Local Love


“How fair is a garden amid the toils and passions of existence.”

Tiny Boxwoods is a true gem hidden in the heart of Houston. You can’t see it from the road as there is no signage. You have to know where you’re going or you’ll miss it. This is one of the reasons this lovely spot is in fact so lovely! It honestly feels like a true escape from the city. Tiny Boxwoods started as an espresso bar in a nursery and garden center and (maybe last year?) began opening for dinner and has blossomed into a beautiful dining spot. Every time I visit I leave happy and satisfied. When you arrive and enter through the garden gate the beautiful green lawn and the walls of flowers surrounding the patio welcome you into another world where faeries might exist.

Luckily there is abundant seating on the patio so if the weather is nice this is the ultimate place to dine or sip al fresco. The young chef, Baron Doke, consistently comes up with creative menu options with a rustic French flair. The food never disappoints and the wine hasn’t either. He’s super friendly and charming and gets out and speaks to the patrons and will discuss the food with you. You can tell he’s genuinely excited about what he does and that love comes through in his food. I’m told he chooses the wines on the wine list as well but if that is incorrect someone please tell me. Whether it is him or someone else, they always have a great short list of wines to choose from.  While some restaurants offer wine lists long enough to rival the dictionary, Tiny Boxwoods goes the complete opposite direction. Clean, concise and creative are three words I would use to describe the wine list at Tiny Boxwoods. I love trying new wines and they always have something new to taste.

The last time I was there, our fabulous server was chatting with my husband and I about wine and he mentioned dessert wines (not on their menu at the time). He said they were thinking of branching out and adding the to the wine list soon but were still playing around with the selections. When I expressed interest, he set up a dessert wine flight for me that was out of this world delightful. I was like a kid in a candy store and way too excited to play it cool! The sad part is that I took detailed notes on my BlackBerry so I could post on here about my delightful experience and then I lost my notes when my phone ran out of memory… I was sick. So while I can not tell you about the specific wines I tasted that night, I can tell you that I had such a terrific time and tasted some delicious wines and fantastic food and would recommend the experience to anyone. We dined inside the cafe that night and the ambiance just added to my pleasure filled evening. Vintage French music played, the wine flowed and the food thoroughly impressed.

If you feel like escaping the hustle and bustle of the city for a night I highly suggest you pay Tiny Boxwoods a visit for a little taste of garden magic!

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What a wonderful whirlwind life has been lately! This won’t be any surprise to any parents out there but it was sure a shock to me… my life has really changed! I’ve traded in my wine glasses for baby bottles as of late but I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and things will calm down a bit once we’re out of this newborn phase (all the parents out there are saying “Yeah right!”). Ok a girl can dream… Anyway, my husband and I had our first night out in December (umm we’re now coming up on April if that gives you any indication about how behind I am with this) and it was fabulous! Still, though, while I’m out I’m constantly thinking of the little one and wondering what she’s doing. That didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying the delicious wine and food we had that night, though!

We went to dinner at Azuma as I was craving sushi non-stop the entire time I was pregnant! I’m sure our waiter thought I was crazy because I ordered enough sushi for about three people and just plowed through it! It had been a long time coming and I wasn’t feigning a dainty appetite. It was delightful! I enjoyed a clean, crisp glass of champagne (Chandon Classic Brut if memory serves… always a favorite) with my sushi but was saving my real wine delights for Cova next door. We walked over after dinner and it was packed as always. I always enjoy the atmosphere in there. I ordered the Sexy, Silky and Sensual wine flight which was completely enjoyable. The first glass was an old favorite of mine that I had sort of forgotten about, Laetitia Pinot Noir ’07. I was so happy to become reacquainted with this lovely wine and it was even better because we also ordered the Sarah’s favorite brownie with caramel topping for dessert and it was a sublime pairing. I was in Heaven and this was just the first glass. The dessert really brought out the creaminess in the wine and the warm, smooth caramel undertones. My mouth is literally watering as I’m reliving this in my mind. It had a little bit of lavender on the nose which always reminds me of the lavender fields at Becker Vineyards in Fredericksburg. One of my favorite places. The second offering in the flight was new to me, Cru Pinot Noir ’07 from Vigna Monte Nero, CA. It was totally different from the first glass and I never was able to really get my head around it. It had a tangy, meaty smell which reminded me of jerky. It had a clean finish and very little aftertaste. I’m sure if I would have ordered this on it’s own it would have been fine, but it just did not flow with everything else I was tasting that night. Definitely the odd man out. The last glass was Ancien Pinot Noir ’07 from Carneros, CA. I’m a sucker for Carneros Pinots so this was definitely more my speed. It reminded me of the Laeticia a little bit because of the floral hints on the nose. It had a warm, buttery flavor and a smooth texture. There was a slight hint of raspberry on the nose and palate. This would be a great holiday party wine. It was very good and I would definitely order this and the Laeticia again.

All in all it was a great night out with the hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed myself! I no longer take for granted nice meals and nice wine. It’s become such a treat but still nowhere near as sweet as the little treat I have at home! Cheers to all the parents out there! I get it now!

Max’s Brunch Started Me Off On The Right Foot!

Max's Wine DiveOne of my most favorite things in the whole wide world is BRUNCH so what better way to kick off 2009 than with a tasty mid-morning meal (and mimosas…obviously) from Max’s Wine Dive? They even offered the standard black-eyed peas and sauteed petit greens as a starter for good luck and money in the new year. I want to make sure I get all the help I can get as I am determined to have a fabulous year! Black-eyed peas and greens don’t typically get me too excited but these were extra yummy.  The mimosas were just right (only a hint of OJ for color) and my omelet was fantastic! For a mere $3 per mimi you get a lot for a little which is just how I like it. I had the truffle and cheese omelet which is sadly no longer on the menu but they made it for me anyway. Fluffy eggs filled with creamy goat cheese, Gruyere, provolone and black truffle cream. I add prosciutto to mine to take it up to an even higher level of deliciousness. I wasn’t so crazy about the potatoes or grits on the side but the main event was so heavenly I hardly cared. The Texas toast had to be an inch and a half thick and it tasted homemade. Next time you’re looking for some Sunday mid-morning magic head over to Max’s Wine Dive. You’re sure to leave with a smile! (Next time I’m trying the fried egg sandwich… it looked amazing!!)

Let’s All Raise Our Glasses

Well the election is over. Red or blue we all now need to come together in support of our new leader… to help kick off the new reign, SoVino Bistro and Wine Bar is offering a FREE glass of house wine tonight! Stop by between 5:30-7:30pm for a complimentary toast to the new Prez.

Information soon to follow on their upcoming Quantum of Solace Bond Party next week! Stay tuned…

Win or Lose… Everyone Will Need A Drink On Election Night

The Presidential election is less than one week away! What a journey this one has been, right? I know that no matter the outcome I’ll hopefully have a glass of wine in hand to celebrate (or not). Well, if you’re in Houston, all of The Tasting Room locations as well as MAX’s Wine Dive are offering up some pretty sweet deals to help you make it through the night. They are inviting YOU to come hang out and watch the election returns with them in style. If you purchase a bottle of bubbly, you get half off of a pizza or cheese plate (try the portobello/truffle pizza… my mouth is watering just typing those words). Also for election day ONLY you can get 15% off all six-packs (you can mix and match) of wine to take home! That’s a pretty great deal! Enjoy!

Serving Up Something Spooky…

Here are a few ideas for this Hallow’s Eve that are so fabulous it’s just scary! Booo!

SoVino
One of my very favorite Houston haunts is featuring a specialty cocktail for one night only and it sounds especially sinister, Satan’s Whiskers. While it’s not wine, you know they have plenty for you to choose from once you’ve had your fill of this special gin cocktail.

13 Celcius
I’ve never been to this particular wine bar but it’s on my list of places to try. This Halloween they are having an authentic Day of the Dead celebration starting at 7:30pm, featuring music by DJ Pooks. If you bring a photo for the altar you get $5 off of the $31 admission. The cover includes drinks and snacks.

TTR Is STILL Partying For The Cause In Uptown!

In an effort to raise even MORE money for the Houston Red Cross, The Tasting Room in Uptown Park is throwing ANOTHER Party For The Cause this Saturday, September 27 and every Saturday after that until they reach their fundraising goal of $25,000! They raised over $10,000 this past Saturday. The rules are the same… $1 gets donated for every glass or bottle of wine or any pizza ordered. Let’s go raise some money for Houston! See you Saturday! XOXO, Mandee

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