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Our travel style seems to be one giant tasting spree, and Sonoma County is the perfect place for sampling bites and sips here and there rather than having huge, lengthy meals. On our most recent trip to Sonoma, I attended some great events for work and also had some free time to do some great eating. Below are just a few photos from our whirlwind week in Sonoma.

Healdsburg Shed shrub

On the Savor Healdsburg Food Tour we went on last summer, we fell in love with Healdsburg SHED and I couldn’t wait to return for more refreshing shrub drinks and to do some shopping for a picnic. The day we visited was over 100 degrees, and a strawberry shrub was the perfect way to cool down. We filled a basked with cheese and meat, cookies, and other items and brought them to the new winery of Two Shepherds for lunch with the winemaker. Luckily, he had a bottle of my favorite rosé ready.

Shed Healdsburg picnic

Willi's Wine Bar

My media tour day included an incredible lunch at the much-loved Willi’s Wine Bar in Santa Rosa. The owners are the sweetest, and their food is just amazing. We shared small plates like local heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella and the most incredible smashed avocado toast. I dream about this meal and can’t wait to visit Willi’s again.

avocado bruschetta

Mexican food is a must-have in California, and we found ourselves seeking out tacos just about every day. Our favorite is still El Sombrero in Healdsburg. Their tacos, guacamole, and hot sauce are possibly my favorite foods ever

tacos in Sonoma

El Sombrero Mexican food Healdsburg

One of the events I attended, the Big Bottle Barn Party, featured all sorts of delicious little bites, like mini omelets and Bloody Marys and cherry pie pops on sticks. It was one of the best parties I have ever been to!


mini Bloody Mary

Wine and food pairing options have become more prevalent in Sonoma County since our first visit many years ago, and the tasting at Ram’s Gate brought out the best in the food and the wine. Tasting is by appointment only, and their Palate Play truly demonstrates the art of food and wine at their best.

food and wine pairing at Ram's Gate Another of the unique experiences I was lucky to have was another tasting in the high country at MacMurray Ranch. Perfect Pinot Noir was paired with small bites like strawberry gazpacho and some of the best views ever.

strawberry gazpacho  MacMurray Ranch

MacMurray Ranch, the scene of Taste of Sonoma , offered some of the best food of the weekend. The area where we were working had a beautiful spread, including cheese and veggies galore This may have been the best cheese display I have ever seen.

gorgeous cheese spread

We discovered some new Sonoma County favorites on our date night in Healdsburg where we sipped a tomato water amuse bouche and feasted on Portuguese cuisine at Cafe Lucia and had late night cocktails and sliders at Bistro Ralph. Healdsburg is one of the best places ever for a walking, tasting night out.

tomato water shooters at Cafe Lucia

chourico platter at Cafe Lucia Healdsburg

Bistro Ralph On our last day in Sonoma, we made a trip to The Barlow, which I absolutely loved, for some wine tasting and beer and snacks. Woodfour Brewing was a recommendation from friends, and it was a delicious stop. A sour beer and some of the best pickled veggies I have ever had made for a great afternoon snack. If you get the chance to go to Woodfour Brewing, just do it.

Woodfour Brewing

crab cocktail


All good things must come to an end, and so we had to make our way back towards San Francisco, but not without a stop in Sausalito for seafood and cool breezes. It was amazing how much cooler it was than Sonoma. Salito’s Crab House was a great spot for seafood and bubbly. We had crab cocktail and a platter of sizzling shrimp and mussels with a garlicky butter while gazing out at the sea, looking for seals and coveting boats.



seafood in SausalitoSalito's


Northern California has so much to taste, I could easily spend a lifetime there enjoying the food, wine, and outdoors. Until we meet again. . .

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Tags: Dining out, Food, Sonoma, Travel, wine country

Fall has arrived! While summer will always have my heart, early fall is definitely my second favorite time of year. Sure, I hate the early darkness and slowing garden productivity, but brilliant blue skies and sunny days, apple picking, and fall cooking all help a little. I’ll let you in on a little secret.  . . as much as I live for summer produce, I really love fall cooking! I love roasting and braising and making hearty, comfy one pot meals to pair with red wine.

Last weekend we got an early start on autumn fun with a trip to Belkin Family Lookout Farm. I am obsessed with local food and growing or picking my own fruit and vegetables, and I was excited about the variety at Belkin. This Natick farm, founded in 1651, can be found after a really lovely drive through Wellesley, and had several types of apples, Asian pears, peaches, and plums, in addition to pumpkins, cider donuts, caramel corn, and tons of other fall flavors. For families, they have children’s play area. To get anywhere on the property, everyone must take a train, which is fun for all ages!

apple picking near Boston

We arrived and caught the train out to the orchards to get picking. We filled a giant bag with fruit and may have sampled a few pieces along the way. The air was fresh, the weather was perfect, and it felt amazing to have such a beautiful outdoor space to spend the day in.

apple picking plum

apple picking


pumpkin picking


cider donuts

On the way out of the orchard, we browsed the farm store and picked up the requisite cider donuts, which we tucked into immediately. I don’t even like most donuts, but man, a fresh cider donut is pretty incredible and these were some of the best I have had.

Right on the property also sits the Lookout Farm Taproom, serving hard cider that they make, along with food items like charcuterie and flatbread. Of course we had to go in for a tasting! We shared a cider flight, with the two standouts being the pumpkin cider, which had nice baking spice notes, and the summer cider, which had lemongrass and ginger notes. All were crisp, refreshing, and easy to drink.

Lookout Farm Cider Lookout Farm hard cider cider at Lookout Farm

A visit to Belkin Lookout Farm is easy from Boston, and it opens up your day to a beautiful area with lots of open space. It’s only 20 minutes from Boston but feels like a real getaway. If you are looking for fun apple picking followed by delicious adult beverages ( and a TV for football), definitely add Belkin Lookout Farm to your fall fun list.

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Tags: apple picking, apples, autumn, Boston, day trips from Boston, fall, harvest, New England, peaches, pears, plums, Travel

Labor Day weekend is an amazing time to visit Sonoma County. Sonoma Wine Country Weekend PR and social media was something I worked on this summer, for full disclosure, but blogging about it is not part of the job at all. I just happened to find Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Estate Vineyards so impressive, beautiful, and filled with delicious food and wine opportunities that I had to share.

As the name suggests Taste of Sonoma takes place at MacMurray Estate Vineyards, also often referred to as MacMurray Ranch, the former home of actor Fred MacMurray. And it is stunning. The property is only open to the public once a year, for this event, so that in itself makes it special. Since I was traveling with the media, I got to tour the house, and it was so charming and lovely that I may have to write a post about it.

Taste of Sonoma is truly that, a place where you can sample the wine and food of Sonoma County all in one place. Wine and food are organized in tents by appellation so you can visit your favorites and discover new ones, comparing and contrasting grapes and characteristics between AVAs.

Taste of Sonoma runs from 11:00 – 4:00, which is a good thing, because there is so much to see, do, taste, and learn. I was impressed at the number of seminars and experiences available in addition to the tasting tents, which could keep you occupied for the entire day on their own. It’s all incredibly organized, and the layout is spacious and aesthetically pleasing. You can’t go wrong with spending a day surrounded by vineyards and redwood trees

Below, you can take a trip through Taste of Sonoma with just a few of the hundreds of photos I captured on this beautiful day. Sonoma Wine Country Weekend happens every Labor Day weekend; start planning your travel now!


heirloom tomatoes Sonoma

Sonoma County Marketplace features some of the high quality ingredients Sonoma County chefs love, with the opportunity to taste and purchase on site.

Taste of Sonoma

Grape to Glass was one of the educational seminars that was a huge hit. Attendees learned about sustainable winegrowing and winemaking in Sonoma County and also got to taste fresh-from-the-vine grapes along with grapes in the glass as wine. Pretty neat!

chilled corn soup

Food samples were in serious abundance, and with the hot summer weather, chilled soups were popular. Corn soup and gazpacho (from Woodfour Brewing Company, which I will have a separate post on) were both popular choices, as was the pork belly served up by the Jimtown Store. What made the sampling at this event so fun were the suggested pairings in the tents; planners took the guesswork out so that tasters could maximize the deliciousness of the wine and food. What grows together goes together!

Woodfour Brewing Company
Jimtown Store  pork belly Peloton CateringTaste of Sonoma


Those who opted for the Grand Reserve tickets had access to Club Reserve, a quieter area set off to the side where winemakers were pouring some of their limited production wines, a rare treat and a space that was buzzing with conversation and tasting throughout the day.

Reserve tentpaella


The Main Stage at the event was devoted to some of the amazing chefs in Sonoma County including Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Culinary Chair Mark Stark owner of, among others, the beloved Willi’s Wine Bar, the must-visit Bravas, and soon-to-be-opened Bird & the Bottle, which I can’t wait to try on my next visit. The Paella Guy Chef Jose Castaneda was also one of the Sonoma Stars on Stage, in addition to having a tent where he was cooking massive pans of paella.



Taste of Sonoma

wine pairing with Kendall Jackson Pairing with the Pros by Kendall-Jackson showcased their great food and wine pairing program, one that I got to experience at their estate when I visited in June. The sensory garden at Kendall-Jackson is incredibly beautiful and alone a reason to visit. Taste of Sonoma offered a nice peek into the garden experience with an area devoted to the beautiful herbs, food, and flowers that is grown on the property.

food and wine pairings


Kendall Jackson Sensory Garden Kendall Jackson Garden


There was so much more to Taste of Sonoma than I could capture in one blog post. Guests were welcomed with a Gloria Ferrer Bubble Lounge featuring oysters and caviar. There were Wine Tours with Sommelier Stars, Wine Talks in the Wine Barn, and so much more, truly a splendid way for a wine and food lover to spend the day.

If you’re unfamiliar with Sonoma County, Taste of Sonoma would make a great first day of your visit, allowing you to check out 200 wineries at once and to decide which ones you want to make a visit to.  If you have any questions about the event or other events over Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, feel free to let me know!


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Tags: events, Food, Sonoma, Sonoma County, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, Travel, wine, wine country, wine tasting

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