My Gastronomical Discoveries in Northern CA

Tim & I spent the weekend in Sonoma, CA and then exhibited at the Ad:Tech San Francisco conference.

Vineyard Near Jack London State Park
Vineyard Near Jack London State Park

We had a relaxing weekend filled with good wine and food.  There was a local event going on called April in Carneros which allowed us to visit lots of small vineyards not always open to the public.

And, Ad:Tech was good for us and hopefully will translate to lots of new leads for!

Here are my top 10 food & wine discoveries from the trip (in chronological order)!

1.  Jack in the Box

I never eat fast food but I always try to find time for some In-N-Out when I am in California.  We arrived in Sonoma late on Friday.  Neither Tim nor I had eaten dinner and we were both starving but restaurants had already stopped serving.  There wasn’t an In-N-Out in sight but we found a Jack in the Box, which I had never tried.  I ordered the Sirloin Cheeseburger.  It hit the spot and was far more reminiscent of In-N-Out than of any other fast food chain.

2. Gloria Ferrer’s Blanc de Noir

Gloria Ferrer was the first sparkling wine house in the Sonoma Carneros region.  Tim and I both love the “champers” so it wasn’t a surprise I enjoyed this stop on our winery tour.  The Blanc de Noir champaign – made primarily with Pinot Noir grapes – was my favorite.

April in Carneros Glass
April in Carneros Glass

3. the girl & the fig

Tim and I had an amazing dinner at this “French-inspired country food” restaurant.  I started with a delicious cheese and cured meat plate and had the perfect spring fish dish for my entree — sautéed Pacific rock cod with asparagus, hen of the woods mushrooms, green garlic ragout with meyer lemon-herb oil.  So fresh!  Tim had a wonderful braised pork cheek dish.  We both enjoyed a syrah wine flight with our appetizers and then I had viognier flight with my cod.  The three wine tastes came in mismatched vintage glasses that made drinking the wine even more fun!

The Baby Goat at Truchard
The Baby Goat at Truchard

4. Truchard Vineyard

This family-owned vineyard not only had great wines but had such a wonderful vibe.  Their land was stunning with the most glorious oak trees Tim and I have ever seen.  Friends and family milled about as well as the family’s adorable baby goat (who oddly reminded me of my dog!) giving the place an intimate feeling.  They served delicious Mexican hors d’oeuvres to accompany the wines which was a wonderful bonus!

5. Harvest Moon Cafe

Tim and I had a delicious dinner in their back garden.  It was a warm evening so Tim and I indulged in one of our favorite summertime drinks – a cool, crisp rose.  The most memorable part of the meal were the delicious mascarpone crepes with strawberries and vanilla bean ice cream.  A great spot in downtown Sonoma.

6. Peet’s Caffè Freddo Extra Bold

During college, I would frequent a coffee and bookshop called Atticus.  I loved their cappuccino granitas — a delicious crushed ice and coffee combo.  Atticus no longer serves granitas and I have never found a frozen coffee concoction that compared util trying Peet’s Caffe Freddo Extra Bold on Monday.  It was nearly 90 degrees in San Francisco so it not only tasted good but helped cool me off!

7. Delfina Restaurant

We met our friends Wayee and Ethan at one of their favorite restaurants — a neighborhood trattoria in San Francisco’s Mission District called Delfina. It was great to catch up with our friends and the food was wonderful.  Tim and I shared a spectacular grilled calamari dish to start and then I had the paccheri and blue-nosed seabass all’ Amalfitana – a pasta dish with small pieces of seabass in a very light tomato sauce.

8. Bi-Rite Creamery

After dinner at Delfina we walk a block to try Bi-Rite Creamery, a local ice cream shop.  Judging by the long line on an unusually hot San Francisco evening, we were pretty sure the ice cream would be yummy.  We were not disappointed – I had a cone with Coffee Toffee and Tim enjoyed Malted Vanilla with Peanut Brittle and Milk Chocolate Pieces.  Both flavors were super fresh tasting with real bits of toffee, brittle and chocolate.  A delicious end to the day!

9. Alexandria Cafe (785 Market Street, San Francisco)

I discovered this little streetside cafe – you order into a window on Market Street – when searching for a quick lunch spot near the Moscone Center in San Francisco.  Delicious Mediterranean and Middle Eastern wraps!  I had the falafel wrap one day and the roasted eggplant the other.  Both were delicious – on real lavash with wonderful tahini and hummus.

10. Water Bar

Our investors hosted an event at the Water Bar on Tuesday night.  The setting was spectacular — cocktails were on a deck overlooking the Bay Bridge.  Typically you don’t expect too much from the food at events with 30 people and often restaurants with such wonderful views get away with less than stellar cuisine.  But the food was delicious!  I had a wonderful sole for my entree and everyone at the table seemed to enjoy the creme brulee for dessert.

We enjoyed the California sun and hope spring will be upon us in the New York and the Berkshires this weekend!

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