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Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, July 2007back to archive

June's eight taqueria visits get the ol' Burritoeater what-for in Bite. Chew. Mull.

You can't shut the old man up this time in Dear Beano.

Score two to the cheery and one to the grouchy in Obstinate Reader Commentary.

And (epilogue) remains as quietly efficient as ever.

Pull up a food.

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Our burrito-eating June launched with a bang as 24th St. staple Taq. Vallarta - newly reopened following a city-imposed shutdown for a litany of health violations - sneaked lettuce (argh) into our breakfast burrito. The unlikely result: one of the finest slabs of the year, to date. Other local taqueria visits that dotted the rest of our month's calendar ran the gamut from exceptional (Taq. La Alteña on lower Mission, La Fonda, Los Compadres) to OK/alright (Andalé, Chipotle, Tonayense Taq.) to out-and-out lame (Tacos Santana). Then our prima donna-laden judges panel got tired and sat out the Home Run Derby.

TAQ. VALLARTA (Mission), 6/3/07, Super Breakfast (Chorizo): 8.75 mustaches
The sledgehammer of delicious all-around flavor here was so mighty, they could have gotten away with tossing in a handful of mung beans. Cool it about the eight months this Mission legend just spent on DPH probation.

TACOS SANTANA (Bayshore), 6/5/07, Super al Pastor: 6.50 mustaches
This truck's awkward location - downwind from the city’s undelicious-sounding Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant - can’t be ignored on breezy days.

CHIPOTLE (Financial District), 6/7/07, Carnitas: 7.42 mustaches
No less than three people collaborated on the construction of this barely foiled lunch, so you’d think one of them would have heard the sad song the ingredient mix was singing and tried to make it better. Think again.

ANDALÉ (Union Square), 6/12/07, Supremo Mesquite Chicken: 7.83 mustaches
And on our second visit, Andalé-under-Bloomingdale's succumbed to the seven-mustache gravitational pull.

TAQ. LA ALTEÑA (Mission/29th St.) (Mission), 6/15/07, Super Carnitas: 8.50 mustaches
Intangibility should be expecting a repair bill for the hole in this taqueria’s roof any day now. Eight-and-a-half mustaches with style and ease.

LA FONDA (Inner Sunset), 6/19/07, Super Tinga Chicken: 8.58 mustaches
Credible veggies from a variety of sources: tomato and onion from the robust tinga sauce, cilantro and more chopped onion from the pico de gallo, and chunky guacamole from that one avocado tree down in Tulare County.

TONAYENSE TAQ. (Mission), 6/22/07, Super Pollo: 7.58 mustaches
Next time, it's no hapless mayo verde for us at Tonayense. With every bite on which it jacked in, we had no choice but to acknowledge the obvious: the liquicreamy embellishment sucked a whole bunch.

LOS COMPADRES (Civic Center / Tenderloin), 6/25/07, Super Carne Asada: 8.25 mustaches
The element here that bespelled us most? That extraordinary chipotle salsa, which seemed to punctuate every bite with a hearty “Ha! Smoky!” So rad.

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Pissing Off Our Loyal Reader Base Monthly. Since 1949.

There are those months when our in-house taqueria sage is unnecessarily terse - months when, out of sheer laziness, Mr. Cook will try to get away with passing off monosyllabic grunts like "no," "hrumph," and, most controversially, "Schweppes" as actual answers to readers' inquiries. July 2007, however, shall go down as one of the more loquacious months in the Dear Beano annals. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Say hello, ask a question, tell Beano to go to hell, make your point in no uncertain terms:

Dear Beano: I think you ought to litigate these people to no end. Infringing upon your unique logo in that way is not OK.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Easy, big fella. Who are we to slap cease-and-desist orders on anyone? Everything here at Burritoeater Towers is a flagrant, royalty-free rip-off. Our "Great Mustache" logo? Rollie Fingers meets Yosemite Sam meets clip art. The name of this monthly publication? You've got DJ Tyler Reed to thank/kick for that one. Burritos? Hey, we didn't invent those. I'm pretty sure the last truly original idea anyone ever had was when Kris Kross put their pants on backwards back in '92. I mean, really, come on - backwards pants?! Totally brilliant.

Dear Beano: So, where are the best places in San Francisco to get carne asada fries and a California burrito? (Not a San Francisco burrito, but a California burrito.)
Dear Apocalypse reader: The City of San Diego planted you in this auditorium, right? You're here to ask the "tough questions," aren't you? Listen Shamu, didn't we go over this in last month's This Month In Golden State Slab Skirmishes feature? For the last time: San Francisco taquerias do not produce fries-inclusive burritos. Want fries in a sandwich? Call Giordano Bros. on Columbus in North Beach. Want fries in a burrito? Call Sea World.

Dear Beano: Your site rules, it absolutely rules! I've never subscribed to anything but porn sites...and you've changed all that for me.
Dear Apocalypse reader: I know the intro mentioned how chatty I am this time around, but...words fail right about now.

Dear Beano: Have you rated any burritos in San José? I'm moving there, and I'm not sure what to expect.
Dear Apocalypse reader: I'm afraid not, as harbors no ambition to become "San José's Top Resource for Taquerias and Mustaches." I've never even been to Central America. Honduras and Nicaragua are up-and-coming taqueria hotbeds, I hear; not sure about Costa Rica, though. Don't forget your passport.

Dear Beano: Your staff really takes this culinary/cultural phenomenon seriously.
Dear Apocalypse reader: My staff? Buddy, I'm the lackey here at this corporate hellhole, even after 58 years of loyal service. But yes, these people here, they've got the Slab Fever. One woman up on the 14th floor - I think she's in our Burstage Patrol & Actuaries division - adds to a round pile of used foil in her office every time she has a burrito. It's like how people make balls from a bunch of rubber bands, only she's already reached the point where she's using it as an exercise ball on her breaks. It's kind of freaky.

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Wherein *You* - Joe/Jane Q. Reader - Play A Pivotal Content-Producing Role

Lift up your voices, Russia!

Hang on, this isn't Russia.

Lift up your voices, San Francisco! Quit bellyaching about MUNI and Barry Zito and the scorching 81-degree summer weather in Potrero Hill long enough to send us your ill-informed opinions on any given local burritoteria.

Please be forewarned that any submissions which misspell our favorite word as "buritto" will be terminated with extreme prejudice.

Make it happen, people:

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

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"I've been to Taq. Mana by the Stockton Tunnel twice lately, and thought it was good. I believe the name means "manna" - as in "from heaven," which is pushing it - but it's easy to remember. Both times I had the super al pastor. No beer on hand (out of your site's scope, I realize), but excellent carne al pastor."
(For the record, we enjoy the beer. -Ed.)

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"Your site is spot-on - love it. Turned me on to Taq. San Francisco, which is right by my house. I’m indebted."

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"You're wrong - a lot! How can you go on and on about Papalote, and slag all over La Taqueria around the corner? La Taq. crushes everything else in the Mission, and in town, for that matter. Papalote is too fancy, not greasy enough. Rice in burritos is for chumps like you who eat microwaveable chili mac on off-days. Go jump in the sewer."

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Yours, in delicious horchata,