Total Wine & More - Tustin
I'm not much of a drinker. Save for the occasional bottle of Singha when I'm at a Thai restaurant or a pint of Guinness when I'm in an Irish pub, I'm closer to teetotaler than college frat boy. After all, this blog is called Monster Munching, not Monster Gulping.
But it's not because I have a moral issue against alcohol. Frankly, I just think it tastes vile. And wine? Well, a lot of the foods I like -- nachos, noodle soups, etc. -- doesn't really call for it. And then there's the cost. Once, at Ruth Chris, a friend offered a sip from her glass of red, and although I admit it went well with the steak I was chomping on, I thought the extra ten bucks would've been better spent on dessert.
Water is my beverage of choice to pair with food.
So when a Total Wine & More opened in Tustin recently, mere blocks from where I lived, I went because of a curiosity for the new, not because I needed to stock up the liquor cabinet. Besides, I wanted to know: What would a place that claims it has "8,000 types of wines, 2,000 types of spirits, and 1,000 types of beers" look like?
The answer is that it looks like a liquor store got it on with a supermarket -- thanks largely to the fact that the space used to be a furniture showroom. Though, admittedly, it's really not that much different or bigger than a BevMo!.
Its selection of wine, however, was indeed impressive. Instead of supermarket aisles labeled "canned foods", "sugar", or "bread", the place boasts whole aisles devoted to the wine subphylums such as "chardonnays", "syrahs", and "merlots".
Despite the economy, the place was doing brisk business on a Saturday afternoon. Or perhaps, is it because of the economy?
In any case, I decided to test the mettle of their selection by asking if they had Magners Irish Cider -- a crisp, refreshing drink that I remembered actually liking at Auld Dubliner.
After leading me through aisle after aisle of beers, the employee shrugged. "You got me," he said, finally pointing towards their small selection of ciders, none of them Irish.
The conclusion: Wines, they got; ciders, not so much.
So I picked out a few from the shelf of singles, ranging from $1.19 to $1.49, and paid for it while chuckling to myself at the signs over the register that menacingly said, "WE ARREST MINORS".
At home, I chilled the bottles in the fridge and last night, tried two of them. So far, the Fox Barrell Hard Cider and the Woodchuck Pear Cider were a bit disappointing. While the Fox Barrell had a stronger alcohol kick, both seemed watered down and flat on flavor.
Now, off to BevMo!, where I think they have Magners in stock. Besides that, since it's been a while, I'd forgotten whether they also threaten minors with arrest.
Total Wine & More
2952 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA 92782
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