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Casa Mexicana Noe ValleyOMR: 8.30
3917 24th St.
cross street: Sanchez
ph. 415/648-0477
Map Visits: 5
This veteran Noe Valley taqueria falls under the same management aegis as La Fonda, La Tortilla, Mexico au Parc, and of course, the other Casa Mexicana (up in the Castro). There’s delightful al fresco dining here on sunny days, with the 24th St. sidewalk rife with baby strollers and their drivers; kids sometimes seem to outnumber adults in the dining room. Bottled beer and breakfast available. Chimichangas also available. Hell yes: Chimichangas also available. Credit cards accepted ($8 minimum).

Will My Health Be Violated?

11/02/12Super al Pastor$7.758.58 Mustaches
Swish: sauciness (10); tortilla (9); beans (9); cheese (9); temperature (9); burstage abatement (9); meat (8); rice (8); vegetables (8); ingredient mix (8)
Shrug: size (7); spiciness (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

Maybe it wasn't the most densely packed burrito, and it wasn't so easy at times to get a full sense of the pork action occurring here. And OK, a certain amount of tortilla seepage virtually guaranteed a one-mustache burstage abatement demerit. But other than moderately fearsome spiciness and the aforenoted flaws (all forgivable), Casa Mexicana uncharacteristically nailed it this time, and hooray for that. The freshly grilled pastor was mightily sauced, while the generously grilled tortilla was fragrant in all the right ways. Jack cheese was subtly rad and entirely melted, while chunky, high-performance guacamole made it happen all slab long. Mexican rice? Good. Refried beans? So damn good! Hot bites? Pretty much. Bulletproof intangibility? Totally. Even the ingredient mix survived some potentially ill-fated cilantro placement -- all of it at the ends, none of it in the middle -- to earn eight hairy ones. Casa Mexicana OK!

09/06/09Super Chile Relleno$8.457.73 Mustaches
Swish: size (9); cheese (9); vegetables (9); rice (8); temperature (8); burstage abatement (8)
Shrug: beans (7); spiciness (7); tortilla (6); sauciness (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

We got the grilled tortilla we asked for. We ponied up the extra $1.40 for a few avocado slices. We marveled at this burrito’s beastly size in the red plastic basket. And yet, as has been the case on each of our visits here, Casa Mexicana’s underachieving slab couldn’t crest eight mustaches. Why? Look no further than the temperature inequities caused by the often lame ingredient mix, as well as irritatingly persistent tortilla seepage. This was not a tidy meal, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. On the bright side, pillows of melted cheese hit our panel’s taste buds from all angles, as of course our chile relleno centerpiece was chock full of the stuff. Spice remained peripheral but palpable throughout, while as much as we tried, we couldn’t beat the burrito’s impenetrable intangibility with a big stick. Enjoyable and yet frustrating, all at the same time.

03/21/07Super Chicken Molé$6.257.42 Mustaches
Swish: temperature (10); cheese (9); burstage abatement (9); sauciness (8); ingredient mix (8)
Shrug: size (7); meat (7); rice (7); beans (7); spiciness (7); tortilla (6)
Clang: vegetables (3)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

Hey, alright, no temperature miscues. But, oh no, hardly any veggie additives, either. Ah well, at least the shards of jack cheese were all melted. But, wait - what was up with that super-sticky tortilla? You get the picture: For every tit at Casa Mexicana, there’s apparently a tat in response. Given all the saucy abundance (this was a molé-infested burrito, after all), drip potential was high as a kite. Thankfully, there was no need to fret, as nine-mustache-quality burstage abatement saw to it that our cleanliness-obsessed judges panel only went through two chintzy napkins. In a fresh twist on an age-old truism of ingredient mixes within burritos, the rice here was actually pushed aside by a number of other elements - usually by the glurgy, but unspectacular molé and its accompanying, workmanlike chicken, which could have used an infusion of juiciness inside. The refried beans were a bit on the thin side, and frankly, so was the whole burrito, but that’s what the seven-mustache rating is for, isn’t it? Spice retained a respectable level throughout, but when the time came to judge intangibility, we couldn’t pull the maximum-bonus trigger. These things happen.

07/03/05Super Spicy Chicken$6.257.08 Mustaches
Unbeknownst to us, the Casa Mexicana brass had, at some point, withdrawn their breakfast burrito from the menu, so we were forced to go with Plan B in the form of a Super Spicy Chicken burrito - not our first choice at 11AM, but hardly a jail sentence. A partially sauce-sodden, steamed tortilla acted as the mediocre entry point into this foodpiece, and some considerable juice-drips and jarring temperature stutter-steps pulled this slab down from the get-go. The capable ingredient mix helped the whole thing maintain a certain amount of respect, while the nicely shredded chicken and surprisingly steep reading on the spice meter furthered the seven-mustache cause. But there was too much cilantro, and the cheese was globby in parts and not entirely melted. Noe Valley is no burrito hotbed.
06/01/03Super Carne Asada$5.758.00 Mustaches
Quite girthy, with a strong finish enabling it to crest the Recommendability Plateau. This concludes what is probably the most meager burrito review currently available on