beer available. Cash only. Closed evenings and Sundays.

Will My Health Be Violated?

07/17/10Super Carnitas$5.957.25 Mustaches
Swish: ingredient mix (9); size (8); vegetables (8); temperature (8)
Shrug: tortilla (7); rice (7); beans (7); cheese (7); burstage abatement (7); meat (6); sauciness (6); spiciness (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

Leakier than a liferaft full of clumsily knitting porcupines, but with much more melted cheddar involved, La Placita’s latest effort at distancing itself from its infamous two-mustache burrito seven years prior turned out limp-wristed in the end, although at least its ingredient mix was on smash throughout. Shame about the sogginess at both ends, as the grilled tortilla deserved better. Intangibility suffered a one-mustache hit, mainly because something — we couldn’t figure out quite what — tasted off. Carnitas report: a little on the soft side, but good enough overall to warrant our most shrug-inducing rating. Spiciness remained mostly peripheral with occasional belligerence, and other than the minor splat of guacamole, vegetable elements were surprisingly sharp.

11/24/07Super Chicken$5.957.67 Mustaches
Swish: spiciness (10); size (9); burstage abatement (9); beans (8); sauciness (8); temperature (8)
Shrug: meat (7); rice (7); vegetables (7); tortilla (6); cheese (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

At this rate of improvement, the sky’s the limit: La Placita could someday win a Burritoeater Slab Scrum. You never know. This girthsome effort certainly displayed a number of winning qualities, from its positively infernal spice to its high-performance refried beans and salsa verde. Our panel members’ lips emerged somewhat worse for wear after happily enduring this multipeppered pounding; if only La Placita took cheese implementation as seriously. Twin slices of cheddar appeared to be about two-thirds melted...but hey, at least we weren’t forced to deal with American cheese here this time around. Elsewhere within the awfully gummy tortilla – another disappointment reminding us that, however much it improves, La Placita is no Taq. San Francisco just yet – the shredded chicken didn’t do much harm, while liberal doses of guacamole and cilantro upped the green quotient significantly. Too bad minor temperature improprieties and major ingredient segregation existed throughout the 19-bite existence of this sizable lunch – so chubby, even Martha Raye would have had a tough time getting her yap around it.

12/17/05Super Chile Verde Pork$5.507.25 Mustaches
We’ll state the salient point up front: This burrito did not suck. Even if it didn’t light our taste buds’ loins on fire, it was clearly light-years ahead of the low-grade dog food we’d barely tolerated here two-plus years prior. No individual element rated below six mustaches, and even if only one – temperature - hit the nine-‘stache plateau, La Placita acquitted itself well enough this time around to warrant a cease-and-desist on lamest-taqueria-in-San-Francisco digs lobbed its way. It was sized to please, righteously warm throughout, respectably built, and spiced to mid-high heaven, so it definitely had a number of aspects working in its favor. On the flip side, an under-represented helping of refried pintos, some persistent, dripping juiciness, and the unwanted, unwarranted presence of lettuce (boo) sacked any chance the La Placita slab had at miraculous glory. All other elements – adequate chunks of pork, well-melted (but wholly inappropriate) American cheese, a peacefully adequate ingredient mix, and a nothing-special tortilla – set up camp squarely in the middle of the mustachioed road. The post-construction trip to the microwave, however, is never a good look. Don’t do that. Just stop.
08/26/03Super Carne Asada$4.602.00 Mustaches
This flat, narrow lump of food effortlessly replicated that distinctly fresh-from-the-microwave taste you thought only came from the frozen food aisle. Most tragically, however, were the unmelted slices of Borden cheese-food that helped cough up what was without doubt San Francisco's most undesirable super carne asada burrito. (They didn’t even have the good sense to use jack; it was American). You may be better off checking dumpsters behind Jack In The Box. Token positive comment: Their green sauce packed a real wallop.