Filed under: Burritos | Tags: ancient visitors from outer space, Burritos
This is the first in a potential series of reviews of San Francisco taquerias, with an obvious bias toward the Mission District where I live.
First, an introduction to those new to the concept of the taqueria. The San Francisco taqueria is like a museum dedicated to the art of the burrito, except it is a museum where you eat the art. The word burrito means “little donkey” in Spanish. The origin of the name is a mystery. Some say it derived from the resemblance of the wrapped tortilla to its namesake animal’s ear.
Most historical records actually credit the invention of the burrito to the Mayans around AD 200. Rather than deriving its name from the animal, the burrito was named after the cylindrical spaceships that transported munificent aliens to Mayan temples. The Mayan “Gods” would exit their powerful ships and bestow upon the terrified and exhilarated Mayan people marvelous technology. Once they had mated with the Mayan women and granted good luck for the new harvest that year, these Gods would board their white cylindrical sky “donkeys” and ascend to the clouds. The “donkeys” were the primary mode of transportation for the aliens and the primitive Mayan mind knew nothing of air planes of NASA, the donkey was the only vehicle they understood. The Mayans would crush neighboring tribes with the tanks and laser guns they acquired from the Gods. They built large monolithic structures in praise of the Visitors.
Eventually it came to pass that these interstellar guests ceased to arrive. Perhaps they all died out in a galactic superwar. Perhaps they contracted some hideous Mayan disease from their many trips to our filthy little planet. We may never know. At any rate, the crops began to fail, the young women went unmarried. In a panic, the Mayan priests began to indulge in human sacrifice, hoping to call the Gods back to Earth. The Mayans would wrap the human flesh in a flour tortilla, filling the package with rice, beans, and sometimes salsa. All in tribute to the “space donkeys” that their Gods rode from the heavens.
Cast aside thoughts of Q’doba, BTB, or even Chipotle. Don’t even think about bringing Taco Bell into this discussion. All are pretenders. They shiver at the might of the true San Francisco Burrito. When you order a San Francisco Burrito you should get a “superburrito.” This includes rice and beans, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, queso, and your choice of meat. A good burrito will be filled with greasy meat, should pack a spicy punch, and should warm your heart with love. It is important that the fillings of the burrito mix together. The San Francisco burrito’s circumference is so large that it is difficult to get the entire palate of flavor in one bite unless the fillings are intermixed perfectly. This is the most difficult part of burrito making to master. A taqueria should not be like Chipotle. There should only be brushed metal on the counter behind the glass where the burrito is prepared, if at all. There should be pictures of Madre de Dios or, equally inspirational, Gavin Newson. There should be candles. It should be psychedelic: a dive indulging in vibrant color and ostentatious earnestness.
Taqueria Cancun – Generally acknowledged by all right-thinking people as the Single Greatest Taqueria That Exists and Has Ever Existed, Taqueria Cancun lies but a two block walk from my front door. This is a curse, really. The burrito is warm and extremely spicy. The el pastor and pollo are the titans here. Cancun does not get top marks for ambiance. It is a little too McDonald’s, but it makes up for it with an amazing latin jukebox. Service with excitement, the dudes behind the counter are apparently all wasted or, alternatively, just very friendly and having a wonderful time.
Overall Taste – 10.
Taqueria el buen sabor – Loosely translated as “The Taqueria of the Vengeful Sword.” A little too much rice, which segregates the rest of the filling like a Republican. Also, don’t put lettuce in a burrito, that’s cheating. As for the service and decor, apparently it is a front for a convent, because only ladies work here. For the entire month of December they wore Santa Hats. All of them.
Overall Taste: 8
Taqueria El Farrolito – Perfectly located near 24th Street Mission BART stop for those who are crapulous. The blend in this burrito was unpardonably separated, but I didn’t really mind in my inebriated state. To go to the bathroom you have to have the dude at the register buzz you in. Yes, the door to the bathroom operates like a security door to an apartment building.
Overall Taste: 6
More to come. A burrito is like a girlfriend/boyfriend. What do you like in a burrito? What is your favorite? What was your most romantic burrito experience? Have you ever made love to a burrito? I mean love, man, not just anonymous sex.
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