There are certain glasses of wine you just can’t keep your nose out of, and this is definitely one of those. On my most recent trip to Sonoma County, I had the pleasure of dining with people who were true local experts, and they did an excellent job of choosing wine. As much as I like to be handed the wine list, in cases like this, it is so much more fun to try what the locals recommend.

girl and the fig wine and avocado toast This Westerhold Family Vineyards Syrah from Bennett Valley was everything I love about Syrah from Sonoma County, elegant yet bold, with deep, dark fruity notes and a bit of spice, and a nose that just smells like Sonoma to me. As the sun went down around us on that beautiful patio at The Girl & The Fig and the day went from dry and hot to cool and breezy in that classic Sonoma style, I couldn’t help but breathe deep in that glass. . . wines like this are definitely for savoring with as many senses as possible.

Let’s also talk about what’s in front of that bottle of wine, shall we? That’s The Girl & The Fig avocado toast, topped with smoked trout, egg, olives, tomatoes, and sunflower sprouts, in addition to all of that avocado deliciousness under there. Could there be a more heavenly meal? I think this wins for the best avocado toast I have ever encountered.

Happy Wine Wednesday, friends! What wines have you been loving lately?

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Tags: California wine, Food, Sonoma, Sonoma County, Syrah, Travel, wine of the week

Whew! Last week was a serious whirlwind of travel, from a weekend in Provincetown to the work week in Sonoma County. It was both tiring and incredible to be in two of my favorite places on earth in less than 24 hours. Travel never ceases to amaze me, how on a Monday morning I can start in rainy, gray Boston and then a few hours later be in Sonoma, blue skies and blazing sun. It’s pretty cool.

My trip to Sonoma County this time around was for work, so it involved a pre-planned, jam-packed itinerary of wineries, hotels, restaurants, meetings, and more. It was different than our past trips, but it was still great. I’ll have some posts on wine tasting coming up, but since today is Travel Tuesday wanted to share some snapshots I took along the way.

 

The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort

My hotel, The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort, was luxurious and comfortable, the perfect spot for relaxing after a busy day. The pool area was my favorite for catching the beautiful Sonoma sunset and having a glass of local wine before bed. I was on East Coast time the entire trip and thus exhausted by sunset, but how could you miss this?

Sonoma sunset

Our first dinner took place at a favorite of mine, The Girl & The Fig, where the patio sparkled and the food was all inspired and delicious, as always.

The Girl and the Fig    The Wild Flounder Meunière, one of their signature dishes, was flaky buttery perfection, atop smooth and creamy potatoes and my serving of greens for the day.

Flounder

My visit included a tour of the stunning Fairmont Sonoma Mission & Spa, which I look forward to visiting again soon. The spa is one of the prettiest I have ever seen, and the pools were very inviting, as the sun started to climb into the sky. Fairmont Sonoma

My chilaquiles breakfast at the hotel was hearty and indulgent with a perfect kick of spice.

chilaquiles

Another restaurant I had the pleasure of dining at was Willi’s Wine Bar, where I sampled just about everything, including truffle fries, goat cheese fritters, a variety of salads, and to-die-for filet mignon sliders with creamed spinach. This is an amazing, must-visit spot if you are ever in the Santa Rosa area. The owners also own Bravas, which I visited last summer on our Healdsburg food tour and really, really loved.

Willi's Wine Bar

The food and wine pairing we had at Kendall Jackson Vineyard Estates was something to savor.

I would not have thought to pair strawberries with radishes, but the spicy/crunchy sweet/soft went together so deliciously, paired with 2014 Grand Reserve Rosé  just tasted like summer. I’ll be recreating this at home for sure. It’s just asking for a hammock or patio seating and a midsummer night.

radish and strawberry salad

2012 Jackson Estate Outland Ridge Pinot Noir, paired with a cassoulet of very local ingredients, 2013 Jackson Estate Alisos Hills Syrah with pork belly in a red wine BBQ sauce, and meatballs made with lamb from next door, paired with a delicious Cab made up for the hearty portion of the tasting. It was heavenly.

Kendall Jackson wine and food pairing

 

 

Kendall Jackson gardens

Many of the ingredients in the food pairing came from the gardens right on the property, and Tucker Taylor, the Culinary Gardener, gave us a delightful tour of the gardens, which are seriously impressive and beautiful.

Kendall Jackson gardens

Sonoma County

In between each stop, I enjoyed dreamy views of vineyards, mountains, and perfect skies. It was blissful just riding in the car, and taking in the sights and sounds and smells around me.  Sonoma County is truly just a special place full of amazing people, delicious food and wine, and unparalleled scenery. In case you couldn’t tell, I love it.

Rodney Strong Vineyards Terrace

While much of what we saw was new to me, I did get to visit the terrace at Rodney Strong, where we got to spend some time last summer. Their terrace light is perfect in the early to late evening, and while we missed the main portion of the program learning about their sustainability efforts, we made it in time to see their new square tanks and to do some mingling while eating delicious pizza and other bites and sampling some of their available wines.

flatbread pizza

Rodney Strong Vineyards Terrace  Rodney Strong Vineyards Sonoma sunset

 

It was both beautiful and a little sad to see the sun set that evening from the Rodney Strong Vineyards terrace, knowing that we were heading home the next day. This time around it wasn’t too too bad since I will be returning for a big work event in early September. If you’re planning a vacation, Sonoma County might be the perfect place for you. For more blog posts on Sonoma as well as my other travel posts, please visit my Travel Page.

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Tags: Food, Restaurants, Sonoma, Sonoma County, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger, wine, wine country, wine tasting, wineries

The latest and greatest addition to Dorchester blends old and new for a beautiful and inviting space that is steeped in history and delicious spirits. We have been looking forward to visiting Boston Harbor Distillery since we first started to hear about it, and a trip to the boat mechanic right next door on Saturday was the perfect opportunity to stop in.

The space absolutely beautiful, jaw-dropping, really, with massive high ceilings, exposed beams and brick, an historic building lovingly refurbished into a rustic yet modern tasting room and distillery space.  

Boston Harbor Distillery

Our visit was a quick one, and as a result I didn’t take many photos, but you can probably see just from these two how lovely all of the details are. Upon our arrival, distillery co-owner Corey took us around for a tour, sharing the history of the building, which had previously housed a nail factory and boat builder. All of the distillery’s products are named with a nod to previous building occupants, a nice way to fold in the old with the new. With so much having happened in one building, I wondered if the spirits in the bottle and barrels were the only spirits in that space?

As we went along we learned about the distilling process and saw what we were really looking for, Boston Harbor Distillery’s Putnam New England Whiskey, still in the barrel. We also got to taste the spirits that are currently available, Lawley’s New England Spirit, Lawley’s Dark New England Spirit, and Seymour’s Local Roast Coffee Liqueur, all really delicious and different from one another. We also tried a sample of a New England Daiquiri, made with Lawley’s New England Spirit. You can find the cocktail recipe on the Boston Harbor Distillery website.

Boston Harbor Distillery  The two New England spirits are basically rums, but because the distillery distills them from molasses and maple syrup, they can’t legally call them rum. Either way, they are delicious.

Boston Harbor Distillery

We left with a Lawley’s Dark New England Spirit, which is perfect with some ice and seltzer, we found. After some discussion my husband returned the next day for Seymour’s Local Roast Coffee Liqueur, which we think would be the perfect addition to an iced coffee on a hot summer afternoon. The whiskey is not quite ready yet, but we will be keeping a close eye on our emails to find out when it will be. The distillery has some fun plans in the future, including possible sale of cocktails, which would be a really great addition to the Dorchester going out scene. Hopefully they will be able to cut through all of the red tape and to make these ideas realities in the not-so-distant future.

It’s great to have a new small business in Dorchester and to give more people reason to come down to our part of Boston so they can see for themselves how great it really is. I look forward to seeing what comes next for Boston Harbor Distillery and wish  them all the luck as they make their way into a hopefully very busy summer.

For more on things to do in Dorchester, visit this post.

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Tags: Boston, cocktails, distillery, Dorchester, rum

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