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, and running on occasional Fridays,  seeks perfection one dish at a time. 

How can you tell when a food you’re eating has achieved perfection?

I was talking about food to an Italian reporter recently, and I asked him to name his favorite restaurant. “It’s not in the Mission,” he said. So, where?

It’s in the Fillmore, where he first lived when he came to San Francisco. State Bird Provisions, now with one star from Michelin, was just starting out, too. He said there were a few dishes that made him cry.

Wow. I don’t think any dish has ever made me cry, but then again, I’m not Italian. Still, wouldn’t that be wonderful? So I went in search of a dish that would bring on tears.

The likeliest trigger, I decided, was a taco at La Taqueria. I sat down and ordered my usual: one pork taco, one chicken. As usual, they combined a generous serving of meat with salsa and pinto beans. And, as always, each taco was wrapped in not one, but two corn tortillas. That’s so the taco can’t fall apart.

I thought about the meat, never dry. I thought about the pintos, always creamy. And the price—only $3.75. Cheap at twice the price, though don’t tell La Taqueria.

But I choked up over the two corn tortillas. So solicitous, so . . . loving. If I’d been raised by the owners of La Taqueria, I’m sure they would have tucked me into bed each night, wrapping me in a blanket like an extra-large taco, instead of leaving me, a middle child, to forage for myself. My eyes flooded with tears. I dabbed my cheeks with a napkin so that salt water wouldn’t fall on my taco. It was, after all, perfect.