Dan Johnson of Burritophile wants to meet up at Taqueria El Castillito, on Golden Gate Avenue, just a stone's throw away from City Hall. This SFist knows this to be a good thing, having worked in the area for a number of years. We're well acquainted with the place, and it's gold. To us, it lends a lot of credibility to Dan and Co.'s Web-based burrito review service; one problem with your typical review site is you don't know how the staff's sensibilities mesh with yours.
Cate Czerwinski, another editor at the site, joins us shortly after we ordered. She's actually the one who's behind the editorial review of El Castillito on the site; Cate gave it an 8 out of 10 overall. If we weren't inclined to agree (and we might rate it a tick higher, come to think of it), we could always post our own review on Burritophile. That's the point: Burritophile offers a good, expanding mix of reviews from site staff as well as anyone else who cares to give an opinion. The whole point is to provide visitors near and far with opinions from people passionate about burritos. Or, as the site says, "We are burritophiles--a few people who seek to know everything about eating burritos and want to help others do the same." It also says "we're no more qualified than you--so start writing."
Cate and Dan agree that this is likely the greatest "burrito city" in the country. Burritophile is currently Bay Area- and California-centric, but has reviews from 47 states. Dan tells us that, ultimately, he'd consider the site a true success if he's driving through, say, Lincoln Nebraska, has a hankering for a burrito, and can access Burritophile via a mobile device and find an above-average place to satisfy that craving. Cate, Dan, and a third friend, Aaron Best, had been talking since 2004 about trying something like this, and started Burritophile in July 2005.
Of course, we've had many (a few too many?) burritos in our day, but these guys have turned it into a hobby. This afternoon, we're analogous to the guy that's been to the MOMA a dozen times but never bothered to take the guided tour until today; Dan and Cate are serving as the docents.
It turns out to be pretty enlightening eating. Dan's excited--he'd just broken a "bad streak" (a whole slew of sub-par burritos) the day before, and his "al pastor" at Castillito continues this positive trend. He breaks it down.
"This burrito totally rocks," he says. "Al pastor can be very very difficult -- when it's good, it's really good; when it's bad, it's really bad--very little middle ground."