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Tonayense, El (Harrison/17th St.) MissionOMR: 8.06
cross street: 17th St.
ph. none
Map Visits: 5
This Tonayense truck lost its shady spot — on weekdays, at least — adjacent to John O'Connell High in 2009 upon being rudely deemed a fast-food nuisance to the Mission's academic youth. It's now parked about two blocks north of its former location, although it defiantly holds down its previous curbside slot along Harrison near 19th St. on weekends, where its kitchen shockingly served up one of the most disappointing efforts ever on Burritoeater record (see 8/26/07 below); fortunately, it’s bounced back strongly since. Take-out only. Credit cards accepted.

Will My Health Be Violated?

04/09/13Super Pollo Asado$7.008.00 Mustaches
Swish: spiciness (10); ingredient mix (10); burstage abatement (10); sauciness (9); size (8); tortilla (8); meat (8)
Shrug: rice (7); beans (7); temperature (7); vegetables (6)
Clang: cheese (4)
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

The right moves outnumbered the wrong ones this time at this Tonayense truck, and let's all raise a cold horchata to that. The slab was built to hold together (which it did), even if it experienced some mildly disturbing temperature dips throughout. The exceptionally smart ingredient mix and hellbanging spice impressed us to no end, and so of course did that old Tonayense sauce-magic from bite one down. All the eight-mustache elements here — the politely grilled tortilla, the perfectly competent chicken, the right dimensional profile — held their own, although we could have done with more veggie-related action apart from the weird-tasting guac and all that diced onion. The pinto beans caused no major harm, while the rice somehow knew how to remain in the background (a rare quality for rice in a burrito); the big clanger here, though, was the vaguely melted cheese, which may as well have called in sick for the day. And yet, sharp intangibility sealed the well-respected deal.

02/19/11Super al Pastor$6.508.17 Mustaches
Swish: spiciness (10); temperature (10); burstage abatement (10); sauciness (9); size (8); tortilla (8); meat (8); cheese (8); ingredient mix (8)
Shrug: rice (7)
Clang: beans (5); vegetables (5)
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Other than some glaring inequities in El Tonayense’s ingredient palette — far too little red and green, quite heavy on the brown and orange...and the peculiar inclusion of white — this was one solid foiled effort, from the basic brushstrokes (all hot bites; no burstage to wrangle with) on through all the delectable detail present in the sharp sauciness and spiciness. And there ends this review’s awkward painting analogies. OK, so our long and slender lunch may have been woefully short on veggie content (other than boasting some delightful diced onion), but all the finely ground pork sure was mighty tasty. Melted cheese contributed quietly but consistently, while the white beans were nothing more than an inconsequential bit player throughout. And the intangibility card here was played early and often to the tune of two bonus mustaches, even though everyone knows burritos don’t actually play cards or have any sort of human characteristics whatsoever, no matter how much we sometimes like to kid ourselves that they do.

08/26/07Super Carnitas$6.005.75 Mustaches
Swish: size (8); tortilla (8); temperature (8); burstage abatement (8)
Shrug: spiciness (7); rice (6); beans (6)
Clang: meat (5); vegetables (5); ingredient mix (4); sauciness (3); cheese (1)
Intangibility bonus: 0 (of 2)

This foiled disaster clanged more ominously than the intro to “Hells Bells,” as Tacos El Tonayense’s usually reliable kitchen managed to botch more elements of this Sunday burrito than it didn’t. Tiny, tiny shreds of jack cheese appeared to be untouched by any heat and looked pathetic in the process, while Tonayense’s weird sauce (which we’ve enjoyed in the past) was severely off its game this time, and the infusion of rail-thin guacamole sure didn’t help the cause. As for the roast pork, this Mission slabwagon’s slabmaker clearly dipped into two different bins of poorly cut carnitas for our burrito – one labeled “mushy,” the other labeled “leathery.” Neither style much worked for us, although at least the latter batch didn’t instantly dissolve upon biting into it. As for the ingredient mix, it took it upon itself to screw up distribution of spice and rice, as well as the chopped onion / cilantro steez. Our reaction? A round of hearty booing. Between the ill-flavored sauce’s domination, the weird pork, and the numbskulled mix, there was nothing swashbuckling about this burrito, nothing at all. An unmitigated train wreck.

08/19/06Super Carne Asada$5.008.25 Mustaches
Swish: sauciness (10); spiciness (10); beans (9); burstage abatement (9); rice (8); cheese (8); vegetables (8); temperature (8)
Shrug: size (7); tortilla (7); meat (7); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

With an immeasurable amount of intangible deliciousness delivering the knockout blow here, this burrito’s segregative ingredient mix – the sole misgiving on our foiled lunch’s corresponding scoresheet – was mercifully declared a forgivable sin by our high ‘n’ mighty panel of mustachioed morons. Tonayense’s pure-ambrosia salsa reigned supreme yet again, its X-factor perhaps stemming from the conventional wisdom-defying addition of thin, yet fierce guacamole. Meanwhile, spice wreaked serious havoc top to bottom, and the refried beans in particular stood out in their excellence. Much chopped onion and cilantro combined to offset the lack of diced tomato in the pico de gallo, and nothing resembling a cool bite ever reared up. Sure, it could have been girthier, the overly diced steak could have wielded a greater flavor-hammer, and the tortilla would have done well to take its spot on the grill a bit more enthusiastically. Despite it all, this effort still won our hearts.

02/28/05Super Pollo Asado$5.007.92 Mustaches
Excellent bits of grilled chicken and a hellacious spiciness possibly endorsed by Lucifer himself kept this burrito in the thick of things throughout. By the end, its overall intangible allure had outperformed its respectable, yet hardly outstanding rating. A few lukewarm bites did their best to sour this slab, as did an overabundance of rice and the mysterious disappearance of the requisite cheese. Initial concerns about the guacamole’s thinnish consistency gave way to the realization that it actually augmented the burrito’s fine sauciness. Furthermore, the omnipresent chicken was remarkably well-peppered, the pinto beans stood in just fine for our favored refrieds, and the whole thing played slightly over its head to its credit. Now let’s all chip in and get this truck a steamer to ensure hot bites all around.