Saturday, November 14, 2009

food and wine in sonoma, ca

We just got back from a wonderful wine country vacation. We ate and drank, and relaxed at a beautiful ranch in Sonoma County...

We were spoiled each morning with amazing breakfasts that were prepared there on the ranch, full of fresh fruits, veggies and eggs. We spent the days sipping wine at the local wineries, and eating some of the best food wine country has to offer.

When we first arrived in California we stopped for lunch at a place we'd been dying to try- Bar Jules. This small restaurant in San Francisco was recently included on a list of the top 10 best new restaurants in America (along with our own Greenhouse Tavern!), and it was everything we hoped it would be. The Chef offers one daily menu, based on seasonal and local availability. First we split an arugula salad with persimmons, walnuts, and feta. Wow. Then Jerel ordered a burger with Gruyere, and I had the preserved swordfish with roasted peppers and capers. They were both outstanding. Simple, and delicious.

Once in Sonoma, we went to a place that we absolutely love called the El Dorado Kitchen. We've been there several times, and it never disappoints. I was so eager to eat dinner I forgot to snap any pictures, but we had the most flavorful pan seared trout, which was topped with green beans, toasted almonds, and lobster! For dessert we had vanilla crepes which were topped with strawberries and aged balsamic, and served with vanilla bean ice cream. Awesome. And since we were so happy with our dinner experience, we had to go back again another day for a treat...we decided on espressos and a chocolate s'mores tart, which was topped with toasted meringue and served with vanilla bean ice cream. Perfect ending to a wonderful day.

One of our other favorite Sonoma restaurants is The Girl and The Fig, and their smaller counterpart, The Fig Cafe. We stopped at The Fig Cafe for lunch and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. We started with Fig Royales (champagne mixed with fig syrup), then split a salad of arugula, blue cheese, and walnuts, as well as steak frites. All delicious, and the perfect lunch before more wine tasting!

Oh, and I can't forget our meal at Brix. This restaurant/garden/vineyard is a wonderful place to enjoy a meal. Grab a glass of wine and enjoy the views! The food was great too, many of the items come from the on site garden...I had a butternut squash panini, and Jerel has a zucchini and goat cheese panini. Yum!

A few of our other favorite stops were Rancho Gordo for heirloom beans, and Kara's Cupcakes inside the Oxbow Public Market, both in Napa.

In addition to all of these excellent food finds, we were lucky enough to stay at a beautiful ranch that has animals and fruits and vegetables and flowers and grape vines galore! I took it upon myself to pick a few figs, as well as a lemon, a lime, a few persimmons, and what I believe to be small grapefruits. This place is like paradise, seriously. Weeping willow trees, and grape vines as far as the eye can see. And did I mention the beautiful horses, and cows, and chickens, and birds, and dogs on the property...?! This was a real, live, paradise ranch! I wish we could have stayed forever...

Ahh...until next time...for now, I'll be working on recreating some of the amazing dishes at home!

1 comment:

  1. I'm drooling after reading your post. So many delicious things you got to enjoy! Looks like it was the perfect way to celebrate your first anniversary :)

    Great pictures by the way!