Another update to my Saratoga b.y.o.b. search: Max London’s! Only $10 corkage fee/bottle; one of the lowest prices I’ve found to date.
There is no doubt that Max’s is one of the best food spots in town—and done right, it actually can be budget-friendly. 2 appetizers, a brick oven pizza, and a bottle of Frank Family Zinfandel I got cheap on auction a year ago and we got off without putting too big a kink in the old budgetary belt. There’s an outstanding wine list—and if you are looking for something reasonably priced, they have a house Barbera that I’ve had several times and highly recommend.
From my tasting notebook:
Not over the top for a red Zinfandel. We let it sit in a bucket of ice at our table while we sipped the first glass to imitate room temp. On these hot summer nights, I have been taking my reds down a few degrees. Exciting spice profile, extending intense flavors of white pepper, nutmeg, and cloves bluntly through the mouth—a bit in the sinuses too.
This is a medium- to full-bodied Zinfandel; there are certainly less contained, hotter examples from California that would be considered far more jammy. I noticed a dense cassis or blackberry liquor aroma on the nose when my glass was almost empty and less spice and briery red fruit was coming through.
Tobacco, pine and plum pulp add requisite complexity, but this wine really sells itself on a straightforward, harmonious, nicely spiced, rustic palate. No exaggerated layers or bombshell flavors as one might expect from a lush, heavily seasoned Zinfandel.
The outdoor seating at Max’s offers fantastic people-watching, and if you’re into deafening motorcycle mufflers, well there’s that, too. We experienced a bongo-duo set up in the bank drive-thru for the first time, and I simultaneously decided we have kind of terrible street performers in Saratoga. It’s a part of our charm, and you can’t argue with charm—even the questionable kind. There are few regulars, mostly transients—a guitar or ukulele after hours in the recessed entry of Lifestyles of Saratoga, the celtic college kids, and of course, the Borders guitar kid with mini generator and deep tracks CCR catalog—but now we have bongo players. Yes!
A little Carey contribution:
[Nightcap Clothing shorts via shopbop: Probably not meant to leave the bedroom, but what's life without a few risks.]
We had the Speck pizza; unreal.
Here is my corkage fee list for some of our favorite local spots. Copy and paste to a doc for future reference. Many places allow patrons to bring in outside wine, but they don’t usually advertise it. They don’t want to lose your business, but would obviously prefer you purchasing wine in-house. Let me know if there are any updates.
Max London’s $10
Maestro’s Bistro $15
The Wine Bar $15
Grey Gelding $20
The Mouzon House $15