Posts filed under ‘Recommendations’

I heart Sweet Constructions

Sweet Constructions is now my favorite cookie company.

I first encountered Sweet Constructions one Friday afternoon while making my weekly visit to Moxsie Street Eats (each week Moxsie invites different street food vendors to their little parking lot to serve up their delicious edible creations to the local Palo Alto community – it is really fantastic!!!). On this particular Friday Sweet Constructions shared the lot with Curry Up Now and The Chai Cart.

I was in a bit of a hurry so we beelined for Sweet Constructions. I had visited their website in anticipation of Street Eats and was dying to try their goods. I got a chocolate crackle cookie and two mini cupcakes, red velvet and salted caramel latte.

After having lunch with Sofie and putting her down for her nap I was finally able to try out my treats. I had just set a cup of tea and the chocolate crackle cookie on my coffee table when I heard a beep on my computer – new email. I went to check it. A few seconds later I heard my dog licking his lips, rather too happily, and realized I had made a fatal mistake. I had left my cookie unattended in a spot all too easy for my dog to snag it. Based on it being at his level he probably thought it was a gift – one he obviously really enjoyed. I was quite saddened by the loss of the cookie, imagining what it would have tasted like. I tweeted “Got a delicious looking @sfcookies chocolate crackle @moxsie street eats…I left it unattended for a minute and my dog ate it. So so sad.” And they very kindly tweeted back “@jeanniecarriere next time we’re @moxsie introduce yourself & your dog. We’ll give u a chocolate crackle. U can eat it in front of him.”

Luckily I had the two mini cupcakes to drown my sadness in, and the salted caramel latte one was like nothing I’d ever tasted before, lots of deep layers of flavors that sneak up on you, super good. But I still really wanted a chocolate crackle, they were calling to me. After a few days I broke down and ordered some online since i wasn’t sure when I’d cross their path again. 

My delivery arrived yesterday with an unexpected extra bag of 4 crackles (!) and a note saying, “Thanks for your order! We were sorry to hear you didn’t get to taste teh crackles at Moxsie, so we added a few more crackles to your box. Just keep these away from the dog” How awesome is that? I love when people seem to really care about what they do, their customers and don’t hesitate to spread a little goodwill.  So in addition to entrancing my taste buds with their cookies, they have won my heart with a simple yet thoughtful and much appreciated gesture.

You must be wondering, how do the chocolate crackles taste? In a word – AMAZING. They are almost like mini chocolate pavlovas but with an inside more like a pillowy brownie. Despite being delivered they tasted so fresh, like a neighbor had just baked a batch and dropped them on my doorstep. You can tell the ingredients are top notch and a lot of love went into them. To die for. They are also the perfect size. If you need a treat but want to be good, you can stick with one. But if you want to take the plunge you can go in for a second and still not feel too guilty. At least that is what I’m telling myself since I ate two in a row…before lunch.

If you’re local to San Francisco you’ll find them at a handful of locations in the city, including their roving Cookie Cart which is usually on Valencia Street at 20th on Friday evenings or on the road at special events, like Moxsie Street Eats. Check out their “About” section on their website for details. Don’t despair if you’re further away since they will ship cookies directly to you and I can attest that they show up fresh tasting and ready to be devoured! I suggest you order some chocolate crackles immediately (at a minimum). I am actually about to send a sampler to my brother at his clothing and accessory store Uncle Pete’s in Boston. I expect he’ll share some with the lucky customers who happen to be shopping when it arrives 🙂

If I manage to snap a photo of a crackle before finishing them I’ll update this post with it so you can see what I mean when I say they were calling to me.

Definitely check them out!
twitter: @sfcookies


June 24, 2010 at 7:05 pm 1 comment

What a week – my inner foodie is content (for the moment)

Since we moved to Palo Alto I have found myself wanting in the food discovery and enjoyment department. Don’t get me wrong, we have had some great food and the local produce and farmer’s markets are amazing. But yet, something has been missing. Between not knowing too many people here, my husband’s current diet (he’s opting for a mostly vegetarian, low/no-fat diet) and just settling in and getting the lay of the land I haven’t stumbled on any really great-get-giddy-excited eateries. I also miss our favorite go tos back home (in particular Italian food).

But that all changed this week. My family was in town visiting giving me a reason (and company) to hit the streets and try out some new places. I also finally figured out why there is a different truck serving food to long lines just down the street from us every week – THANK YOU Moxie. Great discoveries happened and my inner foodie is finally content for the time being. Read on for more details…

The Ferry Building Marketplace
A must visit for for anyone who likes to eat. We’ve been meaning to hit the Ferry Building for a while now, but only just made it this Tuesday while my family was visiting. And if we were to move out of Palo Alto, we may have to move within walking distance of this place. The long corridor is lined with amazing shops selling every kind of fresh and prepared food imaginable from mushrooms to local organic meat to seafood to sweet baked goods to fresh local produce. There were also a number of places selling interesting housewares. I think we’ll be going back for some new plates and bowls. All of this with a focus on local and sustainable products. I was in heaven and wanted to buy everything. The environment was just really nice and inviting as well. You wanted to spend hours there looking through all the shops, and when you tired of that you could grab a snack or a coffee and head outside to find a seat by the water. It was calm and peaceful (Note: we were there on a Tuesday, I imagine it could get quite a bit more congested). We will be back many times and I’ll share more details as we do. In the meantime, read up on our favorite find of our first trip there – Boccalone. 

Boccalone – Tasty Salted Pig Parts
Need I say anymore? We first heard of Boccalone from the Food Network on an episode of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” when someone went to his place and spoke about the amazing cured meats you could get, including a meat cone, which I have now had the pleasure of experiencing first hand. For $3.50 you can get a paper cone filled with uber delicious meat. It is fun and a really great way to sample their offerings so you can decide what to take home with you. They start with sustainably-raised, heritage-breed pork and create amazing salumi (cured meats, fresh sausages and items like pate and mortadella). I sampled the Mortadella, Prosciutto Cotto and Lonza in my meat cone. All super delicious. I always love Mortadella and cannot wait to go back and try a Mortadella hot dog! My favorite was the Prosciutto Cotto though. It was really meaty and had great flavor and texture. It would be fantastic in a sandwich or cooked in an omelet or some pasta. If there wasn’t such a huge line behind Jeromy (who had already paid) I would have bought some to take home. We did take home a few varieties of salame, some pancetta and Italian sausages. We grilled up the sausages on Tuesday, right before my siblings left for Boston, and WOW were they good. The best Italian sausages I have ever had. Next time we go to Boccalone we’re brining a cooler to fill up!

See’s Candies – Limited Edition: Strawberry Truffle
My brother was shopping around for treats to bring back to his clothing and accessories shop, Uncle Pete’s in Boston, since he had been gone all week. He went into the See’s Candies shop at the Stanford Mall and they offered him a free sample of their limited edition Strawberry Truffle. He left with a box to bring back to Boston. He raved about them so much when he got back to our place that he and my sister made another trip back and brought some home for us to try. And I have to say, they are something special. I wish I had one right now. They are strawberry truffles covered in white chocolate and shaped like hearts. The really amazing thing is how the filling tastes so much like just picked perfectly sweet strawberries. It brings back memories of pick strawberries right off the plant and eating them still warm from the sun. If you are near a shop that sells the truffles you MUST try them. I’m not sure how long they will be around, so hurry! Update: I went to get some more this weekend and was sadly informed that last Friday was the last day for them. I was actually really pretty bummed. They said if enough people loved it they made add it to their regular options! So let them know they should bring it back. Though I wonder if they will be as good all year round, versus in strawberry season.

Hong Kong Bistro
Being from Macau, I took my family to Castro Street in Mountain View (one town over from Palo Alto) to explore the Asian restaurants and hit up the Hong Kong Bakery and Asian market. The restaurant we were planning on going to wasn’t open, nor was the bakery. We weren’t really off to a great start. After a little shopping at the market we walked back toward the car trying to find a place for lunch. I had seen the “Hong Kong Bistro” last time I was on Castro and had wanted to check it out. So we popped in and they immediately greeted us in Cantonese! A nice surprise, especially since we’re muts and people tend to think we don’t speak Chinese. We were definitely eating there after that. They were super busy but made space for us in the back. The service is efficient (very much like Macau). The food, while many may not thing it is all that, was amazing to us since they had many dishes hard to find outside of Macau or Hong Kong. We were like kids in a candy store wanting to order everything. They even had Milk Tea the way they make it in Macau. YUM! One of my favorite things in the world. They had dishes like Baked Pork Chops with rice or noodles, Portuguese Chicken (the only times I have had it other than in Macau is when I make it – with my made up recipe) and noodles in soup. If you were in Macau or Hong Kong, the quality probably would not be good enough to keep their doors open….but for here…this nostalgic food is very very welcome.

Moxsie’s Street Eats, Kung Fu Tacos and Simply Mochi
For a few weeks now ever so often there would be a different Street Food Vendor (Truck) parked in a little parking lot in front of a pretty nondescript building just steps away from our house. I didn’t pay enough attention to determine if there was any regularity to it but did notice there was always a sign (in addition to long lines) outside referring to food and fashion. Today I finally remembered the name and looked it up. MOXSIE, an online fashion retailer focusing on independent designers, giving back and customer service, happens to be made up of a bunch of foodies. And so started Moxsie’s Street Eats. They invite various street food vendors to park in their lot for a couple hours (11:30-1:30pm) every Friday to serve up their specialties to Moxsie’s employees and anyone else in the area! And lucky for me, I live just a few steps away!! It was only 12:30pm when I realized I too could part take in the offering. I still had time. I got Sofie in her stroller and we walked over. Today, KungFu Tacos was there with Simply Mochi offering dessert. IMG_0391

I ordered a Roast Duck taco and hurried home to try it. It was beyond good. Even though I love mango I am normally not a fan of it as a salsa, but it was something special on this taco. The combination was a lovely warm savory richness with a just right sweet, cool, freshness from the salsa. I’m already wondering when they will be back! I want more tacos!! I was also hoping to try one of every mochi they had, but unfortunately they were sold out. I did get to speak with Linda, the super nice, all smiles, owner of Simply Mochi, and she told me they deliver to Palo Alto! Yay! And strawberry is the current seasonal flavor. Yum. I also asked about the use of egg, and only the lemon curd one has egg in it. Good news for Sofie. I am sure she will love them and it is always more fun when we get to share.

May 14, 2010 at 7:02 pm Leave a comment

5 days in Manhattan with a toddler

We finally made it back to spend a few days in New York last week – and oh have I missed it. We were last here 16 months ago when Sofie was only 4 months old. Now she is 20 months old, walking, talking and able to experience the city more. We had a wonderful time seeing friends, eating amazing food and going for numerous strolls to take everything in, especially buses, which is a current favorite of Sofie’s. We even spent some time at the very fun FAO Schwartz. Did you know you can make your own muppet there? It took all my will power to not get one for myself. We managed to leave with just one purchase, an Ugly Doll for Sofie, she picked Wedgehead.

I thought I’d share the great hotel we stayed at and, as expected in NY, all the really great food we enjoyed.

A great place to stay: The Alex Hotel

For this trip we sought out a hotel suite with a kitchenette. It was important to us to have food and milk on hand for Sofie given she eats 5 times a day and especially since we often need to bring food with us when we go out to eat given her allergies to eggs and peanuts. It was more difficult that we expected to fine a hotel that met our needs and wasn’t $1000 plus a night. We almost thought we’d have to scrap the trip till a friend finally suggested The Alex Hotel. The hotel was perfect for us. It is still on the pricey side but I think well worth the money for the location and to have a nice suite, a kitchen with a fridge, dishwasher, stove top and dishes.  They actually upgraded us, which I think gave us a larger office area. The staff is extremely pleasant and helpful. I have lost count of the times they held doors open for us over our stay – very handy when you have a child in a stroller or ergo. The location is also great because it is a little quieter here than other places like Times Square or anywhere closer to 6th and 7th Avenue. Yet, it is still very easy to get to anything you’d like, for instance, we had a very pleasant walk over to Central Park to meet Jeromy  It is also close to Grand Central making the subway to anywhere easy. I will try to post another entry just on the hotel with photos of our room and tips on what you’ll want to bring or buy when you get here for kitchen supplies (if you are interested before I’ve posted add a comment and I’ll get back to you).

Great places to eat (or take out from)

After seeking out various dining options nearby we discovered we were even luckier than we thought to be staying at The Alex. We had only been here a few days but had already stumbled across some spectacular eating – and more importantly, eating that was good as take out! Unless we manage to have an early dinner with Sofie, typically we still have dinner after she goes to bed. So delivery or close take out is crucial to use since we are hotel bound for the evening once she goes down at 7pm. No worries in this area though!

Udon West – Great Japanese noodle and rice place.  No sushi. Good for take out or table service.
150 East 46th St (between 3rd and Lexington)
I had passed by this place earlier while taking a stroll with Sofie. It caught my interest immediately but the entrance is a few steps down and I had Sofie in her stroller so I didn’t bother trying to go in to ask for a take out menu. Later that night when Jeromy and I were debating what to do for dinner I was excited to try the noodle shop. timing actually worked out since I fed Sofie her dinner at her usual time and we still had plenty of time to go out for a stroll and to pick up dinner. Once I got my hands on the menu it was hard to decide what to try. I ended up with the Katsu Don & Udon combination and it blew me away. It tasted really great, but it was extra special because it reminded me of food I used to eat as a child overseas and I don’t get that feeling very often.

Bayan Cafe – A very small, nondescript Filipino Restaurant
Not sure of their exact address, but they are on the south side of east 45th between 2nd and 3rd avenue.
This place has a small, easy to miss store front.  But something about it called out to me. After walking by it a couple times I stopped in to grab a takeout menu. At that point I didn’t even know what kind of cuisine they served! There was a man taking a break on the front steps and he immediately got up to open the door for me (I had Sofie in the ergo). As soon as the door opened I was treated to a wonderful array of smells and I knew then that the food had to be good. I took a menu and the gentleman outside popped up to open the door for me again. We finally decided to try them Sunday night. I had never ordered from a Filipino restaurant and wasn’t sure what to get. So I ordered two things just in case one was a dud – BBQ pork belly and escabeche. They were both amazing, very different from what we usually eat which made them all the better. It was a real treat. It was also nice that everyone in the place seemed really nice and to really care about the food they were putting out. Gotta love it.

Darbar – Indian Restaurant
154 E. 46th St (between 3rd and Lexington)
I was in the mood for japanese noodles when we went to Udon West. Jeromy wanted something else, so he went looking for options as I waited with Sofie for my order. He came back a few minutes later saying he had just ordered from the Indian place next door. We went there after I got my food to wait for his. The staff was pleasant and the ambiance was nice. It might have been a little too quiet to take Sofie there to sit down for a meal, but take out worked well. It took a good 10-15 minutes but I never have a problem with that since it means they are actually cooking you food versus dished it out of pre-made tubs. Jeromy was very pleased with his order, though it was a little on the heavy side for him. I took a bite and thought it had a great depth of flavor. I think I’ll do take out from them tonight and Jeromy will probably get noodles from Udon West which is right next door. I’ll update this entry after trying more of their food. The garlic naan is calling me! UPDATE: I did get take out from them, chicken korma. It was pretty good, not the best I’ve had but it hit the spot.

Amish Market – high end grocery store with lots of organic options and prepared foods
240 E. 45th (between 2nd and 3rd Aves)
The market is across the street and a few doors down from The Alex Hotel. We went there for the first time almost immediately after we arrived at the hotel to stock up on drinks, snacks and food for Sofie’s meals. We were wide-eyed as we tried to take in the massive array of high end food options they managed to squeeze in. We found everything we needed and much more. We had fun and could have spent a lot more time and money there if we hadn’t just come off a 4 hour drive. We’ve been back a few times already for odds and ends, always leaving with a little more than we needed.

Brooklyn Diner in Times Square – has a nice diner menu, plus a few healthier options too!
I had been to the other Brooklyn diner location and loved it. The Times Square location was only about a mile away from our hotel so we decided to go there for Sunday brunch with our friend Vinette who had come up from DC to visit with us for the weekend. While the food at both locations is good, the Times Square location has a back section that was perfect for kids since, well, it was in the back and with the way it was laid out there was more room. It can get extra stressful eating out with a toddler in cramped spaces. They also had paper on the table so it was perfect for Sofie to color on.

Sarabeth’s at Central Park – gourmet menu, super delicious food, nice atmosphere
40 Central Park South (across from Central Park, between 5th and 6th Aves)
Eating at Sarabeth’s for lunch was a real treat. We decided to go there on a whim while looking around for somewhere for lunch. Jeromy spotted it as we walked along side Central Park and we decided to try it since my friend, Ernie, had suggested it for brunch over the weekend. I’m so glad we did. In addition to the wonderfully decadent menu, the atmosphere was very calm and serene. You just felt like you were going to be pampered there. They kindly sat us in a back corner so we had a little more space for Sofie. I ordered the crab cake sandwich, which was probably one of the best crab cakes I have every had. It was seriously almost 100% crab, and really fresh delicious crab. Jeromy raved about his tuna nicoise salad. I had a bite of the tuna and it was indeed very good. They did not have a children’s menu so we ordered a bunless hamburger for Sofie, unfortunately after only a couple bits of burger she decided she would rather just eat french fries. Sigh. At least she ate some grapes while we waited for our food. A meal of fries here and there won’t kill her…and these were pretty good fries. Sarabeth’s is well-known for baked goods and jams so I couldn’t resist getting a couple jars of jam as we left, Plum Cherry and Strawberry Rhubarb. I can’t wait to try them and hope to find time to post a blog entry on them as well. Sarabeth’s is a bit farther from The Alex Hotel, but we still walked there and back. All the walking helps me feel a little less guilty about all the treats I’ve been consuming this visit.

Chelsea Market – foodie nirvana
75 9th Avenue (Between 15th and 16th Streets)
Now, it is pretty far from the hotel. We walked there, and it was a really long walk. I was glad to take a cab back to our hotel afterwards. But whether you walk, take a cab or the subway if you consider yourself any kind of foodie you need to pay Chelsea Market a visit. It was particularly crowded when we went due to a number of New York Food Festival events going on at the venue. But that just added to the experience. It is basically an indoor mall of food establishments ranging from cupcake shops and bakeries, to Thai food, to small sit down restaurants serving organic fair to gourmet groceries stores. Along the corridor of shops there are also a number of tables and benches perfect to take a break at to eat a delicious bite. Upstairs happens to be home of the Food Network, so there is the added allure of potentially seeing a celebrity chef. We didn’t see any when we were there, but that just would have been a fun add on. The market itself was enough for us.

October 18, 2009 at 7:47 am Leave a comment

Amazing Smoked Fish

I have discovered the most amazing smoked fish I have ever had. Before leaving the Newton farmer’s market last Tuesday I decided to stop at a new stand, one that appeared to offer smoked fishes, I assumed salmon. They had a number of different smoked fish offerings, along side an assortment of smoked fish spreads, crackers and Iwhat looked like homemade bread.

I overheard the woman telling someone else that all of the spreads on display were available for tasting, along with their smoked sablefish (black cod). I had never heard of smoked sablefish and jumped at the opportunity to try it. She carefully put on a pair of plastic gloves and extract a piece of fish, laying it on a piece of cracker for me to try.

I first took a nibble of a little bit of fish that was hanging off the cracker so I could taste it alone…it was like butter, clean and smooth and melted in my mouth. I then popped the rest of the fish and cracker in my mouth and had a moment of gastronomical heaven. The delicate fish combined with the crunchy, crisp texture of the mild cracker was incredible. Really incredible. Once I came out of my daze of delight I immediately said I would take a pack of the remarkable sablefish. I also asked if the bread was Irish bread and she confirmed that it was indeed Irish Brown Bread. Score! I love Irish Brown Bread and don’t come across it too too often here. I attempted to make it once and it came out just ok, I have to try again soon though, and keep trying until I perfect it. Well, I digress. I told her I would take a loaf of the bread and then noticed she was set up to take credit cards. Jackpot, since I was running low on cash. I added a package of the delicious crackers to my order, but stopped there. I resisted buying up more varieties of smoked fish. I convinced myself it would be better to share the sablefish with my husband this week and then come back to discover a new variety another week.

That night my husband and I enjoyed the fish and crackers along side big salads. He was an instant fan as well. Though I will say, the fish in package we got was slightly more chewy than the one I sampled, but it was only noticeable when eaten alone, versus on a cracker. And honestly, it is the pairing of the fish and the cracker that really makes the bite spectacular with the flavor and texture contrast.

We also sampled the brown bread that evening. I think they might have wrapped it in saran wrap a little too soon as the exterior had a slight plastic taste. I promptly shaved off the outer layer and that fixed the issue. It wasn’t the best brown bread I’ve ever had but it was yummy, very hearty. It has inspired me to try my hand at making it again. I hope to find time this weekend to do so.

So, you must be wondering by now, who makes this amazing product? They are the “Nantucket Wild Gourmet & Smokehouse” located in Chatham, MA. They had just secured their spot at the Newton Farmer’s Market the day before I stopped by their booth. Lucky me. They use traditional Irish and Scottish methods for smoking and the package on the fish I purchase said they also know the names of all of the fisherman who caught their fish. Love it.

If you try any of their other products, let me know what you think. I meant to take a photo of the fish to post here but was too excited to eat it and the camera didn’t enter my mind till we were done. I need to get better at that.

September 19, 2009 at 10:14 am Leave a comment

Great food in Provincetown, Cape Cod (MA)

Once again, we rented a lovely house in Provincetown for a week this summer. We had a really wonderful time. We enjoyed some old favorites and stumbled upon a number of new ones! I thought I’d share all of the food related ones here should find yourself in that area sometime soon. And if you only have time to read one thing in this post, skim till you find Hatch’s Fish Market – our best find yet. If I find a few more spare minutes I’ll try to write up good activities to do with the kids.

The food is really good, and pretty quick. Go there for brunch! You seat yourself and then order at a counter. They have great indoor and outdoor seating. They do have high chairs, but you have to ask for them. We were there for brunch and I highly recommend the French Toast Texas-Style – YUM! Their side of bacon is nice too…dry, crispy and not too greasy.
214 Commercial St, Provincetown

Lobster Pot
Large menu, good food and not too fancy. They are open all day so it is a great spot to hit for an early lunch or dinner with kids. My favorite entree is the Portuguese Fish – order it! While I haven’t had it for years, I also really liked the Seafood Linguini. And of course, the lobster is great. I would not recommend the Crabmeat Salad Panini, there was a lot of mayo and other items taking away from the crab and making the sandwich really goopy.
321 Commercial St, Provincetown

Big Daddy Burritos
Nice little take out place. It is down a little plaza of shops on Commercial St, which can make it hard to miss, so definitely look a map. A good marker is a kids toy store right next to it, with its store front on Commercial. It may look like a dive but the menu is great, fresh ingredients and something for everyone from beef (what I had) to catfish (Jeromy had them and I tried a bite – yummy) to tofu and veggie fillings for burritos,  quesadillas and soft tacos. They even make their own salsa daily.
205 Commercial St, Provincetown

Central House at the Crown and Anchor hotel
Very delicious gourmet menu and slightly fancier environment. We have been there twice now and both times they have been totally cool and accommodating for the kids. They even have a kids menu. We do of course always arrive pretty early.  They have a nice open air seating area, which is where we always sit.
247 Commercial St, Provincetown

Provincetown Portuguese Bakery
I usually have to stop there a few times each visit. They have so many things that remind me of my childhood growing up in Macau. A couple favorites are the salted cod cakes and the sweet Bolas De Berlim, which are fried donuts with a creamy custard filling rolled in sugar. Yum. They have lots of great breads and other sweet treats. They even serve some hot savory items at another counter in the shop. I have yet to try anything from that menu but come close every time I’m there. Timing just never really worked out.
299 Commercial St, Provincetown
No website, so here’s the yelp link.

Far and Land
A nice little grocery. But the best part are their prepared foods, treats and sandwich counter. They make a mean egg, bacon and cheese, english muffin sandwich in the am.

The Fudge Shop
Diagonally across the street from Big Daddy Burritos, on Commercial. Try the white chocolate Almond Bark – super good. I’m not normally a fudge fan but Julia let me try her Peanut Butter Fudge and it was awesome.

Hatch’s Fish Market
We did a lot of cooking while we were there and are so thrilled to have found this place. They had the most amazing fresh fish and produce. It is so great it feels like you should hear symphony music as you walk in. You will want to by everything. Try not to drool too much.
310 Main St, Wellfleet

Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar
If you want a super satisfying fried food fix, this is the place to stop. and other healthier options. There is also an ice-cream stand on the property.
3580 State Highway, Rt 6, Eastham

Do you have any favorites that you don’t see here? I’d love to hear about them.

August 12, 2009 at 4:01 pm 1 comment

Wine Recommendation: Nine Stones 2007 Shiraz Hilltops

It is delicious and only $14.50 a bottle at our local wine shop, VinoDivino. We discovered is over the weekend when we went into VinoDivino for the first time. The little wine shop opened up a few years ago just down the street from us. We were thrilled, however, it has taken us this long to check it out. An boy have we been missing out.

I liked the Nine Stones label and they happened to have some out for tasting. While you can only tell so much from a little sip out of a plastic cup, we thought it was worth getting a bottle to try at home…it was only $14.50. We were pleasantly surprised when we had it with our swiss chard and pasta dinner a couple nights later when we could really appreciate the wine.

It is a very easy wine to drink and in contrast to House Wine Red, which is another great inexpensive wine, it is a bit more complex. House Wine requires no thought, it is smooth, simple and pleasing. Nine Stones Shiraz is more interesting. It has a bit more going on as far as flavors go yet does not overwhelm and I love it. We ended up going back and getting a case of it!

If you live near Newton, stop buy VinoDivino to pick up a bottle and get to know the shop, it is a really nice operation, thoughtful customer service and offerings. We will be there often. If you are farther, you can see if they will ship to your state, they do offer online ordering.

Here is some more info, and an example of the great services the shop offers. VinoDivino also gives you a card (printed in the shop or via email) with tasting notes on the wine. Here are the notes on Nine Stones 2007 Shiraz Hilltops:

Producer: Nine Stones
Vintage: 2007
Country: Australia (yes, we are trying to be better localvores, but wine will have to be one vice)
Region: New South Wales
Maturity: through 2017 (love that they tell you this!)
Wine Spectator Rating: 90
VinoDivino Rating: 90
Tasting notes: Ripe and generous, with a minerally edge to the blackberry and cardamom flavors, remaining open and inviting through the long, deftly balanced finish. Drink now though 2017. Wine Spectator Smart Buy, Harvey Steiman, May 20, 2009
Food pairings: Steap tips with mushrooms and onion, grilled lamb, hearty stews

For reference here are the links in this post:

July 17, 2009 at 2:09 pm Leave a comment

Recommendation: House Wine Red by the Magnificent Wine Co.

While strolling through our local liquor store the 2005 House Wine Red by the Magnificent Wine Co caught my eye, marketed as a staff recommendation for $10.99 per bottle, $20 for 2 bottles. It was a blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and some Syrah, Malbec and Franc. They are based in Washington State. I had never heard of them before. I thought “Why not?” and picked up a bottle.


A few nights later we opened it and were very pleasantly surprised by the robust flavor, smoothness and general drinkability of the wine. I was a little giddy thinking that I had found a really really great $10 bottle of wine – not easy to come by. I had to pick up some more! However, I was not the only one who bought the wine. By the time I went back about a week later the 2005s were gone and the store was marketing the 2006 release at the same price. Worth another try. I got a couple bottles. Drum roll…the 2006 is not as good at the 2005. But it is still a very nice bottle of wine, the flavor smoothed out a bit after given more time to breath. I will probably pick up a few more bottles. But that said, the 2005 was a real winner, a steal at the $10.99 price tag.


If you come across any 2005 House Wine Red by the Magnificent Wine Co snap them up! I think this is a company to keep your eye on too. We will be trying more of their wine, we have a Steak House bottle waiting for the right evening.


Addition: We have since had a couple more bottles of the 2006…and it is quite remarkable for a $10 bottle of wine as well…so grab some if you see them. I’m going to pick up a case today 🙂


October 27, 2008 at 1:49 pm 1 comment

Recent Ruminations


Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Enter your email address to subscribe.

Join 1 other follower

Flickr Photos

%d bloggers like this: