last night was our annual Ornament Party. the party is marked by many cherished traditions such as "Forgetting the Rules to the Ornament Exchange" and "Running Out Of Ice." but my favorite one is always the "Wine Run to Sam's" the morning of the party.
sam's has long been a mecca for wine enthusiasts, and i visit annually (ok, monthly) (ok, sometimes weekly) to consult "my wine guy" whose name i never remember but who has been invaluable in helping me part with great sums of money. as strong of a brand as sam's has built, the founder did something no entrepreneur (or person for that matter) should ever do: he trusted his children.
a couple years ago, sam turned the business over to his sons, who promptly expanded sam's into neighborhoods where either no one lived, or no one drank. on a related note, sam's was recently sold to binny's.
binny's is like sam's but without the charm, the selection, the good prices, or "my wine guy." so yesterday, i tried Howard's Wine Cellar on belmont. (i'd link, but i don't think they have a website - a charming attribute in aught-nine.) howard is an ex-pat from sam's - i'd highly recommend him. as for the non-wine products, i went to Foremost Liquors on ashland which, in spite of its optimistic sign, was neither worldly nor wonderful.
so i'm declaring liquor store free agency, and am open to suggestions. i'll let you know how the competition unfolds. surely, it will be heated.