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Sonoma Daytrip Recs for Wine/Food?

AquaW Jun 23, 2009 10:32 AM

Hey there SF hounds!

SoCal foodie here and I'm swinging up to visit a SF friend this coming weekend, and on Sunday we'll probably do a daytrip of Sonoma County. I've already check out some recent CH threads for places to hit up for tastings and food but just want to see if there's anything new & noteworthy.

Our itinerary is still tentative but I was thinking of starting with Domaine Carneros & Gloria Ferrer for some sparklies, then a brunch at ESTATE before moving up North and weaving our way back down; I got Preston, Dry Creek and Bella on my list (and Healdsburg Bar/Grill as a tentative late-lunch/early-dinner spot) but wondering if there's any must-try in terms of food or wines making our way back to SF.

Oh yea, big sweet tooth here so any interesting stuff in way of desserts is much appreciated! Not to mention and food staple/gifts that I can bring back to LA.



  1. a
    AquaW Jun 30, 2009 04:26 PM

    Thanks for the recs all and reporting back, what we wound up doing is Bovolo for brunch (the bacon, egg, cheese sandwich was simple but delicious -- as were the goatcheese turnover with passionfruit honey), spending most of the day at Dry Creek Valley and Russian River Valley wineries.

    Between the planned and spontaneous stops we wound up hitting 7 places -- Bella, Preston, Ferrari Carrano, Kokomo, Truett-Hurst, Quivira and Harvest Moon.

    (I particularly like the granny-smithy Chardonnay from Kokomo and the biodynamic GPS blend (grenache and syrah -- and forgot the 'p' off memory, though I *think* it's petit syrah) from Truett-Hurst that has a remarkable silky-yet-rich mouthfeel.

    Unfortunately, the wine I was most curious about -- sparkling gewurz from Harvest Moon -- was sold out, but the pourers were nice about it and waived our tasting fees.

    Finished off with pizza and a couple of hoppy brews at Russian River Brewing Co.

    But thanks for all the recs CHers, hopefully this will be useful for other Sonoma daytrippers and I'll definitely save this for the next time I swing up.

    1 Reply
    1. re: AquaW
      rworange Jul 13, 2009 11:44 PM

      Thanks for reporting back. How did you like Russian River Brewing?

      106 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

      Russian River Brewing Co.
      725 4th St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

    2. souschef Jun 24, 2009 09:53 AM

      When you are at Domaine Carneros don't just try the sparklers; many years ago I had an outstanding Pinot Noir there. And avoid the wine-filled chocolates.

      1. souschef Jun 23, 2009 11:04 AM

        I had a really nice lunch at "The Girl and the Fig" in Sonoma a while ago.

        7 Replies
        1. re: souschef
          AquaW Jun 23, 2009 11:13 AM

          Thanks! I remember reading about that resto a while ago but just fell off the radar... looks like that just trumped H Bar/Grill as the late afternoon spot!


          1. re: AquaW
            cyberroo Jun 23, 2009 04:34 PM

            Personally, I wouldn't recommend going back through Sonoma on your way home. Choose either Estate or Girl and the Fig for lunch (they're owned by the same people), then get your late afternoon meal in Healdsburg. It'll save you some extraneous driving, and I feel the Healdsburg has some better options. I'd consider Bovolo (my favorite), especially if you're just looking for something casual/lighter. There's also a pizza place up there that's supposed to be amazing. Either would be better than the Bar & Grill.

            1. re: cyberroo
              AquaW Jun 24, 2009 09:38 AM

              Thanks -- Bovolo or Zazu looks promising; thinking about Barndiva / Willi's Wine Bar too but heard a few mixed reviews on that one.

              Oh yea, definitely planning a stop at Russian River Brewing Co. esp after finding out its all day happy hour on Sun.


              1. re: AquaW
                Kathleen M Jun 24, 2009 11:28 AM

                Have you checked a map? Some of the stops you are planning are a long way away from each other and go in various directions off the main roads. I'm looking at your plans and thinking it would be impossible to do that combination of stuff in one day.

                1. re: Kathleen M
                  AquaW Jun 24, 2009 11:44 AM

                  Actually plotted them all down on google maps -- we plan on starting in Sonoma area pretty early (10am-ish) then driving up to Healdsburg (about hour to 90 minutes) and working our way back down and seeing what time allows.

                  A little of a meander but should still be able to squeeze quite a few nice stops - but right now I'm definitely trying to get as many tasty and worthwhile options as possible.


                  1. re: AquaW
                    VenerableBede Jun 25, 2009 12:09 PM

                    I agree with Kathleen. . .that is just far too long to be in a car. . .I would skip the first part of your itinerary in southern Sonoma County and just go straight up to Healdsburg. if your original itinerary is still set as above, you won't hit Preston until at least sometime after 2. If must do southern Sonoma, skip Domaine Carneros, since that is out of the way for where you are going.

                    1. re: VenerableBede
                      cyberroo Jun 25, 2009 04:45 PM

                      Another option would be to stop in Petaluma instead of Sonoma. Della Fattoria would be a good breakfast stop, and might be a little lighter, leaving you more opportunity to nosh as you work your way North. You could then focus your wine tasting in the Russian River area, and have all of the delights of Healdsburg to nibble on. The detour through 12 isn't particularly scenic, so you wouldn't be missing much.

        2. CarrieWas218 Jun 23, 2009 10:41 AM

          There are two really great bakeries in Sonoma where I always stop when I'm in the area. Fiorini has some amazing Italian delights and Basque Boulangerie (I take home the poppy seed danish and Mexican wedding cookies).

          Basque Boulangerie Cafe
          460 1st St E, Sonoma, CA 95476

          248 W Napa St, Sonoma, CA

          2 Replies
          1. re: CarrieWas218
            AquaW Jun 23, 2009 04:01 PM

            fiorini looks a bit higher than what I'd like to spend --- but Basque definitely sounds promising, if for the take-home goodies. Thanks! ~H.C.

            1. re: CarrieWas218
              Robert Lauriston Jun 24, 2009 10:29 AM

              Artisan is also great, as is Della Fattoria in Petaluma.

              Della Fattoria
              141 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

              Artisan Bakers
              720 W Napa St, Sonoma, CA 95476

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