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Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly, December 2013back to archive

There's a fat bonus in the pockets of the publicity crew at Burritoeater Towers this holiday season, and Further Press Adulation is here to explain why.

Bite. Chew. Mull. stumbles through our final five taqueria visits with all the style and ease of a drunken giant tortoise (albeit one with fine, fine taste in taquerias).

The fourth and final installment of Burritoeater Hall of Fame Inductees rounds out our who's-who of legendary behind-the-scenes contributors.

Toppermost of the Slabbermost chronicles -- in a conveniently capsulized format designed to help you move onto the next greatest-of-all-time list you encounter three minutes later -- our five* highest-rated slabs throughout our 11 years on the San Francisco taqueria tiles. * = (Actually, seven -- three-way tie for fifth.)

And (epilogue) brings it all back stay.

For the last time: Pull up a food!

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"Why was this burrito's overall temperature on the low side? What was with the just-OK pollo asado? Why didn't we just order an alambres plate? Is available?"
--> Taq. Can-cún, 11/25/2013

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Shadowing our panel of judge-doofuses for our 1000th (and final) on-record burrito on December 7, KALW Radio's Ben Trefny continues his championship-calibre taqueria-field journalism with The Burritoeater's Last Slab, a recently aired feature now archived on We reckon it's worth eight minutes of your listening attention.

And, of course, if you missed our in-depth interview with Eater in November, it hasn't gone anywhere and probably won't anytime soon.

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All Bitten, Chewed, Mulled, and Accounted For

(Follow our teary-eyed, salsa-splattered Farewell Tour this autumn/winter in the Burritoeater Blargh.)

While none of our final five on-record burritos were outright clangers in the least, it wouldn't be unfairly off the mark to slap the "unspectacularly adequate" tag on numbers 996-998. This trio of good-enough slabs -- from the Little Chihuahua, La Fonda, and Taq. Can-cún, stalwarts all -- each came in at 7.83 mustaches and had us suspiciously thinking that perhaps we were getting out of the San Francisco burrito-rating business at the right time...just as mediocrity crept in.

Number 999 from Taq. Vallarta, however, helped make sense of the last decade-plus of our burrito-eating existence, ratcheting up 8.58 hairy ones over Thanksgiving weekend and properly amping us up for our last slab a few blocks down 24th Street in early December. One week and 9.25 mustaches later at La Espiga de Oro, our panel properly docked our proud vessel SS Slabber for good: After 11 years on the turbulent seas of San Francisco's taqueria scene, we re-entered the world of taqueria civilianhood. And that was OK with us.

The Little Chihuahua (Lower Haight), 11/11/2013, Fajita Pollo Asado: 7.83 mustaches
Certain elements of this respectably sized slab scraped the highest reaches of our ratings scale, but an alarming paucity of meat and non-starting cheese participation were the real reasons it turned out to be an $11 letdown.

La Fonda, 11/20/2013, Super Cochinita Pibil (Pork): 7.83 mustaches
Toward the end of our tenure in the corner suite atop Burritoeater Towers, La Fonda seemed to settle into a complacent, high-seven-mustache groove. Hrumph.

Taq. Can-cún (Mission/Valencia), 11/25/2013, Super Pollo Asado: 7.83 mustaches
There's nothing like a sub-eight-mustache effort to diminish the glorious memory of two consecutive nine-mustache slabs just the year before, but here it was in all its underwhelming shruggery.

Taq. Vallarta (24th St.), 11/30/2013, Zapata Carnitas: 8.58 mustaches
A whole lotta sliced jalapeño drove this foiled effort's spiciness rating through Vallarta's crazy ceiling mural, while smartly crispy carnitas, superbly melted cheese, and an avocado-anchored ensemble of vegetables hit all the right notes.

La Espiga de Oro, 12/7/2013, Super Carne Asada: 9.25 mustaches
And how did it all end? On a real high: 9.25 glorious mustaches and the run-with-it opportunity to take this whole 11-year, 1000-burrito escapade out on the good foot.

And with that, La Espiga de Oro closed out our Farewell Tour atop our Mustache Chart. Not bad for a joint we didn't begin frequenting until late 2010.

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"What did we just have for dinner? What was that? It was 86 cents a bite, whatever it was. Clango 20! is more like it."
--> Tango 20! (long since closed), 7/19/2005

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First-Ballot and Unanimous

Over the last decade, we've been the beneficiaries of all sorts of kind and admirable help from friends, Web designers, press folks, arms dealers, you name it. As we hit lights-out time here at Burritoeater Towers, a small handful of these individuals deserve special shout-outs for their support in the growth, domination, downfall, and subsequent ruination of the proud Burritoeater brand.

Today, we turn the warm glow of the spotlight on a pair of individuals who -- other than ourselves, of course -- did more to further the Burritoeater cause than anyone else around. 'Thanks' doesn't quite cover it for these two, but it's all we've got...other than a few surplus jars of Papalote salsa, anyway.

Whether it was enthusiastically handling all the product photography for our Apparel Bazaar, single-handedly setting up our Merch Bazaar, patiently schooling our boneheaded staff in the intricate tasks of photo resizing and content uploading, or simply joining our panel on countless taqueria runs, Sonja Jones' contributions to Burritoeater's success throughout the years have landed her in a league of her own. If we could ship a plate of carne asada nachos her way, we would.

Who built our Apparel Bazaar from the ground up? Who rigged up a robust platform for our e-mail distribution list when our press attention went through the roof in 2006? And who eventually hosted that same e-mail distribution list? Who took on a bunch of other boring-sounding back-end stuff that's actually been quite crucial to Burritoeater's existence? Who's in charge in the Technology Corridor? Aaron Best, every time. This schnapps is for you, guy -- on the hoose.

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"Steel-toed spice put the boot through our grill."
--> Zapata Mexican Grill, 11/30/2003

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The Finest Foiled Foods of Our Burrito-Eating Times

Does this feature require any sort of introduction? Really now.

5. La Espiga de Oro, 12/5/2010, Super Carne Asada: 9.25 mustaches
We were honored to be seated at the same table as this masterfoodpiece, as major intangible cred furthered the then-rising La Espiga de Oro legend. Cheesetacular, cheesetastic, cheesealicious.

5. Gordo Taq. (Clement), 7/17/2012, Super Grilled Chicken: 9.25 mustaches
This mighty weighty slab was a holding tank of high-scoring elements, from impossibly rad refried beans and perfectly complementary spiciness on through the spectacularly smooth ingredient mix. And the all-melted cheese won big from here to Laramie. Oh! Yes.

5. La Espiga de Oro, 12/7/2013, Super Carne Asada: 9.25 mustaches
Here we go again. Placed in this context, this burrito was an impeccable replica of that which preceded it by nearly three years to the date (see: two entries above). Everyone knows, however, that delicious burritos don't read calendars. Tora! Tora! Tora!

4. Taq. San Francisco, 1/8/2012, Super Chile Relleno: 9.27 mustaches
It was one of those nights we didn't see it coming, when one of our longtime favorite burrito shops jolted our panel wide-awake with this complete sledgehammer of a slab, and we already said we didn't see it coming. The sort of burrito one chain-bites.

3. Papalote (Western Addition), 12/19/2010, Super Pollo: 9.33 mustaches
Good grief, what more could a burrito-eating judges panel want? This slab of near-perfection was Papalote's greatest bulleye at the San Francisco taqueria archery range. Pillowy melted cheese cushioned most bites, and with our "extra spicy" request buoyed by no meager portion of sliced jalapeño, we also got the spice-drama we always hope for.

2. Taq. San Francisco, 2/16/2004, Super Carne Asada: 9.38 mustaches
This galloping stampede of bulky greatness was, for well over five years, the mustachioed standard-bearer, made all the more amazing by the fact that it achieved its Pantheonic status amid our unfortunate Sour Cream Era. Spice kicked us right in the taste buds. A colossal monstrosity of flavor. Truly bad-ass.

1. The Little Chihuahua (Lower Haight), 9/23/2009, Fajita Pollo Asado: 9.42 mustaches
Dude, just read the review. Half the elements here ratcheted up perfect ten-mustache ratings. The consummate wonderslab. All hail the Tiny Dog circa '09. Arfarfarfarfarf.

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"When was the last time the Golden Gate Bridge had an off-day? How about the Beach Blanket Babylon woman with all the big hats? Hmm? We expect the best from our civic icons."
--> Gordo Taq. (Clement), 11/30/2011

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Please forward freely, yet responsibly.

Newsletter subscription addition/removal requests, questions, comments, and/or anecdotes always welcome: Although it doesn't really matter much anymore, now does it?

What's next for us, you ask? Falconry where it's at, man. Predatory birds, alright.

Now for one final hidden bonus track.

The Intestinal Apocalypse Monthly,, and the Great Mustache logo have been brought to you by the Exploding Head Trick Publishing Co.

All of us here at Burritoeater Towers realize that, over the last decade or so, you've had no other choice in websites devoted entirely to the reviewing of San Francisco burritos...but we appreciate your years of patronage anyway. THANKS.

"Greatest monthly electronic missive ever."
- Will Johnson, 2006

OK. Wrap us up in foil -- we're done.

Yours, always and forever in delicious horchata,