April 1, 2022

“We do not quit playing because we grow old. We grow old because we quit playing.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes

Dear friends ~

Willy Wonka dinner at Merchant Roots

Welcome Spring! As you can see from the articles this issue, I’ve been doing the usual: eating everywhere, sharing a number of notable new openings and latest tastes at longtimers at home and further afield, which I’ve written about in a range of publications these past couple weeks.

It has been a full two weeks of spirits judging, first at SF World Spirits Competition, then as a lead judge in my 11th year at ADI International Craft Distilling (at the latter, it was an unexpected honor to receive a Glencairn crystal alembic still-shaped decanter inscribed with my name to commemorate over a decade judging)!

Sandy’s muffaletta

We blind-tasted and judged/scored literally hundreds of spirits from around the globe for each of the awards. Each year, I judge exciting major and small brands — this year was a rich one judging everything, including vermouth, Scotch, baijiu, shochu, RTDs, rum, gin, American whiskies, vodka, absinthe, global whiskies, agave spirits from bacanora to mezcal, liqueurs, and much more. It’s inspiring to see the growth in quality, especially in craft (small batch) distilling each year and in explosive categories like RTDs (canned, ready-to-drink).

Now I am off to Mexico City for a quick work trip to celebrate the launch of Tequila Avion‘s first Cristalino, which I’ve been co-creating from the ground up the last year and a half with Pernod Ricard (details in Avion’s press release and in national press like Maxim). Salud!

In addition to my regular articles at The Bold Italic, my weekly dining column reviews one restaurant each week. I welcome those interested to follow me, or even sign up for a membership for my articles at Medium, which partially goes to support us as writers. Follow or support here. I thank you.

Per usual, I’m posting my daily research in dining and drink at @ThePerfectSpot on TwitterFacebookInstagram.


Empress by Boon

Top Tastes — Willy Wonka Wonderland: Merchant Roots’ themed tasting menu releases your inner child.
The Latest — March Eats Checklist: From bagels to banh mi, five newcomers (and one seafood classic) to dine at now.
Imbiber — 5 New Bars & Bar Menus to Drink (and Eat) Now: Whether a gorgeous new bar with heartwarming food or a The World’s 50 Best Discovery Bar reborn after a devastating fire, these five are worth drinking at now.
Wandering Traveler — Los Angeles Travel: Spring 2022 Restaurant & Food Guide.
Wandering TravelerReinventing Rare Classic Gin Cocktails: At bars in San Francisco, Hong Kong & London.
Top Tastes — Pasta Heaven: Reviewing the newly reborn Flour + Water.
Imbiber — Distiller Magazine: My Interviews with Redbird bar manager Tobin Shea & The Spirit Guild distiller Miller Duvall in Los Angeles.

I am also available for consulting, moderating, leading classes and tastings and more (info at virginia-miller.com).


ThePerfect Spot Founder
The Worlds 50 Best Restaurants’ Academy Chair
Table8 National Editor/VP — ZAGAT SF Editor — SF Bay Guardian Critic

**Judge or Lead Judge at ADI International Craft Spirits, SF World SpiritsTales of the Cocktail Spirited AwardsIWSC Spirits, Whiskies of World, World Gin AwardsWorld Drinks Awards**

Regular Outlets:
Bobcut Dining Column — 
The Bold Italic — Liquor.com — Food Republic — WhereTraveler — Gin Magazine — Time Out Dining & Drink — Distiller Magazine — Haute Living — Google’s Touringbird — Oakland Magazine — Wine Access

Alaska Airlines Magazine,Whisky Magazine UKThrillistThe Times LondonLiquor.com DrinkwirePaste Magazine TravelEaterTasting Panel, PureWow, Drink Me MagazineSpoonwizCitysearch, NBC’s The Feast, Blackboard Eats, Tasting Table, Grubstreet

Books: Pur in Spirit & Distilled Stories