Okay, so it’s not The Birdcage in the Boston Lord & Taylor (remember when department stores had restaurants?), but we love Shubie’s market in Marblehead and thoroughly enjoyed our lunch there this past weekend.
If you live on the North Shore and haven’t been to Shubie’s, you should put it on your list. There is an amazing selection of goodies packed into this store, including wine, kitchen gadgets, serving dishes, prepared foods, deli items, and pastries. It’s the perfect place to pick up stocking stuffers, edible and otherwise, for that foodie on your Christmas list.
We began with an inspection of the wine department and were pleased to find a large selection of reds and whites under $15. A number of interesting selections are highlighted with a detailed description, including Boston Globe wine writer Stephen Meuse’s pick for this month’s Plonk (wine for $12 or under). There’s a large section on the back wall with wine pairings for seafood, beef, pasta, and even pizza.
We lingered a bit over the gadgets (do I need onion chopping goggles?) and lusted after the Incanto plate collection from Vietri (www.vietri.com). After a browse through the gourmet food display (olive oils, imported packaged foods, jams, and more), the diverse cheese and deli-meat section, and the prepared foods, we ordered sandwiches and sat at a nearby table.
We sampled the warm cuban sandwich and the vegetarian, enjoying both. The cuban featured pulled pork, ham, gruyere, pickle, and ancho vinaigrette. The bread was toasted, the cheese was melty, and the flavors worked. We asked for the vegetarian on sourdough (there are many breads to choose from); it was spread with delicious hummus and stuffed with roasted vegetables, provolone, and arugula. The sandwiches are on the high side ($8 for the veggie; $9 for the cuban), but they’re made to order, and the ingredients are top-notch.
Adjacent to our table was a freezer filled with Lizzy’s ice cream (made in Waltham, www.lizzysicecream.com), gourmet heat-and-serve hors d’oeuvres from Good Wives (also local, www.goodwives.com), and much more. On the other side was a dessert case filled with mini cakes, brownies, and pastries, not to mention a giant-sized whoopie pie.
Being the kind people we are, we selected a few sweets and brought them home to share with the ones left behind to install the garage-door opener. The mini apple pie looked cute but was altogether bland, more like Table Talk than gourmet. But the mini flourless cake was rich and mousse-like, and the two cookies (cherry white chocolate chunk and chocolate-filled peanut butter) were first rate.
A few more items of note. Shubie’s has an e-newsletter you can sign up for to learn about the frequent wine tastings and specials (sometimes there are e-coupons, too). The service is outstanding, and during past visits we’ve received excellent advice on wine and cheese selections. Last, but not least, Shubie’s has three things you won’t find in many Marblehead businesses: food samples, wi-fi, and parking—all free.
15 Atlantic Ave, Marblehead