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**

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Written by in: Intro Letter |
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**

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Written by in: Intro Letter |
Jun
01
2014

June 1, 2014

“Only those who have transcended the world can bring about a better world… Everybody you come in contact with will be touched by your presence and affected by the peace that you emanate… You teach through being, through demonstrating the peace of God.” Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

Learning about saké brewing in the Willamette Valley

Learning about saké brewing in the Willamette Valley

As I settle in as Zagat Editor for San Francisco/Bay Area, I am daily covering new openings and old favorites, drink and events all over SF and NorCal (weekly Bay Area newsletter here; follow along on Twitter @ZagatSF). I’ve been keeping busier than usual with the unreal slew of 6-8 major openings a week we’ve been experiencing in SF alone (see “Top Tastes”), while savoring inspiring overnight jaunts in places like Port Costa (articles to come).

Here’s to a rich summer for each of you…

This issue:

A Grasshopper shake at Pepe Le Moko in Portland

A Grasshopper at Pepe Le Moko in Portland

Top TastesMy Zagat Articles, May 15-31: Food & drink recommends, early tastes at new openings, major food events, coffee and cocktail coverage, South Bay day trips and more.
Wandering Traveler/ImbiberSaké in the Willamette Valley: In the heart of Oregon’s wine country… for proper saké.
Wandering TravelerOne Night in Portland: Back in PDX for an izakaya/sushi crawl and 2 cocktail bars.
Imbiber5 NorCal Beers You Should Try: Unusual small batch beers from Santa Cruz to Palo Alto, SF to Sacramento.

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 |
May
15
2014

May 15, 2014

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done!” Vincent van Gogh, My Life & Love Are One

Returning to the Eternal City... and my favorite in the world, Roma (see "Wandering Traveler")

Returning to the Eternal City… and my favorite in the world, Roma (see “Wandering Traveler”)

You may have heard: I took on the job as Zagat Editor for San Francisco/Bay Area (sign up for the weekly Bay Area newsletter here; follow along on Twitter @ZagatSF where I post daily articles).

For one who marked up Zagat guides for NY, LA, Chicago and SF – and other food books, including my favorite, Patty Unterman’s San Francisco Food Lover’s Guide – with my own rating system and notes over 15 years ago, it’s special to be providing daily content for a site that I go way back with – one that focuses on the best dishes, drinks and tastes over “the news.” So I can do what I do best: hunt down and share best discoveries with you.

Chilis on a bike at Campo dei Fiori market in Rome

Chilis on a bike at Campo dei Fiori market in Rome

My multiple daily posts and articles mean I will have to shorten articles here at the Perfect Spot, though I don’t plan on discontinuing what has been my entrance into the food writing world since I launched the site back in 2007.

Because I am sharing so much of my knowledge on Zagat daily, I will link to some of those articles here so you can peruse the many new openings and places I am photoing and writing about.

This issue:

Top TastesMy Zagat Articles, May 1-15: Food & drink recommends, early tastes at new openings, and more.
The LatestMeet You At The Square: Delighted with the food and drinks at North Beach’s latest in a historic restaurant space.
Wandering Traveler12 Food & Drink Destinations in Rome: Returning to my beloved Roma, the Eternal City.
ImbiberBests from Whiskies of the World 2014: Three standout whiskies aboard the boat this year, including Taiwan’s first whisky line – and dinner with their master blender, a stunning 1969 Scotch and experimental goodness coming out of Monterey, CA.

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 |
May
01
2014

May 1, 2014

“We do not expect people to be deeply moved by what is not unusual.” George Eliot, Middlemarch

Our own private tableside liquid nitrogen Penicillin cocktail in the kitchen of the great Eleven Madison Park in NYC

Our own private tableside liquid nitrogen Penicillin cocktail in the kitchen of the great Eleven Madison Park in NYC

Fresh on my wonderful trip to New York with Tastemade, I’ve jumped right into the throes of writing and editing, writing a guide to food, drink and Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans for 7×7 Magazine, writing for and editing the next issue of Distiller Magazine, and writing a number of articles for Zagat, including mezcal & tequila cocktail greats for Cinco de Mayo (and beyond), 25 New Restaurants to Try in the Bay Area, and my top 10 dishes on the new spring menus at Michelin-starred Quince.

This issue:

Dreamy: Spring menus at Quince (see "Top Tastes")

Dreamy: Spring menus at Quince (see “Top Tastes”)

The LatestBritish-Influenced Phan: Charles Phan and Erik Adkins new haven to cocktails and British-influenced dining.
Top Tastes10 Best Dishes on Quince’s New Spring Menus: My 12 photo slideshow/article for Zagat on one of SF’s great Michelin-starred, celebratory destinations.
Wandering TravelerOne of the World’s Greatest Restaurants: Dining at the great Eleven Madison Park in New York City.
ImbiberLodi’s Lighter Side: A range of pleasing whites & roses from California’s hot inland/heartland.
The LatestSneak Peek of Dirty Habit: The same stellar staff remain from fine dining destination Fifth Floor, now completely changed into casual-chic cocktail and food haven with the city’s hottest new outdoor patio.

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 |
Apr
15
2014

April 15, 2014

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.” William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Guam cuisine at Prubechu

Guam cuisine at Prubechu

Recently back from Seattle, I then headed immediately to New York to work on a Top 100 Bites & Drinks in Manhattan project via one minute videos with Tastemade (best viewed via phone app). Also, here are my new articles at 7×7 Magazine and Zagat, the latter featured in Imbiber below.

This issue:

A re-imagined Appletini from Claire Sprouse at The Square in my Zagat spring cocktail article

Re-imagined Appletini at The Square in my Zagat spring cocktail article

The LatestYou Haven’t Had Thai Like This: Painstaking recipes and ingredients with Thai-influenced cocktails at the best new Thai restaurant in town.
Imbiber10 Best Spring Cocktails: My 10 photo slideshow/article for Zagat on the top spring cocktails in SF.
The LatestGuam Island Breezes: Gourmet Chamorro (Guamanian) food and a 5 course tasting menu steal.
Imbiber7 Washington Craft Spirits You Should Know: Standouts after trying dozens of new small batch spirits hitting Washington state.

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 |
Apr
01
2014

April 1, 2014

“She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.”
― Annie Dillard, The Living

Spain's Ribeira Sacra wine region (see Wandering Traveler)

Spain’s Ribeira Sacra wine region (see Wandering Traveler)

This issue finds me in Seattle, moderating a panel on Women in Distilling at ADI’s Craft Spirits Conference, attended by over 1000 industry folk, with a gala dinner last night announcing craft spirits medal winners from the judging I was part of in February (also held in Seattle). In writing news: I’ve helped write Zagat guides, but I just wrote my first article and slide show for Zagat on a fantastic new spot, Trou Normand.

This issue:

The new Lolo (see The Latest)

The new Lolo (see The Latest)

The Latest3 Reasons To Check Out the New Lolo: One of the Mission’s long underrated gems gets a new home and new life.
ImbiberWhy You Should Hunt Down Real Schnaps: Drink lovers are missing out on the real deal. Exploring exciting producers in Austria, plus where to find quality schnaps & cocktails in the US.
Wandering TravelerThe Spain You’ve Never Met: Exploring the brilliant seafood and drink of Spain’s northwest Galicia, a region that feels as much like Ireland as Spain.
ImbiberWhite Spring: Alsace varietals (and more) in Mendocino County – and a few other Alsace-influenced wines from the West Coast.
Around the BayCarmel Weekend: A romantic hotel in the center of town with a Michelin-starred restaurant.
ImbiberImbiber: St. George Spirits lovely new Nola coffee liqueur.

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

Virginia
Twittertwitter.com/ThePerfectSpot
Facebookwww.facebook.com/ThePerfectSpot

Spoonwiz Restaurant Reviews & Travel Articles
Liquor.com Contributor Page
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/theperfectspot

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

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Written by in: Intro Letter |
Mar
15
2014

March 15, 2014

“A writer is someone who pays attention to the world – a writer is a professional observer.” - Susan Sontag

Driving outside of Salzburg, Austria

Driving outside of Salzburg, Austria

I’m off to Oregon for a sake and izakaya press trip, but meanwhile have been savoring the continued radiant weather at home with walks in the park, front stoop drinks with neighbors, and gazing out at the ocean with The Renaissance Man.

This action-packed issue covers eight new pizza joints, rare whiskies, highlights of my return to Austria, a tribute to an SF burger legend:

Among the best Bay Area pizzas... in Los Gatos

Among the best Bay Area pizzas… in Los Gatos

Top TastesBy the Slice: Highlights from 8 new Bay Area pizza joints, from Philo down to Los Gatos.
ImbiberWhisky & Cognac Rarities: The privilege of tasting 50 Year Old Scotch and a 1950 Cognac.
Wandering TravelerDreamy Austria: Returning to the fairy tale city of Salzburg for joys in chocolate, one of the best wine bars anywhere, the oldest operating restaurant in the world, and much more.
ImbiberAmerican Whiskey Rarities: Two American whiskies with Stitzel-Weller & Old Bernheim ties.
Wandering TravelerDreamy Austria, Pt. 2: Exploring the Austrian city of Innsbruck.
Top TastesTribute to an SF Burger Legend: The final day – after 49 years – of Joe’s Cable Car, via photos.

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

Virginia
Twittertwitter.com/ThePerfectSpot
Facebookwww.facebook.com/ThePerfectSpot

Spoonwiz Restaurant Reviews & Travel Articles
Liquor.com Contributor Page
Pinteresthttp://pinterest.com/theperfectspot

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

FacebookShare
Written by in: Intro Letter |

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