|lunch at the El Dorado, in Sonoma|
Here’s the scoop on Sonoma.
We chose the quaint town of Healdsburg in northern Sonoma County as home base, staying in a cottage at the Haydon Street Inn, only a short walk from the central square. Healdsburg and the nearby vicinity have great restaurants, with almost every restaurant sourcing fresh ingredients from local farmers. The town also boasts a variety of tasting rooms, artisan galleries and boutiques—enough to quite happily while away a lazy day.
On our first full day in town, we arrived at the Wine Country Bikes touring center in the morning to meet our guide, organic farmer Taylor Lampson, for our 25 mile trek to visit some of the area’s organic and biodynamic farms. The beautiful ride through back roads and rolling hills included a picnic lunch at the picturesque Quivira winery, which operates a biodynamic farm and vineyard.
|Getting ready to ride, at Wine Country Bikes|
|the gardens at Quivira|
|part of the picnic lunch, from Oakville Grocery|
|wine tasting, at Gary Farrell Winery|
|At Goat Rock Beach|
|view from Iron Horse Vineyards|
|Pomegranate tree, in someones front yard|
For a sophisticated farm-to-table candlelit dinner, The Farmhouse Inn is a lovely experience. Michelin starred Chef Steve Litke creates menus featuring the rich array of produce, meats and fish available from the Sonoma hills and coast. While some of the dishes were hit-and-miss for our tastes, we enjoyed the overall experience.
And, my escarole salad with a crispy fried poached egg was one of my favorite dishes of the trip.
|escarole salad, with crispy farm egg|
Saving the best for last: Barndiva, which quickly became one of our all-time favorite restaurants. Ever. After having dinner at Barndiva one night, we returned the next two days for lunch. The only reason we didn’t go back for dinner again—we couldn’t get a reservation.
Barndiva has the whole package. An elegantly rustic-chic dining room, attentive and knowledgeable service, and exquisite food made with exceptional ingredients. Here’s a look at some our favorite dishes, including some of the most memorable salads we’ve ever tasted.
|salad with apples, radishes and avocado|
|butter lettuce salad, with grapefruit and shaved baby carrots|
|Mom's luscious lobster risotto|
|Elie's filet mignon with morels and ultra-creamy potato puree|
Oh, and I can't forget the coffee at Flying Goat Coffee. Coffee so good, Elie ordered a mocha. That's a once (maybe twice) a year experience.
The measure of a memorable vacation? We’ll be back.