the Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly Apparel Bazaar

Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, July 2006back to archive

They taunted us as youngsters - told us our biting, chewing, and mulling would never amount to anything. Well, who's biting, chewing, and mulling on the Web now? We summarize each June taqueria visit in Bite. Chew. Mull.

There's some interesting material in Dear Beano this time around, but for the life of us, we have no idea how it got there.

Our 24/7 public forum, Obstinate User Commentary, now closes at 5:30 P.M. Apologies for any inconvenience.

We (kind of) turn the tables of slabmaking criticism on our humbled selves in This Month at the Whole Foods Burrito Bar.

(epilogue), schlepilogue. Start the car so we can get home to let the dog out, willya?

Pull up a food.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Extra-Satirical and Dead-Serious, All at Once

Who pulls down more scratch in our office -- our Sr. VP of Compliance and Graft, or our mailroom girl? Did you know that each of our 39 custodians boasts an annual salary equal to that of our Controller? The dirty truth here atop Burritoeater Towers is that it's minimum wage for everyone on Team Slab. Post-graduate degrees be damned.

Such is the ferocity of Burritoeater's eternal quest for fairness. So, once the May page of our calendar rolled over to June, we thought it was high time to spend the month bouncing from one civically adored taqueria to the next. The twist? We'd yet to be entirely sold on any of these specific burrito shops, but who are we to never say never?

In the end, some turned our heads, while others just made us want to keep looking away.

TAQ. EL TACO LOCO (Mission), 6/1/06, Super Carnitas: 8.50 Mustaches
The Crazy Taco’s vaunted carnitas provided plenty of affordable entertainment for our panel’s taste buds.

ZONA ROSA (Upper Haight), 6/3/06, Super Chipotle Chicken: 8.17 Mustaches
This burrito's chipotle sauce was an awkward shade of light orange, but we’re not judging a beauty pageant here. An overachieving effort.

TAQ. SAN JOSE (Mission), 6/5/06, Super al Pastor: 7.00 Mustaches
Witness: The first time we’ve ever down-rated a burrito for being too spicy. Sopping, unrelenting grease also played a significant role.

TAQ. CAN-CÚN (Mission/19th St.) (Mission), 6/9/06, Super Pollo Asado: 8.50 Mustaches
Finally, a Can-cún burrito to match all the Super Bowl-level hype. What a food.

PAPALOTE (Western Addition), 6/11/06, Super Chile Verde (Pork): 8.50 Mustaches
They remembered to include rice this time. Much success ensued.

TAQ. PANCHO VILLA (Financial District), 6/14/06, Especial Chile Verde Pork: 8.25 Mustaches
An unexpectedly strong showing from this Financial District-adjacent welterweight.

TAQ. LA CUMBRE (Mission), 6/16/06, Super Pollo en Chile Rojo: 8.08 Mustaches
This was no flawless ringer, but a number of top-shelf elements systemically bludgeoned our panel into submission by the final bell.

TAQ. EL FAROLITO (24th St.) (Mission), 6/18/06, Super Pollo a la Parrilla: 7.50 Mustaches
We arrived hungry, we departed hrumphy.

CHIPOTLE (South of Market), 6/20/06, Chicken Fajita: 6.92 Mustaches
Another sub-seven-mustache trip down our boulevard of rigorous scrutiny for this nationwide chain.

TAQ. PANCHO VILLA (Mission), 6/23/06, Deluxe Carnitas: 8.08 Mustaches
Pancho Villa, alright.

EL METATE (Mission), 6/25/06, Super Pollo Asado: 6.92 Mustaches
We love everything about this place...except their burritos.

LA TAQUERIA (Mission), 6/27/06, Pollo: 6.75 Mustaches
The greatest burrito in the whole world. Their neon sign says so - it must be true.

TACOS EL TONAYENSE (Harrison/14th St.) (Mission), 6/30/06, Super Carnitas: 7.58 Mustaches
Its shot at glory mostly tripped up by runny guacamole and some sauciness that didn’t know when to say when, this slab rendered itself surprisingly ordinary.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Incorrigible as Ever - with Bonus Halitosis

Someone said they spotted our man Mr. Cook puttering up the Dolores St. sidewalk last Tuesday as San Francisco's weekly noon siren began to blare. Evidently, Burritoeater's legendary taqueria sage lost his wits and, in a display of panic rare for anyone under such heavy sedation, hurled himself under the nearest parked Vespa. He soon realized his gross misjudgment, lifted his embarrassed self out of the gutter, and continued on his way - cane, mustache, top hat, and flask of horchata in tow.

Video of the whole ridiculous episode should appear on YouTube later this week. For now, give the bitter old codger your own brand of hell at

Dear Beano: I gotta tell you, this is the best monthly burrito newsletter I get.
Dear Apocalypse reader: We here at Acmecorp understand you have no choice of monthly burrito newsletters, and we appreciate your loyal dedication to the Intestinal Apocalypse. Without you, we'd have one less subscriber.

Dear Beano: Just found your Web site. Totally, totally impressed. Serious dedication is required to maintain such a large database of reviews. It's inspiring me to explore the wealth of burrito options here in Napa and post them to
Dear Apocalypse reader: Well, thanks. Burritophile is a tremendous site to which you're wise to contribute, but I still don't get you Napa people. You make such a fuss over your "Tuscan" landscape, your "Mediterranean" climate, your "Rutherford Dust," your imported celebrities. Isn't it time Napa took some responsibility for its role in foisting Falcon Crest upon the world? And what's with the auto parts fixation up there? These days, when I hear or read about Napa, I don't think "Cabernet" or "Zinfandel." I think "Fram oil filter." Get it together!

Dear Beano: I preface everything with the notion that I definitely respect your mission. I even have to admit that, at first, I was excited when a friend sent me your link. Then I saw La Salsa on your list. Then Baja Fresh. Then Rubio's. Then I realized you were all pretenders. An 8.25 rating for La Salsa's Financial District location? I still can't get my head around it. I'm giving your site a burrito knowledge rating of 1.22 - barely a flavor-saver on your mustache rating system.
Dear Apocalypse reader: We're deeply sorry for giving those places a shot at mustachioed glory. Who knows what got into us? It must have been that bit in the Burritoeater charter about visiting every burrito shop in San Francisco. How dare we aspire to be such completists! As for La Salsa, we had little control over their kitchen serving us such exceptional meats and veggies amongst much melted cheese and a stellar ingredient mix, all wedged within a champion-level grilled tortilla. We'll do everything we can to let it happen again.

Dear Beano: You guys are hilarious. And your site is a blast! I'm sitting in Shanghai salivating over your commentaries. Can't wait to get back and sink my teeth into one of the burritos you recommend.
Dear Apocalypse reader: If you think your censor-approved Chinese version of Burritoeater is entertaining, wait until you see the American edition! It not only comes with a free download of our new reality show on Fox, but also includes actual opinions. If that sounds too brash, try our Finnish version, which offers each first-time user a coupon redeemable for a complimentary sauna.

Dear Beano: Thank you so much for creating your burrito rating Web site. My ex-boyfriend always used to say that he wanted to do this as well, but you've clearly beaten him to it - and you've done a much better and more thorough job than he ever would have.
Dear Apocalypse reader: That fella didn't deserve you.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Includes Two More Chorizo References than Usual

Did you hear the one about the burrito who got set up on a blind date with the chimichanga?

So did we, so we won't bother taking it any further.

Say hello, call us all jerks, whatever's your pleasure:

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

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

“I'm staging a one-man boycott against Taq. Vallarta. I can't let those amateur line cooks get away with lumping the rice on one side and the beans on the other.”

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

“Just discovered your site (or should I say service?) through DailyCandy, and I think I may have noticed a missing, but worthy taqueria: Los Socios in the Financial District makes a burrito to rival El Castillito, at the very least. I highly recommend the spicy salsa and grilled chicken.”

(High praise for Los Socios. However, our research indicates it's a sit-down restaurant. Per Article VII, Section 142.6, Rule 5 of the Burritoeater charter, burrito retailers featuring table service do not merit inclusion on our site. -Ed.)

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

“Finally, I agree. Papalote (the Mission location, not the Fulton St. one) has the best soy chorizo for those of us who enjoy a burrito without the mizzeat.”

----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----

“I suggest the super chorizo burrito at Chunky's in the Tenderloin. The way the sour cream interacts with the deliciously crispy, yet somehow still-juicy chorizo is a great thing. Get it with black beans and hot salsa, and you're stoked.

"Oh yeah, and I tried a super al pastor at Taq. San Francisco. Declared it one of the best burritos I've ever had.”

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

One Ginormous Burrito, Or Nearly a Week of Commutes on the Bay Bridge - Take Your Pick

Sometime last winter, Burritoeater insider Tyler Reed pointed out to us the self-service burrito bar at Whole Foods Market, on the corner of Franklin and California. So naturally, we jumped right on this unique opportunity and paid a visit about six months later.

Without any further ado, the full monty of L'Affaire de Self-Made Slab (1.70 lbs. at $7.49 per lb.):

5.83 Mustaches

Swish: size (9); spiciness (9); burstage abatement (9); vegetables (8)
Shrug: meat (7); sauciness (7); tortilla (6)
Clang: beans (4); ingredient mix (4); rice (3); temperature (3); cheese (1)
Intangibility bonus: 0 (of 2)

What kind of complete imbeciles slapped this monstrosity together? What were they thinking?

Self-service food bars generally rely on the sometimes dicey duality that exists between ingredient quality and customer assemblage skills. In the case of our debut visit to Whole Foods’ burrito bar, we certainly expected excellent ingredients from this highly respected food retailer; equally, we anticipated these ingredients to eventually come crashing out of the most idiotically built burrito this town’s ever seen. It didn’t turn out that way, however. That embarrassing mustache rating above? Pin a surprising load of the blame on Whole Foods, rather than our doltish judges panel-turned-slabmakers.

Naturally, our ingredient mix was more ill-conceived than New Coke - all un-warm elements on one side, all warm ingredients on the other. Fact: Ingredient integration is much more difficult than it looks from the customer side of the counter. Also fact: Cold bites and unmelted cheese that stem from such dunce-sponsored mixes are the greatest scourges since typhoid and The Gooch. Note the disgruntling temperature rating above.

Still, none of these mishaps excuse the tough, steamed tortilla, the nearly impenetrable grains of brown rice (refresh that tray!), and the delicious-looking pinto beans that turned out to be a pasty mirage. As for the carnitas, they were well-seasoned but a bit mushy, and tasted as if they’d been stewed, rather than fried.

Thanks to our quick trigger fingers at the sliced jalapeño tray, spice wielded a scorch-hammer throughout. Other vegetables were just as impressive, and Whole Foods' tomatillo avocado salsa made a sharp, if segregated contribution.

Intangible integrity was non-existent. Our foil job was a total travesty, even if the whole king-sized enormo-fest held together admirably well.

All told, on the crowded highway of our panel’s extensive taqueria visitation schedule, this was the 12-car pile-up of the year.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>


The Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly is now a Monroe Ficus production, and the business development crew over at Quinn Martin has to feel a little chafed at this point.

Please forward freely, yet responsibly.

Don't trust the Soviets!

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

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

The Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly,, and The Mustache Logo are exclusive properties of The Exploding Head Trick Publishing Co. © 2003-2006. They're ours and you can't have them, unless perhaps you ask politely. And even then, we’ll probably hit you with a six-figure licensing fee that will have you seeing stars and us seeking telephone numbers for any number of offshore banks. Or perhaps we'll just send some Wiffle Bat-wielding goons your way.

Yours, in delicious horchata,