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Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, July 2009back to archive

Bite. Chew. Mull. "breaks down" our nine June taqueria visits. Then it "reassembles" them.

The name Dear Beano may be somewhat garden variety, but it's a gentler handle than Awkward Exchanges and Exaggerated Gestures.

If it's guff you want, it's guff you get in Obstinate Reader Commentary.

Summer rerun time: Fumbling through past Apocalypse issues recently as we prepare an upcoming boxed set, we declared A Special Message From the 'Chicago Meateaters Union and Racketeering Syndicate' brazenly entertaining enough to reprint, three years after its original controversial appearance. We also simply enjoy recycling old material time and time again.

Uh-huh, that's right: (epilogue).

Pull up a food.

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Not "Bite It. Chew It. Mull It."

For the second consecutive month, our Slab of the Month arrived on the month's first day -- notable if only because it affords us a rare and exciting opportunity to use "month" four times in a single sentence. Indeed, June got going with a mustachioed bang at our favorite taqueria / car wash combo in town, Bayshore's Taq. El Balazo; other delicious highlights appeared throughout summer's first month from the kitchens of Taq. El Farolito, Taq. El Taco Loco, and Taq. El Jalapeño. Also along Bayshore's industrial non-shore, Taq. La Michoacana rocketed into the Mustache Chart's seventh spot with a marvelous (and extremely orange) 8.50-mustache debut foiled effort. Meanwhile, at the opposite end of credibility, Mexico Tipico continued its heinous trend of sour cream misapplication.

TAQ. EL BALAZO (Bayshore), 6/1/2009, Super Chile Relleno: 8.91 mustaches
Official word’s in from our people downstairs in Archives: At 8.91 mustaches, this was the highest-rated chile relleno slab on Burritoeater record to date.

CUCO'S (Lower Haight), 6/3/2009, Super Ground Beef: 7.83 mustaches
A minor letdown, after all the years of flat-lining eight-mustachery.

TAQ. CAN-CÚN (Mission/19th St.) (Mission), 6/7/2009, Super al Pastor: 7.67 mustaches
Grossly overweight and proud of it. The burrito, we mean.

TAQ. EL FAROLITO (Excelsior), 6/10/2009, Super Carne Asada: 8.17 mustaches
Our since-fired copy editors suddenly decided that, for the purposes of this specific review, commas are a luxury.

TAQ. LA MICHOACANA (Bayshore), 6/12/2009, Super Spicy Chicken: 8.50 mustaches
Few things breed civic optimism quite like seeing a new taqueria emerge confidently — taking a sad song, making it better, etc. etc.

MEXICO TIPICO TAQ. (Excelsior), 6/18/2009, Super Breakfast (Bacon): 6.67 mustaches
The faucets here don’t emit water; they spew sour cream. So do the gas valves and the soda gun, apparently. Bring hip waders.

LAS ESTRELLAS (Hayes Valley), 6/23/2009, Super Shredded Chicken: 7.42 mustaches
Our long-delayed return to the (no longer) lowest-rated taqueria on the Mustache Chart ended in surprise respectability.

TAQ. EL JALAPEÑO (Ingleside), 6/27/2009, Super Carnitas: 8.17 mustaches
This widemouth superslab from Ingleside’s down-homiest burritoteria swished plenty. (Translation available for $4.95.)

TAQ. EL TACO LOCO (Mission), 6/30/2009, Super Carne Asada: 8.33 mustaches
Our sixth on-record dip into the Crazy Taco’s burrito pool was a real pleasant swim.

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Suspending The Suspension Of Disbelief

This month, our legendary (to himself, anyway) taqueria sage Beano Q. Cook fields a range of reader inquiries and comments. Actually, he does this every month -- some are more lively than others, of course, with June's decision to experiment with dull stock replies and empty threats involving cans of Alpo still being debated by our editorial board.

Warm wishes? Cold stares? Indifferent shrugs? Emote at:

Dear Beano: Please cancel my subscription. I’d heard this was a can’t-miss newsletter and was expecting to read about food all the time. Instead it’s a bunch of attacks on baccarat players and High Tech Burrito in Mill Valley.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Fair enough. But you’re going to miss Brooke Shields and Cheryl Tiegs in our upcoming Swimsuit Issue. Is there really somewhere to play baccarat in Mill Valley?

Dear Beano: If the Appleby's (sic) by you has burritos, please go in and review. 'Cause they are a CRIME in New York! Soggy, overspiced, and overpriced.
Dear Apocalypse reader: No way! Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar -- in New York, no less -- makes a substandard burrito?? That's hard to believe. Applebee's is known for its top-grade burritowork, and everyone knows New York does everything best, and so affordably. Something here just isn't adding up.

Dear Beano: I am from Fresno, and my two brothers, a friend, and I have been taking a yearly trip to San Francisco to attend a Giants game. If our group could receive a rating on burstage abatement, it would be ten mustaches because we are a close group of guys, just like a well wrapped burrito. Our trip has built up some steam over the years, and every year we do our research and select a local slab hut based on your feedback. A few of the spots we have hit include El Burrito Express, Papalote, and El Castillito. This year we have decided to pull up a food at Gordo in the Outer Richmond.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Glad that San Francisco's Top Resource for Taquerias and Mustaches is making itself useful in the heart of the 209, and can humbly contribute to the success of Burrito Brodown-Throwdown '09. I'm from Turlock, you know. Turlock High. Class of '35.

Dear Beano: The review that ten-year-old wrote for you is hilarious.
Dear Apocalypse reader: Not as hilarious as you believing a ten-year-old actually wrote that review.

Dear Beano: I am a burrito addict, and I think it would be fun to be one of your reviewers. If you need someone, let me know.
Dear Apocalypse reader: That's a very kind offer, but as is the case with most non-military organizations in the world, we've currently got a hiring freeze going here at Burritoeater Towers. (Unless you're ten years old -- immediate editorial openings available!) Try user review-driven -- it's like Yelp for taquerias, only without a "Hot on Burritophile" section or people abusing the caps lock key and using terms like "YUMMMMAZING."

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It's Where the Money's At

Got a bit of wisdom you'd like to share with our readers? Or perhaps you'd like to just spew some more verbal bile onto the Internetwork? By all means, kindly enter the fray. Send your San Francisco taqueria-related commentary to Although you'll receive no compensation for our use of your content, you'll have made a considerable difference in today's online environment, while also perhaps laying the groundwork for a lucrative career as a Professional Internet Commenter.

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

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"Why are there now two Tacos San Buena trucks along Sansome? I was walking up Sansome the other day and saw the truck working at the corner of Sutter; I thought, Oh, San Buena moved. Then I got to Pacific and there was an absolutely identical San Buena truck in its normal location in the corner parking lot. I'm pretty sure they didn't drive past me. Either way, they still charge too much for a slab with all the girth of a Fenway Frank."
(Good eye. We address this oddity in the July Blargh -- look for our recent visit to the Tacos San Buena truck at Sansome/Sutter. -Ed.)

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"Had a La Corneta burrito both today and yesterday. You are right about temperature unevenness issues there."

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"You couldn't be more wrong about Chino's on my home stretch of Balboa in the Outer Richmond. Everyone out here loves that's an institution, just like Simple Pleasures Cafe and the Balboa Theater. I don't think you've given it a fair shake at all."
(Our panel defines "fair shake" as four on-record visits to Chino's over six years...with surely another to come sooner or later, unfortunately. -Ed.)

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The City of Big Shoulders (and Bigger Angioplasty) Weighs In

(Reprinted with minor changes from the August 2006 edition of the Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly. Machaca!)

Direct from the land of wings-inclusive pancakes and deep-fried yogurt comes this scoff-laden screed, ostensibly in response to a marinated tofu burrito from Papalote that recently earned Burritoeater's prestigious nine-mustache rating.
Look. I understand it's healthy, that your home base is San Francisco, and that you continue to foolishly embrace the flower power mentality that your fair city unfortunately generated some 39 summers ago. But tofu does not belong in a burrito. Not ever.

When my great tio ("uncle" for you tofu-nibbling anglos) Timiteo prepared the first Mission burrito at El Faro in the fall of 1961, he never intended for tofu to be a primary ingredient. I'm sure he would hack up his jalapeños if he knew it had come to this. Carne asada, pollo, al pastor, carnitas, barbacoa -- YES! Chorizo, pescado, camarones, machaca -- PREACH ON, PADRE! Birria, tripitas, lengua -- SHOUT IT FROM THE WRIGLEYVILLE ROOFTOPS!

Tofu? No way.

I ask that you reconsider the inclusion of this tasteless imitator. Put away those bellbottoms and the worn-out cassettes where Jerry's guitar leads were "soaring" during set two of the Colgate '77 show, and think of those of us in other regions. Burritos should be filled with those that once walked among us on this big blue ball. Not soy, amigo. Not soy.

Of course, burritos here in Chicago are deep-fried and filled with sausage, Italian beef, spicy wings, and beer, and come with a side of cheese fries. The survival rate is about 60/40 in your favor, but you only live once, no?

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Yours, in delicious horchata,