Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Taqueria Cancun on Mission and 19th Isn't as Good or Consistent as it Used To Be

There! I said it!

Yesterday, I ate yet another disappointing burrito from Taqueria Cancun on Mission and 19th. It marked the first burrito of the new year, a time to look forward, yet it echoed a continued, frightening trend at one of the most highly regarded burrito establishments in San Francisco: Their burritos are inconsistent.

Sometimes the burrito is perfect. A friend of mine wrote the best description ever of the Taqueria Cancun burrito in the SF Bay Guardian many years ago which perfectly captured what can be one of the most amazing experiences in cheap eating ever. I dare not try and re-conjure his ode right now. Suffice it to say, they can be extremely good, aside from the post meal bloating and guilt.

More recently, however, the main feeling I have after eating one is a longing for my lost youth, for a time when life was reckless, when the Magic Donut and Burgr [sic] shop was not a pharmacy, and when my metabolism functioned fast enough to process the whole log with cold, clean efficiency.

Here are some of my theories as to the TC's burrito downturn:

Staffing
This could be the main factor. There is a real art to the mix of the 'to. And there is one guy at Cancun who's really damn good. You know the guy, right? Looks a bit older than everyone else, has a goatee, and if he's in the pit, you got some good times coming. When he's absent, it's burrito roulette. I think his technique allows a little more liquid from the beans and salsa to spill into the tortilla which is crucial because my main complaint now is that

The burritos are tasting too dry
A burrito should be juicy. There should be mingling of meat juice and salsa juice and bean juice and melted cheese should also serve as a helpful flavor epoxy. But there now seem to be juice dams set up in the burrito these days which allow for some bites with moisture and some that are as dry as the Black Rock Desert. What's one of the major inconvenient truths contributing to this?

Too Much Rice
Especially the one I had yesterday. I had a couple bites that were all tortilla and rice. What up with that? Compounding the problem might be

The Pinto Beans
They are no longer reliable in their deliciousness. About half the time the beans are tasting a little pasty, overcooked and flavorless. Did they take out the lard maybe? PUT BACK THE LARD! What did they do? It's bothering me.

Finally, I think

They're getting too large
They're already enormous. Larger only seems to prolong the disappointment.

I haven't been to Cancun farther up on Mission, but I hear from trusted sources/brothers that it's a more reliable experience up there. It may just come down to the fact that the one on near 19th is really too busy.

I'm not going to give up on them, though. I hope some of these issues are reversible in 2007. It pains me to look at all the hipsters in their scruffy short Dickie pants and dirty caps and oversized sunglasses thinking they're enjoying the ultimate burrito when I know the truth: That they really should have been in San Francisco in the late 90's.

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4 Comments:

Blogger pnachtrieb said...

Another opinion from George:
"My problem with them is sometimes that the burrito was actually too wet and not rolled tight enough. And sometimes the taste seems off too.

12:01 PM  
Blogger {mto} said...

Check out Burritoeater, he rates burritos on a mustache system...see his recommended taquerias section.

http://burritoeater.com/main.php

2:48 PM  
Blogger pnachtrieb said...

oh i like the site! I love the health department link too.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous George said...

This is brother George. I just really wanted to emphasize how strongly I feel about tight b-toe rolling. It must have wicked structural integrity and fantastic, fresh, fully integrated taste.

9:09 PM  

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