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Healdsburg advice for 40th birthday!

tvham Jan 21, 2010 10:11 AM

So my 40th birthday is next month and I'm trying to lock down as much as possible for a four day weekend in Healdbsurg. The dates are Feb 18-21 - three of us heading up Thurs/Fri then a larger group (approx 10-12 people) meeting up on Saturday.

Here are my initial thoughts:

Thursday -
Lunch/beer at Russian River Brewing Company (just in time for Pliny the Younger!)

Wine tasting at Siduri

On to Healdbsburg to check in to the rental house

A 'nicer' dinner, thinking Zin or The Ravenous

Friday -
Wine tasting and lunch, thinking either Zin or The Ravenous (whichever one we didn't go to the night before)

Dinner at Scopa

Saturday - Wine tasting and lunch, probably sandwiches or something else quick. If the weather is nice (not likely at the end of Feb but you never know) maybe picnic at one of the wineries?

Dinner - here's where I'm at a loss. I was hoping to have a big birthday dinner at Scopa but from what I understand, it's just not a big enough venue for 12-16 people. Do you have any suggestions for an alternative venue? Scopa sounds great because it's affordable and they have a great wine list...plus I'm a huge pizza fan. But I'm not limited to pizza, especially if the three of us go to Scopa on Friday night.

I'm also thinking that we could just do takeout to the house or stay in and cook if we can't find a suitable venue for us all on Sat night...

As for wine tasting, here are the wineries I'm considering:

Friday:
A.Rafanelli
Quivira
Preston
Unti

Saturday:
Ridge
Truett Hurst*
Arista*
Mill Creek*

*never been

I looked up the wineries and any that specified not good for a large group went on the Friday list...did I do ok? Any other 'must visit' wineries?

At some point in our trip I'd also like to stop by Bear Republic Brewing, Costeaux Bakery, Bovolo (love the breakfast pizza!)

Sunday -

Brunch then heading home. Any great brunch places that we shouldn't miss? Barndiva, perhaps? Probably for 10 or so people.

Thanks in advance for any advice that you have to offer!

  1. v
    vulber Feb 12, 2010 10:17 PM

    Where are you based out of? If SF area, Downtown Bakery is at the Ferry Building Saturday Market every week, so it's not an incredible must see

    1. Melanie Wong Feb 10, 2010 05:03 PM

      Since you're familiar with Bovolo, maybe that would be the alternative to take-out for your big group. If it's not raining, you might be able to score the back patio all to yourself. Bovolo has special event dinners with a prix fixe menu from time to time, maybe your group is large enough to arrange something like that. If you can get a comp or discount on corkage and bring your own, it could be quite affordable.

      I had a lovely lunch at Ravenous in the fall. Quite good value too.

      I'm wondering if "celeryroot" has been to Charcuterie recently and how it's faring. I heard from a friend that the owner Patrick Martin is doing more of the cooking himself again while things are tight, and that can only be a good thing, I suspect.

      Diavola is quite good too. Chef Dino is part off the Santi lineage, as is Chef Ari at Scopa.

      -----
      Bovolo
      106 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

      Healdsburg Charcuterie
      335 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448

      Ravenous
      420 Center St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

      Diavola
      21021 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville, CA 95441

      8 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong
        c
        celeryroot Feb 11, 2010 06:30 AM

        I havent been to Charcuterie since last summer but I have always liked.
        Problem with back patio at Bovolo the heat lamps dont always work or the help does not have a clue how to turn them on, other wise it is a good suggestion.

        1. re: celeryroot
          s
          syrahgirl Feb 11, 2010 09:02 AM

          Willi's Seafood and Raw Bar is very good, it is right on the plaza next to the Kendall-Jackson tasting room where I suggest you try. We are huge fans of Dry Creek Kitchen, also. Enjoy Healsburg! :)

          1. re: syrahgirl
            tvham Feb 11, 2010 09:32 AM

            A week or so away and we have our plans finalized now...thanks to all for the suggestions!

            Thurs:
            Russian River Brewing for lunch/beer
            Siduri
            The Ravenous for dinner

            Fri:
            Costeaux Bakery for pastries
            A. Rafanelli
            Preston
            Zin for lunch
            Unti
            Scopa for dinner

            Sat:
            Quivira
            Arista (wine tasting plus picnic lunch...picking up sandwiches from either Dry Creek General store or Oakville Grocery)
            Ridge
            Truett-Hurst

            We decided to do dinner at the house on Saturday...a friend owns a restaurant and he's doing some catering for us so we don't need to worry about a lot of prep work for the meal....just going to throw some kebabs and steaks on the grill.

            Sunday brunch will also be at the house...thought it would be easier to make brunch than try and rally 12 people together at 11am!

            Thanks to all for the suggestions...I will report back after the big weekend.

            1. re: tvham
              o
              originalfig Feb 11, 2010 08:53 PM

              Looks like a great itinerary, good luck! Only suggestion I'd make is to go to Downtown Bakery over Costeaux. The pastries at Downtown are out of sight (not just the sticky buns...)

              Don't miss the mini fruit galettes, doughnut muffins and pains au chocolat. They are out of sight. Plus if you are feeling hungrier they have a small menu of hot dishes on weekends, too.....

              And if you find yourself in need of a pick-me-up try the coffee at Flying Goat, just off the square.

              1. re: originalfig
                tvham Feb 12, 2010 10:29 AM

                Thanks, originalfig...I'll add Downtown Bakery and Flying Goat to the list!

                1. re: tvham
                  t
                  tanglenet Feb 12, 2010 06:59 PM

                  Two dining places not mentioned I would highly recommend:

                  Farmhouse Inn - Forestville

                  http://www.farmhouseinn.com/

                  It's a good spot for a small party, not a large one.

                  Willi's Wine Bar - Santa Rosa

                  http://www.starkrestaurants.com/willi...

                  They can probably accommodate your party of 10 on the patio with advance notice for brunch or lunch.

                2. re: originalfig
                  Melanie Wong Feb 12, 2010 10:41 PM

                  Yes, the breakfast pizza at Downtown is a great start to the morning and not available at the stand at Ferry Plaza. I'd suggest stopping in Thursday and/or Friday a little before 4:30 for the 50% markdown on selected items to provision the house with snacks. Be sure to get a number. I was there a little after 5 today when not much was left. But I did get a full size sweet baguette, 2 butter croissants, and 3 blueberry scones. Total tab: $6.47. The breakfast pastries freeze well.

                  -----
                  Preston Vineyards & Winery
                  9206 W Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448

                  Arista Winery
                  7015 Westside Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448

                  Ridge Vineyards - Lytton Springs
                  650 Lytton Springs Rd, Healdsburg, CA

                  Quivira Vineyards
                  4900 W Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg, CA

                  Unti Vineyards
                  4202 Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg, CA

                3. re: tvham
                  DebitNM Dec 24, 2010 01:54 PM

                  How was Scopa?

                  -----
                  Scopa
                  109 Plaza St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

          2. c
            celeryroot Jan 21, 2010 06:19 PM

            You might look at Healdsburg Bar and Grill , same people as Cyrus, or Cene Luna. Both have good food and room. Where is your rental ? The take out for that number is not exactly promising.
            Add Downtown Bakery to your list. Barndiva nice but more pricey . Are you looking for casual or more upscale for brunch?

            2 Replies
            1. re: celeryroot
              tvham Jan 21, 2010 09:21 PM

              HBG looks promising, thanks for the tip!

              Our rental is (according to the website) a 20 minute walk or two minutes by car from the Square. Downtown Bakery looks like a try as well (at least for the sticky bun!)

              Sunday brunch is still up in the air...I'd love to have both a nicer (eg. Barndiva) option as well as a less expensive option.

              1. re: tvham
                c
                celeryroot Jan 22, 2010 06:40 AM

                I think Ravenous might be best for brunch
                Dry Creek Kitchen has a nice brunch.
                You might go to some wine tastngs around Geyserville and stop at Diavola
                http://www.diavolapizzeria.com/
                About 15 min from Healdsburg, great stuff and larger then Scopa. Geyserville has some great fun tasting rooms, you cant miss them it is only 1 block long.
                Other places to look at are Bistro Ralph
                An new place to check out is http://www.affrontihealdsburg.com/
                I have only been once and enjoyed it. The brunch or party might be nice. It is rather new so you wont find much but it will meet your size requirements. Small plates.

                Depending where you are tasting the Dry Creek General Store and Jimtown store are great to stop for sandwiches and cheese etc . for food supplies for rental Big Johns would be best.

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