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Jan 21, 2010 10:11 AM

Healdsburg advice for 40th birthday!

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 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:


Truett Hurst*
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!

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  1. 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

      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

        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
        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
        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.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. 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.

        106 Matheson St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

        Healdsburg Charcuterie
        335 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448

        420 Center St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

        21021 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville, CA 95441

        8 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          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

            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

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

              Russian River Brewing for lunch/beer
              The Ravenous for dinner

              Costeaux Bakery for pastries
              A. Rafanelli
              Zin for lunch
              Scopa for dinner

              Arista (wine tasting plus picnic lunch...picking up sandwiches from either Dry Creek General store or Oakville Grocery)

              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

                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

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

                  1. re: tvham

                    Two dining places not mentioned I would highly recommend:

                    Farmhouse Inn - Forestville


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

                    Willi's Wine Bar - Santa Rosa


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

                  2. re: originalfig

                    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

                    How was Scopa?

                    109 Plaza St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

            2. 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