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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

Need I say more? Yesterday morning, we awoke to a beautiful day in Napa. After lolling around for a bit, having coffee on the hotel’s terrace, and checking out, we headed up to Yountville for a little breakfast, Thomas Keller style.

Our second trip to the Bouchon Bakery, we were already familiar with it’s tantalizing array of treats, and unlike the last time, we were there on a weekday morning. It was perfectly quiet and warm and sunny enough outside for a handful of people to be sitting in it’s outdoor area.

Bouchon Bakery

Can my new job be driving the Bouchon Bakery bicycle? Please? Smile

Bouchon Bakery

While the Bouchon Bakery wasn’t packed, it did have a line, so we looked around while we waited. A sign advertising a prix fixe dinner at Bouchon drew us in. Unfortunately, the dinner special had ended the day before.

image

We watched as the Bouchon bakers put in trays and trays of baguettes.

Bouchon Bakery

And then it was our turn to order. Ordering at Bouchon is pretty overwhelming, but we decided on a vanilla macaron and a chocolate croissant. In hindsight, I am wondering why I chose vanilla with all of the other flavors, but I think it is a good, classic flavor and gives a good indication of a bakery’s talent. The lemon looks really good to me now. . .

Bouchon Bakery

Passion Fruit Macaron, Bouchon Bakery

Bouchon Bakery

The macarons and other baked goods seemed almost too good to eat.

Bouchon Bakery

And I wanted to try everything. That is the problem with only being able to visit places once in awhile.

Bouchon croissant

We decided to join our fellow pastry-eaters outside for some sunshine. It was a little breezy but warm enough for me to be wearing a dress and spring jacket without tights. It felt strange after a winter of being bundled up!

The macaron ended up a good choice, light, chewy with an almost marshmallow-like filling.

Bouchon macaron

Obviously I would recommend heading to Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery if you are ever in the Napa Valley area. It’s certainly worth a drive to Yountville to check out the famed Thomas Keller’s hotspots. I only wish we could have stayed forever. . .

What’s your favorite baked good of all time?

Bouchon Bakery on Urbanspoon

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Tags: baked goods, Bakeries, Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery, California, croissants, Food, macarons, Napa, Travel, Yountville

Before I dive into my local favorite review, I just wanted to share that I used frozen spinach- about half of a bag – in my Green Monster this morning. I threw it in frozen, but I may thaw the rest out tonight and quickly steam it in the morning. Anyway, it was a stellar GM, VERY green, and despite the very long day I am having, I feel great. I have some Amazing Grass samples on the way, so check in later this week or early next for a review on those!

 

Local favorite: Joanne Chang

About: http://www.flourbakery.com/staff.php?pid=703  (of note, she ran every Boston Marathon from 1991-2006!! My 3 marathons pale in comparison. I guess I can’t complain that I don’t have time to run!)

I first discovered the incredible work of Joanne Chang about a year and a half ago while working in Boston’s Seaport District right next to her Flour Bakery. Having just changed jobs, I was on a tight budget and held off on visiting Flour, despite the incredible smells emanating from it, until I started training for the Boston Marathon.

Those who know me well know that I am a hobbit. I can eat 10 small meals a day when I’m not working out a lot, and when I am training for a marathon, my food intake becomes mildly ridiculous. Flour Bakery became my treat of the week. While Ms. Chang is famous for her sticky buns, and they are gooooood, my favorites are Flour’s sugar brioche, banana chocolate bread pudding, and Scharffenberger chocolate cookies. With a café au lait,  one of these treats became a weekly Friday ritual. . . until my mileage increased and I decided that banana chocolate bread pudding was a suitable lunch item because it contained fruit. I never went for baked goods more than twice a week, but I soon discovered Flour’s melty grilled sandwiches, homemade soups, and homemade raspberry seltzer which, for a bubbly fiend like me, is about the best thing you can come across.

Just for the sake of research, I stopped by Flour’s South End location on my walk home today and picked up this gorgeous chocolate cupcake, which I guarded with my life on the rest of my walk home. I also ordered a deliciously refreshing, slightly spicy ginger lemonade which reminded me of the beloved Trader Joe’s lemon ginger tea that seems to no longer exist. . .

cupcake mmm

The cupcake will be a special hump-day treat for the hub and I later this evening, but without even taking a bite, I know it will be incredible.

Ms. Chang’s other well known establishment in Boston is Myers + Chang, a funky diner-like space that offers fresh food full of a variety of amazing Asian flavors. My first trip to M + C did not go well, and I made a point of Yelping about it. To my absolute surprise, I received a personal email from Ms. Chang, apologizing, and asking us to give it another try.

I am glad I did. My husband and I have been to Myers + Chang at least ten times, and to me Myers + Chang = Saturday lunch. We have only tried a few things on the menu, and I can’t seem to change it up because I CRAVE the grilled homemade 5-spice tofu banh mi and the Thai ginger chicken salad. These flavors are alive, fresh, crisp while also being filling and leaving you with a little pep in your step. I always feel good after eating here, and after my first experience have been delighted by the attentive and pleasant staff. They offer date night specials from Sunday-Tuesday with a specially priced menu – $40/couple plus $25 bottles of wine! It’s not often we drag ourselves out on a weeknight, but this will be worth it!

Boston Center for Adult Education is offering a class with Ms. Chang (!!) later this summer, and I am hoping to be in attendance to meet this brilliant baker, businesswoman, and fellow Boston Marathoner!

If you live in Boston or are just visiting, don’t miss Flour Bakery (Washington St. in the South End or Farnsworth St. in the Seaport) and Myers + Chang (1145 Washington St. South End, Boston).

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Tags: Bakeries, Boston, Cupcakes, Dining out, Food, foodie, Green monster, Lunch, recipe, Restaurants, Vegetarian

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