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