Aug
01
2014

Imbiber

Erik Adkins cocktails at South at SFJAZZ - the new Mexican restaurant from Charles Phan

Erik Adkins cocktails at South at SFJAZZ – the new Mexican restaurant from Charles Phan

My Top Drink Articles: July 15-31

Photos and articles by Virginia Miller

From my 15 articles/posts a week as Zagat Editor, I summarize and link to just some of this coverage here – you can sign up for Zagat’s weekly newsletter for the Bay Area here and follow along on Twitter @ZagatSF, where I post daily.

Cocktails

San Francisco wins at TALES OF THE COCKTAIL

ERIK ADKINS’ cocktails at CHARLES PHAN new Mexican restaurant/bar, SOUTH

Full bar and cocktail menu at NEW, EXPANDED OUTERLANDS by Ocean Beach

Pam Bushling’s garden-fresh cocktails in SONOMA (Healdsburg) at romantic MADRONA MANOR

Wine & cocktail recommends (French-centric) at Corey Lee’s new MONSIEUR BENJAMIN

A fantastic Lavender Flip and more at brand new SHAKEWELL in OAKLAND

Destination Oakland: cocktails at seafood haven, alaMar

Wine

New CADET wine + beer bar in NAPA

BARREL ROOM ROCKRIDGE’s wine classes study Spanish and Portuguese wines

Beer

ABBOTS CELLAR sells rare beers from its (and Monk’s Kettle) cellars

Books

3 NEW BOOKS (2 of them cocktail books from drink experts in NY and Portland)

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Written by in: Imbiber | Tags: , ,
Jul
15
2014

July 15, 2014

“I am the rain coming from the dew
that causes the grasses to laugh with the joy of life.
I call forth tears, the aroma of holy work.
I am the yearning for good.”
– Hildegard of Bingen

Stones Throw's stellar summer menu

Stones Throw’s stellar summer menu

This newsletter is going out a bit late (I apologize), but I’m shooting for the next one to be on time. Just back from New Orleans and savoring these balmy San Francisco nights, I’m a bit behind on work but grateful to be home as I was to gather the pieces of home I always feel keenly in NOLA.

This issue:

Top TastesMy Top Food Articles, July 1-15: 15 of my latest Zagat articles on new restaurants, underrated spots, weekend escapes and noteworthy events.
ImbiberMy Top Drink Articles, July 1-15: 11 of my latest articles on cocktail menus, quality drinks around the Bay Area, highlights in wine and beer.

As your personal concierge who tells it like a good friend would, I also create personalized itineraries: trips, meals, explorations (under “Services“).

Virginia

CLICKABLE LINKS to Social Media & Articles:
Twitter
Facebook

Liquor.com
Zagat
7×7 Magazine
Spoonwiz
Pinterest

**Unless otherwise noted, all photos by Virginia Miller**

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Written by in: Intro Letter |
Jul
15
2014

Top Tastes

Kusukabe's fantastic omakase sushi dinners

Kusukabe’s fantastic omakase sushi dinners

My Top Food Articles: July 1-15

Photos and articles by Virginia Miller

From my 15 articles/posts a week as Zagat Editor, I summarize and link to just some coverage highlights here – you can sign up for Zagat’s weekly newsletter for highlights here and follow along on Twitter @ZagatSF, where I post daily.

As I have been for over a decade, I’m on the ground daily looking for early standouts at each new opening, while sharing underrated places and dishes you’ve seen me write about here at The Perfect Spot for years, and, of course, plenty of drink coverage (cocktails, wine, spirits, beer).

New Bay Area Openings

First Look at PABU from MICHAEL MINA

KUSAKABE’s Omakase Sushi Experience in Pictures

ABV: Elevated COCKTAILS & BAR FOOD from cocktail gurus and a Southern chef

First Look at CHUBBY NOODLE in the MARINA

What to Order at CAUSWELLS, New in the MARINA

Early Tastes at BIG CHEF TOM’S PORK BELLY BURGERS

What to Order at STREET TACO, New on HAIGHT ST.

10 HOTTEST RESTAURANTS in the Bay Area Now

Every Friday: 25 NEW RESTAURANTS TO TRY IN THE BAY AREA

Underrated & Established Spots

7 HOTTEST BBQ RESTAURANTS in the Bay Area

STONES THROW’s Stellar Summer Menu – 4 Top Dishes

Secretly Awesome: Dumplings and hand-pulled noodles at HOUSE OF PANCAKES

East Bay

Secretly Awesome: SACRED WHEEL in OAKLAND

Napa

LA TOQUE Makes Truffle Dinners a Summer Affair

South Bay/Peninsula

31st UNION Serves FARM-To-TABLE in SAN MATEO

Events/Dinner Series

CHARLIE TROTTER Inspires New PARALLEL 37 (at the Ritz-Carlton) Dinners

Free EAT DRINK SF PREVIEW SERIES Every Saturday in July

OUTSIDE LANDS Summer Pairing Series from NAPA to SF

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Written by in: Top Tastes |
Jul
15
2014

Imbiber

Alembic's Heir Apparent, one of my 7 top summer cocktails

Alembic’s Heir Apparent, one of my 7 top summer cocktails

My Top Drink Articles: July 1-15

Photos and articles by Virginia Miller

From my 15 articles/posts a week as Zagat Editor, I summarize and link to just some of this coverage here – you can sign up for Zagat’s weekly newsletter for the Bay Area here and follow along on Twitter @ZagatSF, where I post daily.

Cocktails

The 7 BEST SUMMER COCKTAILS in the Bay Area

The 10 HOTTEST BARS in SF Right Now

ABV: Elevated COCKTAILS & BAR FOOD from cocktail gurus and a Southern chef

8 FAVORITE COCKTAILS on WINGTIP‘s New Summer Menu

BLACKBIRD’s 5th Anniversary unique vertical barrel aged cocktails menu

4 UNIQUE STRAWBERRY COCKTAILS for Summer

First Taste at Parisian-influenced HAWTHORN LOUNGE with “Guilty Pleasure” 70s & 80s cocktails from ALEMBIC’s ETHAN TERRY

Wine

CHARLIE TROTTER Inspires New PARALLEL 37 (at the Ritz-Carlton) Dinners

LA TOQUE Makes Truffle Dinners a Summer Affair

OUTSIDE LANDS Summer Pairing Series from NAPA to SF

Beer

OUTSIDE LANDS Summer Pairing Series from NAPA to SF

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Written by in: Imbiber |
Jul
01
2014

July 1, 2014

“There is a vitality, a life force that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.” – Martha Graham

Nico low proof cocktails (see Imbiber)

Nico low proof cocktails (see Imbiber)

Here’s hoping you’re experiencing rich summers thus far… as I work on articles from recent travels in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, Seattle and NYC, I also head to New Orleans for my annual (if not more often) trip to one of the great food cities on earth where I am also a judge this year for Tales of the Cocktail’s international Spirited Awards.

In other news, here is my recent interview on the Dining Around show talking cocktails with the charming Joel Riddell…

This issue:

Saison - interview with Chef Josh Skenes (see Top Tastes)

Interview w/ Saison chef Josh Skenes (see Top Tastes)

Top TastesMy Top Food Articles, June 15-30: 15 of my latest Zagat articles on new restaurants, underrated spots, weekend escapes north and east of SF, new East Bay openings and an interview with Josh Skenes of Saison.
ImbiberMy Top Drink Articles, June 15-30: 9 of my latest articles on new cocktail menus, quality drinks around the Bay Area, the best beer gardens, wine lists and more.

As your personal concierge who tells it like a good friend would, I also create personalized itineraries: trips, meals, explorations (under “Services“).

Virginia

CLICKABLE LINKS to Social Media & Articles:
Twitter
Facebook

Liquor.com
Zagat
7×7 Magazine
Spoonwiz
Pinterest

**Unless otherwise noted, all photos by Virginia Miller**

FacebookShare
Written by in: Intro Letter |
Jul
01
2014

Top Tastes

Dining at 2 Michelin-starred Saison - interview with Chef Josh Skenes below

Dining at 2 Michelin-starred Saison – interview with Chef Josh Skenes below

My Top Food Articles: June 15-30

Photos and articles by Virginia Miller

From my 15 articles/posts a week as Zagat Editor, I summarize and link to just some coverage highlights here – you can sign up for Zagat’s weekly newsletter for highlights here and follow along on Twitter @ZagatSF, where I post daily.

As I have been for over a decade, I’m on the ground daily looking for early standouts at each new opening, while sharing underrated places and dishes you’ve seen me write about here at The Perfect Spot for years, and, of course, plenty of drink coverage (cocktails, wine, spirits, beer).

My biggest feature article of the last two weeks hit yesterday, in line with Best Thing We Ate lists in each Zagat city around the US – here is my list of the top 12 Best Thing We Ate dishes in the Bay Area this year so far.

Interviews

Chef JOSH SKENES on SAISON’s New $498 Test Kitchen Dinners and Winemaker Dinner Series

New Bay Area Openings

What to eat at MARLA BAKERY’s restaurant, just open in Outer Richmond

First Look at BELCAMPO MEATS new San Francisco restaurant and sustainable, ethical butcher shop

New PIATTINI ADDS A SLICE OF VENICE to Mission St.

Every Friday: 25 NEW RESTAURANTS TO TRY IN THE BAY AREA

URBAN PUTT GETS BOOZE – and what to eat one month in at the quirky mini-golf restaurant/bar

Day Trip: Port Costa

If Savannah (or other quirky, historic Southern town) met a California Gold Country Western town, it might feel a lot like PORT COSTA, home to one of the country’s best dive bars and a cosmopolitan restaurant and cocktail bar

East Bay

Early Tastes at PERDITION SMOKEHOUSE in BERKELEY from Mikkeller Bar SF & The Trappist Founder

What to eat & drink at downtown OAKLAND‘s new CAPTAIN & CORSET

Secretly Awesome: TRABOCCO’s pizza and pasta in an ALAMEDA strip mall

Rockridge’s (Oakland) OSMANTHUS renews your fried brussels sprouts crush

Underrated & Established Spots

8 reasons to revisit LOCAL KITCHEN & WINE MERCHANT in SoMa

The 8 BEST HOT DOGS in San Francisco

Unsung Heroes: SF’s best Afghani food for over 20 years at HELMAND PALACE

The 10 BEST PLACE FOR FRIED CHICKEN in San Francisco

NICO ADDS NEW ROSE PAIRING and LOW PROOF COCKTAIL menus with these dishes

THREE TWINS ORGANIC ICE CREAM & GOTT’s ROADSIDE join forces

South Bay/Peninsula

LEXINGTON HOUSE, a destination restaurant and cocktail haven in LOS GATOS

Elegant weekend escape to CARMEL (where your boutique hotel houses a Michelin-starred restaurant)

Silky crudo, standout salads and Carlos Yturria’s cocktails at LURE + TILL in PALO ALTO

Events/Dinner Series

ICHI, Commonwealth and more join STONES THROW CHARITY DINNERS throughout the summer

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Jul
01
2014

Imbiber

Cafe Brulot flamed in the glass at Tosca Cafe

Cafe Brulot flamed in the glass at Tosca Cafe by bar manager Isaac Shumway

My Top Drink Articles: June 15-30

Photos and articles by Virginia Miller

From my 15 articles/posts a week as Zagat Editor, I summarize and link to just some of this coverage here – you can sign up for Zagat’s weekly newsletter for the Bay Area here and follow along on Twitter @ZagatSF, where I post daily.

Cocktails

Real deal, New Orleans-style CAFE BRULOT – flamed tableside! – now on 2 notable SF cocktail menus

8 reasons to revisit LOCAL KITCHEN & WINE MERCHANT in SoMa – Victoria D’Amato-Moran’s new cocktail menu

URBAN PUTT GETS BOOZE – and what to eat one month in at the quirky mini-golf restaurant/bar

If Savannah (or other quirky, historic Southern town) met a California Gold Country Western town, it might feel a lot like PORT COSTA, home to one of the country’s best dive bars and a cosmopolitan restaurant and cocktail bar

NICO ADDS NEW ROSE PAIRING and LOW PROOF COCKTAIL menus with these dishes

The BEST COCKTAILS in LOS GATOS – and some of the best in the South Bay

Silky crudo, standout salads and Carlos Yturria’s cocktails at LURE + TILL in PALO ALTO

Wine

Chef JOSH SKENES on SAISON’s New $498 Test Kitchen Dinners and Winemaker Dinner Series

NICO ADDS NEW ROSE PAIRING and LOW PROOF COCKTAIL menus with these dishes

Wine tasting room in a submarine training vessel DEBUTS ON TREASURE ISLAND

New PIATTINI ADDS A SLICE OF VENICE to Mission St.

3 new LOCAL WINE COUNTRY GUIDES

Beer

The 8 BEST BEER GARDENS in the Bay Area

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Written by in: Imbiber | Tags: , ,
Jun
15
2014

June 15, 2014

“Few women, I fear have had such reason as I have to think the long sad years of youth were worth living for the sake of middle age.” George Eliot in her diary in 1857

Bar food re-imagined: chicken-skin chips dipped in smoky eggplant cream at The European (see "Top Tastes" & "Imbiber")

Bar food re-imagined: chicken-skin chips dipped in smoky eggplant cream at The European (see “Top Tastes” & “Imbiber”)

Are we really at the halfway point of 2014? In the last couple weeks, I’ve been a judge in an Angel’s Envy bourbon cocktail competition with master distiller/owner Wes Henderson here from Kentucky, and participated on a small panel with other spirits experts blind tasting local whiskies, which will soon be featured in 7×7 Magazine.

This issue:

Top TastesMy Top Food Articles, June 1-15: 15 of my latest Zagat articles on new restaurants, underrated spots and a Napa great with fresh blood; also: a chef interview and a classic restaurant’s 25th anniversary dinners.
ImbiberMy Top Drink Articles, June 1-15: 9 of my latest articles on new cocktail menus, a coffee classic, a revolutionary new tea shop, and 4 new local spirits.
Imbiber6 New West Coast Spirits: New Left Coast greats include amari, coffee liqueur, sloe gin, aperitif/vermouth and whiskies.

As your personal concierge who tells it like a good friend would, I also create personalized itineraries: trips, meals, explorations (under “Services“).

Virginia

CLICKABLE LINKS to Social Media & Articles:
Twitter
Facebook

Liquor.com
Zagat
7×7 Magazine
Spoonwiz
Pinterest

**Unless otherwise noted, all photos by Virginia Miller**

FacebookShare
Written by in: Intro Letter |

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