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Week in Sonoma/Napa Eating Itinerary

d
dreamer Apr 22, 2008 10:53 AM

Dear Chowhounders....

After spending many blissful hours on these boards researching a week-long trip to wine country that my husband and I will be taking in May, I am wondering if anyone might help comment on our tentative dining choices and/or fill in some gaps. As a brief background....we're around 30, from NYC, love food, wine and travel, and are giddy with thoughts of all the food, juice, beauty and relaxation we're about to take in. Any thoughts on the below would be so very much appreciated, and I will endeavor to repay with a thorough report upon our return.

Sunday- San Fran to Santa Rosa
- Lunch: can anyone recommend a casual lunch spot near the muir woods for after a hike as we head up to Santa Rosa from SF?
- Dinner: Willi's Wine Bar

Monday - Sonoma/Russian River
- Lunch: Lunch in Healdsburg; maybe Bistro Ralph?
- Dinner: We are staying at the Vintners Inn and need to get up early the next day, and were thinking of just grabbing a casual dinner in the bar room at John Ash & Co. Is this a bad idea? Any other relatively low-key reccs?

Tuesday - Santa Rosa to Rutherford
- Lunch: Picnic at Pride Mountain (we will be driving from Santa Rosa....any suggestions on good places to pick up picnic supplies on way from Santa Rosa to Pride/Sherwin?)
- Sunset drinks at Auberge
- Dinner: Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen

Wed.
- Lunch: Taylor's Refresher
- Dinner: Ad Hoc

Thursday - Rutherford to Carneros
- Lunch: pick up picnic at Oakville Grocery or Sunshine (opinions on which one?) to have before visiting Frog's Leap. Any picnic area reccs near there?
- Dinner: Bistro Don Giovanni's

Friday
- Lunch: brunch included after hot air balloon ride
- Dinner: Ubuntu

Saturday
- brunch: Boonfly Cafe
- Dinner: French Laundry

Are we missing any MUST visits that we should trade one of the above for? One other specific question.....the one restaurant I'm feeling very nervous not having on our list is Terra, which would probably take the place of Cindy's due to location, drive, and the fact that it's a fried chicken night at Ad Hoc the next night and we can't miss that (right?). Is Terra very formal/high end? I'm just trying to balance out our meals as best as possible to get a good combination of formal and relaxed (but delicious) meals. Is Terra very special occasion feeling? Also, given that we're going to FL, would be nice if every meal is not a blow-out cost-wise. I know it totally depends on ordering (especially wine ordering) but can anyone give any guidance on cost for 2 at Terra with a moderate bottle of wine (let's say $40-$50)? Thoughts on terra vs. Cindy's?

Again, thanks so much in advance for any comments/guidance!! I have to say, planning our trips on Chow is as much a part of the joy of traveling as anything else!

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  1. Carrie 218 RE: dreamer Apr 23, 2008 08:09 AM

    I would definitely replace Cindy's with Terra, but I am not a Cindy's fan; way too inconsistent over the past few years. Terra is not *that* fancy feeling and I've seen folks in there with jeans and a sport coat as well ladies in dresses. It is far from the blow-out you'll be experiencing at FL, but I think it is far superior to Cindy's in service, quality of food, and memorability.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Carrie 218
      d
      dreamer RE: Carrie 218 Apr 23, 2008 08:10 AM

      Thanks Carrie. Is Terra much more expensive? Thanks again.

    2. d
      dreamer RE: dreamer Apr 23, 2008 08:25 AM

      I think my original post might have been too long/complicated -- to narrow down --

      1. can anyone recommend a casual lunch spot near the muir woods for after a hike as we head up to Santa Rosa from SF?
      2. We are staying at the Vintners Inn and need to get up early the next day, and were thinking of just grabbing a casual dinner in the bar room at John Ash & Co. Is this a bad idea? Any other relatively low-key reccs?
      3. Oakville Grocery or Sunshine?
      4. any suggestions on good places to pick up picnic supplies on way from Santa Rosa to Pride/Sherwin?
      5. Is Terra a no-brainer over Cindy's?
      6. Any picnic area reccs near Frog's Leap or Plump Jack?

      Thanks!

      5 Replies
      1. re: dreamer
        Sarah RE: dreamer Apr 23, 2008 09:59 AM

        Sunday lunch: Depends on whether you want to head for Santa Rosa via Hwy 1 or 101 freeway. Long windy scenic Hwy 1 - you can continue down Muir Woods Rd to the Pelican Inn or you can drive up to Panoramic Hwy to the Mountain Home Inn. Then continue to Stinson, up to Olema or Pt Reyes Stn. and cut across to 101. Or you can head back to Mill Valley, lunch at the Dipsea Cafe on Shoreline, then onto the freeway for non-stop drive to SR. Have a great trip!

        1. re: Sarah
          d
          dreamer RE: Sarah Apr 23, 2008 03:21 PM

          If we have the time, I think scenic is the way to go -- thank you for including options for both!

          1. re: dreamer
            Sarah RE: dreamer Apr 23, 2008 03:52 PM

            Of course, if you can hold off eating for a bit, there're luncheries in Stinson and points north. Olema Inn, Pine Cone, et al... also a cheese factory outside of Petaluma enroute to 101.

        2. re: dreamer
          k
          Kathleen M RE: dreamer Apr 23, 2008 10:31 AM

          I'm a big believer in John Ash. I've only eaten in the dining room, but I hear that a casual meal in the bar is just as good. I've been looking forward to trying a dinner in the bar, so I will really look forward to your report!

          1. re: dreamer
            Eat_Nopal RE: dreamer Apr 23, 2008 03:56 PM

            1. I don't in any condone it, but visitors usually ask about In N' Out... well there are several en route otherwise there a number decent places in Petaluma

            2. John Ash is a dud.... I heartily warn you against it.... Zazu might be a better option.

          2. wearybashful RE: dreamer Apr 25, 2008 02:02 PM

            Picnic supplies in Santa Rosa on the way to Pride:
            You'll be going by 2 locally owned markets with very good take-out and deli, and open early:

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            Oliver's Market
            560 Montecito Center, Santa Rosa, CA 95409

            Pacific Market
            1465 Town and Country Dr, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

            1. wearybashful RE: dreamer Apr 25, 2008 02:07 PM

              Almost forgot, you could get something to go at Chloe's

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              Chloe's French Cafe
              3883 Airway Drive 145, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

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