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Rodney Strong wine

Our recent trip to Sonoma and Napa included the chance to plan get togethers and have some random run ins with some of the very friendly people we have met on past trips. Since it was Sonoma Wine Country Weekend and an early harvest, the county was buzzing with busy people, but one evening event brought lots of people out to Rodney Strong Vineyards for some of their great wine, an excellent selection of beers, and a band that I can now count in our favorites.

Rodney Strong Vineyards

While the light and heat of our day of canoeing on the Russian River faded, we caught up with old friends and met new ones while listening to the Big Bang, an incredibly talented group of musicians who I wish toured on the East Coast! Pliny the Elder

Rodney Strong wines are always favorites, but the selection of beers at the event was pretty phenomenal, and we had the opportunity to sip Pliny the Elder, a sought-after beer that many East Coast friends were excited to see on my Facebook and Instagram feeds.

peach salad

A simple, excellent dinner of fresh salads and wood-fired pizzas provided the perfect bites to go along with the beer and to prep us for dancing. With the Big Bang in the house, you couldn’t NOT dance.Rodney Strong Vineyards events

A break between music sets and chatting found us on the cool lawn behind the winery with more local beer, this time from Lagunitas, the sun setting  on the vineyards behind us, and lots of grateful silence and being in the perfect moment.

Sonoma sunset

The sun said its goodbyes most gracefully, meeting the dark and twinkling stars on their way in. Temperatures dropped, and we moved closer to the fire for a couple of last songs before we were on our way. What a beautiful way to spend a summer weekend night in wine country!

Thank you to Rodney Strong Vineyards for having us by. We can’t wait to visit again soon!

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Tags: beer, events, Sonoma, Sonoma County, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, wine, wine country, wine tasting, winery

During the cooler months, our Sunday nights are often spent in front of a fire and a movie, cozy Sunday supper and good glass of red wine. It’s a great way to unwind, but being home and focusing on the end of the weekend sometimes also brings on the Sunday blues.

Last week we had a very stressful date in court with a nightmare contractor, and before that was even scheduled, we had made plans with a group of friends to try out the Sunday Supper Club at MC Spiedo. It turned out to be the perfect way to get our minds off of the stressful week ahead, and after an amazing meal with great people, we slept better than we had in a long time.

MC Spiedo Supper Club Supper Club Sunday is a phenomenal value, to start. With wine pairings, it’s $65, including tax and gratuity, and the food just keeps coming. The wines poured were really excellently paired with the courses.

We met for cocktails prior to dinner, and I had the Bourbon Month special, which was a delicious blend of Smuggler’s Notch bourbon, apple cider, and lemon. It was autumn in a glass.

meat and cheese board

Our feast started out with a meat and cheese board with farmstead cheeses, pickles, and a killer pate that was mixed with local cranberries.

Next up were the pizzas. There was a pork pizza, a mushroom pizza with blue cheese, and a white pizza with pesto. The crust was chewy perfection, and all of the topics were delicious. My favorite was definitely the mushroom though, the Bayley Hazen blue nutty and salty with spice from the salumi and earthy, meaty ,mushrooms making for an excellent combination.

By the time we were done with the pizzas, we were getting full. The food could have stopped then!MC Spiedo pizza

But the main feast was yet to come! Each Supper Club has a featured protein, and this week was a suckling pig, carved tableside. While I did not enjoy looking at the pig’s face, I have to say, the meat was melt-in-your-mouth incredible. It was so tender and flavorful, served with pickled tiger figs for a nice contrast. There were plenty of sides for us to enjoy along with it.

In addition to a Warm Farro Salad and Roman-Style Cauliflower, we had Polenta Fries, Brussels Sprouts, and a perfect Tagliatelle Bolognese.

polenta fries

Brussels sprouts

 

bolognese

Ooof.  The main course was served with an incredible Sangiovese from Emiglia-Romagna. It had notes of black cherries and cocoa, and it really stood up to the richness of the food. Even a friend who is not usually a fan of Italian reds loved this wine.

Meyer Lemon Zeppoles

While we didn’t think we could eat another bite, we did manage dessert. A Hazelnut Torte and Meyer Lemon Zeppoles rounded out the meal. The cake was a little too sweet for my liking, but I loved the light, lemony zeppoles.

All in all, Supper Club Sundays are a perfect way to enjoy lots of delicious dishes with a group of friends. It won’t make Monday go away, but it certainly helps you to stretch the weekend fun until the very end!

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Tags: Boston, Dining out, events, Food, nights out, wine, wine and food pairing

If you missed part one of our Savor Healdsburg Food Tour, you can check it out here.

After SHED, we headed to the Williamson Wines tasting room on the Healdsburg Plaza. We had tasted here before, but I was excited to sit down and taste wine with our fun group. I always love tasting wine with new people; it’s fun to discuss what we get from the wines as well as likes and dislikes.

What I love most about the Williamson tasting room is that they have a food and wine pairing experience. Each wine is paired with a little bite, which you are meant to try alone and again with the wine to see how the flavors are brought out in each. It’s really fun, like a little food and wine pairing light bulb goes off with each taste.

Williamson Wines

In total, we did six food and wine pairings at Williamson, and while I loved them all and could write about them all, I’ll share the highlights to hopefully keep your interest. Smile  Maybe I should start doing wine tasting “outtakes” to include those I loved but didn’t feature? Blog writing for days!

A few Williamson Wines pairing favorites:

Chantilly Chardonnay with a Mango Stilton Cheese – the gentle butterscotch notes and lemon meringue-y notes in the wine were great on their own. The fruit in the cheese brought out more fruit notes in the wine, and as with all the cheeses, a little saltiness made for a memorable (in a good way) contrast.

Enchant Trinity GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) – The wine is fruit and spice and luxurious texture, a fireplace wine for sure. It was paired with pure heaven: Dubliner Irish Cheddar, Balsamic Garlic Jam, and Truffle Salt. How good does that sound?! The spices in the wine and the earthiness of the little snack were perfection. This wine is recommended for big dishes like pot roast and short ribs, which I plan on mastering this winter.

Seduce Cabernet Sauvignon – This Dry Creek Valley Cab is fruitier than its Napa Valley counterpart and lacks those sometimes over-the-top mouth-drying tannins. The pairing was a piece of Dubliner topped with blue cheese, pecan, and honey. Since the wine had such nice fruit, the nuttiness and saltiness of the blue cheese was a tasty contrast, and the honey brought out the natural juiciness of the fruit. Yum.

wine and food pairing

We didn’t want to leave Williamson; it’s a great, comfortable tasting room on Healdsburg Plaza, well worth a visit. It turned out to be a good thing that we moved on though, as our next stop may be my new favorite Healdsburg restaurant.

 

Bravas Healdsburg

Bravas Bar de Tapas is so much fun. They have a gorgeous outdoor seating area and bar and space for making huge pans of paella. We kicked our time at Bravas off with their white sangria; it was well into the 90’s, and this drink was pure refreshment. I loved the little hint of bitter from the grapefruit!

At Bravas things got even more festive! We shared plates of Cider Braised Chorizo and Padron Peppers, a Watermelon and Tomato Salad, and a Tostada with Onions, Raisins, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic, which is basically the best thing ever. Crunchy, salty, creamy, sweet, this tapa had us all swooning. Everything was so delicious, and the California sun did not hurt! I can already tell each Healdsburg visit will include time at Bravas.

Bravas Healdsburg

Bravas Healdsburg

Our final stop was Moustache Baked Goods for our choice of a sweet treat to end the food tour. We were all stuffed from the goodness we got to try throughout the afternoon, and I think every last one of us got dessert to go.

meyer lemon cupcakes

maple spice and bacon cupcakes

Moustache Baked Goods

I decided to go with the Dry Creek Peach because I love the Dry Creek Valley, and the peaches were in season and perfection. The cupcake was pretty amazing and left me wishing we had left with a box. This is another place I will visit again.

I love how this food tour opened our eyes to so many Healdsburg businesses we hadn’t met before. Savor Healdsburg Food Tours offers a couple of different options, and I will be taking the other tour on our next trip.

Many thanks to Tammy for hosting us and making our day so delicious and special!

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Tags: Bakeries, Caliornia, Dry Creek Valley, Food, food tour, Healdsburg, Healdsburg food tour, Restaurants, Sonoma, Sonoma County, Tasting Room, wine country, wine pairings, wine tasting, winery

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