Photo by Lydia Chávez

We can blame Chad Robertson for this. He’s set the gold standard by consistently turning out perfectly chewy/crusty/memorable loaves at Tartine Bakery.

When foodies make such a monumental deal about food, why shouldn’t we expect  perfection in every bite?  So, while others give you reviews, Perfect (or Not), launched on May 12, 2014, seeks perfection one dish at a time. 

Since launching Perfect (or Not), I’ve been eating a lot with that standard in mind and it’s hard to meet. There’s always something a little bit off.  But then I bite into a an ancient grain loaf from Tartine and decide that, no, perfection does exist.

I started thinking about Bi-Rite’s Mexican Chocolate ice cream with Salted Peanuts. I’m not a fan of chocolate, which is why I can still remember that first bite on a chilly fall day in 2008. Standing in the front of a fireplace, I felt the heat of Oaxaca on my face. The sweet bitterness of mole on my tongue. The memory of Rodrigo in my . . .

What I’m saying is, in my memory, it was perfect. But was it?  I went to Bi-Rite on Saturday to get some for dinner.

What? No Mexican Chocolate with Salted Peanuts? Crazed, I read over and over again the list of ice creams for sale on the fogged-up freezer door.  ARGH.

Maybe a pint was tucked away behind the prosaic vanillas and Salted Caramel. I opened the freezer door. Bi-Rate hates that, because it raises the temperature inside. But when you’re looking for perfection, you can’t let anything—consideration of others, global warming, whatever—get in your way.

A Bi-rite employee walked up. I closed the door.

“Seasonal,” said the cashier, by way of explanation. How can that even be possible? I could see where strawberry or peach ice cream could be seasonal. But chocolate and peanuts?

Well, it turns out the Hazelnut is good. But it isn’t perfect.  Still, nobody said this would be easy.

Until next week.

Lydia Chávez

I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor at Berkeley’s J-school until 2019. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. The Tribune...

Sandra Salmans

I provide editing support for Mission Local from New York, about 2500 miles away from SFO. (I just looked it up.) This allows me to retain my journalistic objectivity and fussy adherence to East Coast...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *