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Gallo Giro, Taq. El MissionOMR: 7.80
cross street: 23rd St.
ph. none
Map Visits: 5
Once one of the more promising young burrito purveyors in the Mission, Taq. El Gallo Giro faded for several years before making a fruitful return to eight-mustache form in 2011. The parkside slabwheeler is generally a take-out joint, but the friendly folks inside the truck have been known to set up a dining table or two on the Treat sidewalk on sunny afternoons. Not in the mood for Mexican food? Show up on a day when Maruchan Instant Lunches are on hand, and you're in salty business. Absent evenings and Sundays. Cash only.

Will My Health Be Violated?

07/29/11Super Carnitas$6.008.08 Mustaches
Swish: tortilla (10); burstage abatement (10); size (9); meat (9); vegetables (9); temperature (9); spiciness (8)
Shrug: rice (7); beans (7); cheese (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: sauciness (5)
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Starring a heaping helping of brilliantly crispy carnitas, one hell of a grilled tortilla, and mighty lengthy length, our foiled lunch from this stalwart Mission burrito truck had enough going for it to crawl up and over our true-quality eight-mustache waterline. Indeed, its fried pork would have gone for a perfect ten mustaches had each single bite not contained three bites’ worth of meat. (Note to El Gallo Giro’s kitchen: Sharpen your cutlery.) Flawlessly tight construction and major avocado involvement also brought forth cheers from our crusty panel. A few elements acted as unwanted anvils to this burrito’s hot-air balloon aspirations, though, and we’re not necessarily referring to the ordinary-as-ordinary gets rice and beans combo. Sauciness operated at a blah minimum throughout the first 80-90% of the burrito, with the small pocket of delicious salsa verde that belatedly arrived down around the hind end hinting at what could have been; elsewhere, those vaguely melted grates of cheddar were also a drag. But this burrito’s intangible charms were strong top to bottom, and its carnitas really did a number on our taste buds in all the right ways.

09/02/08Super al Pastor$6.007.25 Mustaches
Swish: temperature (10); cheese (9); size (8); tortilla (8); spiciness (8)
Shrug: meat (7); rice (7); beans (6); vegetables (6); sauciness (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: burstage abatement (5)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

Hotter than the Hindenburg, yet boasting more hind end grease than an aging Retriever who sleeps on the floor of a Volkswagen repair shop every night, our lunch at El Gallo Giro started off well before degenerating into a misconstructed mess. The meat was essentially ground pork, and though it wasn’t short on flavor, it was short on mass – next time you need a chorizo stunt-double for your low budget film, head to El Gallo Giro. We adored the grilled-to-flaky tortilla before it turned into a grease sponge in the latter stages, while the ingredient mix got rice-heavy and veggie-deficient more often than it should have; refried beans suffered a fate similar to the veggies. Most shocking was the moment we spotted the wide-open tortilla in one corner of the low end, at which point full burstage became an inevitability. Kudos to the gutsy spice and generous amount of melted cheddar, though.

09/30/06Super Pollo$5.006.92 Mustaches
Swish: temperature (10); burstage abatement (9); tortilla (8); cheese (8); sauciness (8)
Shrug: size (7); beans (7); rice (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: vegetables (5); meat (4); spiciness (4)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

Surprisingly sub-mediocre burritowork from this previously reliable Mission slabwagon. Things started off well enough, with early bites into the lightly grilled tortilla introducing prominent jalapeño, well-melted cheese, and a seemingly solid rice/refrieds foundation. Flavorful chicken was sure to follow, no? That’s what we expected. Instead, by the end we were left with memories of utterly punchless pollo (and not much of it, at that), cheddar we wished had been jack all along, a disappointing dearth of veggies, and really not much spice to speak of at all. The ingredient mix mockingly showcased its all-rice side, and the complete absence of anything having to do with an avocado sure didn’t help matters. Most alarmingly, a number of mid/late bites were unwittingly conscripted into the army of blah. Three clang ratings? Hrumph.

03/11/06Super Carne Asada$5.008.42 Mustaches
This rollicking swashbuckler of a slab did it the hard way - without any pico de gallo, avocado, or guacamole in its lineup. The sole vegetables on hand? Jalapeños (added upon request), a few thin carrot slices (ditto), and a fair amount of micro-diced – and therefore, barely detectable - onion. So even though we had to penalize the El Gallo Giro kitchen-on-wheels one mustache in the intangibility column for their outright snubbing of the usual garden ingredients, we also had to admit that, otherwise, this was a pretty bad-ass lunch. It looked and felt like any super burrito should – lengthy, well-heated, and wisely assembled – and its savvy ingredient mix was particularly impressive. (Perhaps because there were less ingredients to mix? We’re just saying.) Joining temperature on the ten-mustache glory train was a teeth-boggling amount of melted jack and cheddar – a dream come true, to be sure. And the beans! Pasty, mighty tasty, and penetrating most every corner of the grilled tortilla, they made no enemies on our judges panel. Sauciness was equally rad and provided further jackhammering spice above and beyond the sizable jalapeño slices, while the maniacally chopped steak played its lead role quietly, but effectively. If El Gallo Giro were a baseball club, they’d wouldn’t even bother running a shortstop onto the infield. They’d just field all-stars at the other eight positions, blow high fastballs by most opposing batters, and walk away 9-2 winners every time.
01/11/05Super al Pastor$4.758.58 Mustaches
With the exception of ordinary pork that seemed distinctly steak-ish at times, this truck-spawned burrito ran the table, with no other category receiving a rating under eight mustaches – with many getting nine or even a perfect ten. Few slabs can claim 40 shades of sauce in their arsenal, or so it seemed from the looks of things, and a number of long-cut onion pieces further sent El Gallo Giro’s young stock upward. In an unusual turn, whole beans didn’t hurt the cause. The missing avocado, promised by the truck’s menu, could have raised the rating even higher. In other news, substantiated rumors exist that their vegetarian burrito isn’t worth a hill of radishes.