Adventures in Napa and Sonoma, Day 2

Day 2 found us waking up in the little Airbnb cottage.  Comfy beds and pillows, along with a fairly quiet night helped us to wake up very rested.

Since we were staying in a comfy little cottage in the middle of a construction/landscaping yard, there were some worker guys walking around outside and getting in their trucks to go to work.  That was a little disconcerting, but it didn’t spoil our day.

This day was the reason we decided to take a mini-vacation in the first place.  We are members of Deloach Winery and they were having a Lobster Feast for members.  Since it was close to our anniversary, we signed up for the event.  We were not disappointed.  More about that later.

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As I mentioned before, we purposefully kept our itinerary open to allow for freedom to wander around and stop where we wanted to stop.  As it turned out, we needed the extra time because the Iron Man Race was happening on this very day in this very area and we did get caught up in the bicycle end of it and traffic was slow and directed to places we did not want to go.  These things happen.  No worries if you plan for it.

Yes!Chef! was not particularly interested in cooking while we were on vacation as he wanted to be able to experience some of the great food in the Sonoma area, particularly in the tiny town of Healdsburg, which has become a real foodie town.

I researched breakfast/coffee eateries in Healdsburg, found a couple I wanted to try, and we headed out to see the town.  Our Airbnb was about 15 minutes from Healdsburg, which made it quite convenient.

Parking on the street is free and there are many parking lots available that have free parking, so unless you arrive late in the day on a busy weekend, you should be able to find free parking.

Flying Goat coffee

We found parking on the street and used our phone maps in walking mode to navigate to a little coffee shop called Flying Goat Coffee.  There are lots of fun things to see as you are walking around Healdsburg (see above photos), but I knew we would be taking a food tour of Healdsburg on Monday, so we didn’t spend a lot of time exploring.  (See Day 4)

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Flying Goat Coffee is located in one of the many older buildings in Healdsburg and has the same feeling/vibe as an upscale Starbucks.  The clientele is upscale and mostly Hipster. However, as un-hipster as we are, we felt quite comfortable.

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I ordered an ice latte and Yes!Chef! ordered a hot latte with fancy cream art on top.  We split a blueberry muffin.

We walked the long way back to the car to explore a little of the town and we spoke to several very friendly locals who took time to talk to us and welcome us to this little community.

J Winery

After that, as you can see by the above itinerary, we had an appointment at J Winery, located just outside Healdsburg, for a wine and food pairing on their terrace.2017 Russian River Vacation-346-2YC blog

We arrived there a little before our 11:30 appointment so we were able to wander around their beautiful property a bit before tasting the wine.

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We walked over to the terrace area and were escorted to a tall table with tall seats on the terrace.  We had a lovely view and it was totally shaded by large umbrellas.  There was a pleasant breeze on the terrace.  It was quite lovely.

I’m sorry to say I don’t remember the first wine we were served, but it was a light, refreshing white wine served with a seasoned sweet and savory popcorn that they make on premises.

They brought over some water and a bunch of glasses and began serving.  We tried a lovely Vin Gris with a Fresh Chickpea Falafel with Roasted Cucumber, Red Pepper Relish and a Seasoned Yogurt; a Chardonnay served with a Rillette with Dried Apricots on Rustic Sour Dough with Mustard Seeds and Frisee ; and a Pinot Noir with glazed lamb ribs, Galia Melon Barbecue Sauce and a Cabbage and Onion Slaw.

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Last, but not least, we were served a Vintage Brut Magnum with Gooey Butter Cake with Fresh Blackberries.

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All the food was prepared on premises by Executive Chef Carl Shelton. The cost for this experience was $55.00 per person.  It was a nice light lunch, except for the cake which was a nice, but rich, finish.

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The Barlow

Now for the free time…

We drove around a little and then decided to stop at The Barlow in Sebastapol.

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Some of the street art that you can see around The Barlow

The Barlow website says this about this place:

The Barlow is a 12-acre Bay Area outdoor market district in Sebastopol, California featuring local food, wine, beer, spirits and crafts made onsite by Sonoma County artisans. Stroll our industrial-chic, dog-friendly campus and savor the organic edible landscaping — a nod to the rich agricultural history of The Barlow. Bring your special occasion to life at The Barlow Event Venue or attend a festive, family-friendly public event at The Barlow.

We’ve been here before for lunch at the Woodfour Brewing Company(excellent restaurant and brewery, btw.)  But, we really didn’t get a chance to walk around.  I really wanted to go to Zazu because I had heard some real good things about it, but Yes!Chef! did not appear too interested.

So, we poked around some fancy stores and bought some cheese from a nice little creamery and ended up back at Zazu.

Zazu Kitchen and Farm

Zazu is all about cured meats…cured meats and beer…cured meats, beer and homemade pickles.  I was hooked on the meats part.

It is inside one of the Barlow’s shed-like buildings.  They also have an outside patio, but it’s not as cool as the inside.

I coerced Yes!Chef! to go inside for a beer and an appetizer.  He was afraid that it would ruin our appetite for the Lobster Feast later on that night.

But, I really wanted to experience Zazu, so he relented.

We ordered two beers and a small sampler plate of cured pork and homemade pickles.

It was a fun atmosphere, the service was excellent and the cured meats and pickles were excellent.  We decided we would go back for lunch sometime.  I’m not a big beer fan, but it tasted pretty good after walking around in the warm sun.  It was a great way to spend an hour during our free time.

After we were done with our snack, it was time to head back to the little bungalow and change clothes for the Lobster Feast.

It’s good that we allowed a little extra time because the Iron Man bike race clogged up the traffic and diverted us way south of our destination.  A little tense at times, but we made it to the Lobster Feast in plenty of time…

And what a time it was.  Check back for the next part.

Adventures in Napa and Sonoma, Day 1, Part 1

Adventures in Napa and Sonoma, Day 1, Part II

Adventures in Napa and Sonoma, Day 1, Part III

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