Wine Country, USA
I’ve come to California’s wine country for a girl’s trip to celebrate a sentinel birthday (I will never say which one). After meeting in San Francisco, we’ve rented a car and headed to the wine region.
The weather is perfect and we have decided to launch our food, wine and shopping journey with a tasting dinner at the St. Francis Winery & Vineyards in nearby Santa Rosa. And, OMG, what a wonderful way to begin.
We arrived just in the nick of time (they keep to tight schedules here), tired and hungry. The food and the wine pairings were absolutely wonderful. We started the meal with Arctic Char à la Barigoule (with a celery root – Yukon Gold potato purée), paired with a Chardonnay. Next was a Red Wine Braised Duck with coriander spätzle along with a really nice Pinot Noir, and a Smoked Beet Salad with goat cheese fondant and green garlic purée along with a different red. Our main course was a Coffee & Cocoa Crusted NY Strip Loin with roasted cauliflower, smoked garlic and crispy shallots, set off with a terrific Cabernet Sauvignon. For dessert, an incredible cheese selection (almost like a cheesecake) was served with a Mexican Chocolate Pot du Crème and a Port.
The meal was perfectly portioned and exquisitely prepared and served. It was heaven.
Refreshed and pretty mellow, we headed to Sonoma and the historic bungalow we had rented for a few days. This turned out to be a case where the photos looked great and the actual bungalow even better. The two-bedroom, mission-style home is just a couple of blocks off the town plaza and has been beautifully restored and outfitted. Bikes included.
We settled in, walked to the center of town and around the square, taking in the historic sites, mission-style, beautiful park and even the first Williams-Sonoma. Although It’s hard to believe we could eat more, we eventually stopped in at Oso (a new restaurant we’d heard about from our new friends at St. Francis), and shared a few delicious appetizers before calling it a night.
If you go:
You will need reservations for the dinner and wine pairing. $60 pp. Each seating has a maximum of 16 guests. www.stfranciswinery.com
Oso, 9 E Napa Street, http://www.ososonoma.com