Having just returned from a welcome retreat to Wine Country, I can tell you – now’s the perfect time to go get lost on the West Coast! We’re entering a GORGEOUS time of year for out there…the air cool and crisp, the scenery exploding with indescribable color. The time of year growers and wine makers live for!
Typically temps won’t peak much past eighty with nighttime more than a little invigorating in the low fifties to upper forties. Heavenly if you ask me!
It’s also harvest time for the vineyards and wineries, and the bounty is plentiful! A new tapas bar was one of my best finds this most recent time around–Bravas Bar de Tapas in Healdsburg. Our meal went off without a hitch – breezy patio seating, large shareable plates, sangria – the works! We even made off with the recipe for their Spanish Pan Seared Scallops [above]…drizzled in a Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette with Romesco Sauce.
I encourage you to relive some of my past journeys as well to this spectacular region, beginning with Jordan Vineyard & Winery, renown for their Cabernet Sauvignon, and one of my all-around favorite properties. Goodtaste was lucky enough to reap the benefits of harvest season this year at Jordan…feast on fresh garden salads from Executive Chef Todd Knoll! His Garden Kimchi Salad [top] and this Garden Fig Salad below, respectively. Both would pair nicely with a Jordan Chardonnay…
Squash meal, Robert Mondavi Winery.
Figs rippening in the Jordan Winery Garden.
Still have an appetite? Even more seasonal eats are below!
Choose from over 120 different Cabernets at Del Dotto Vineyards OR ditch the vino entirely (not recommended ;)) in favor of HeartBrand Akaushi or this Hot Smoked Salmon and Roe on a Del Ritz Cracker [below] from Executive Chef Josh Schwartz! The caviar is an especially nice touch…
Photo by: Marc Fiorito/Gamma Nine
The girl and the fig continues to wow diners in the town of Sonoma. Owner Sondra Bernstein shared this recipe with me on one of our visits: a slow cooked Pork Shank that’s easy to prepare and never disappoints.
Any visit to wine country usually involves at least one night in beautiful San Francisco. My buddy Chef Thomas Rimpel not only shared his famous Dungeness Crab Chowder recipe but also let me assist in its preparation…
The Inn at Occidental is the perfect place to stay while exploring Sonoma wines. The charming inn is a quick 15 minute drive from the coast and is situated in a great location for visiting some of the regions best wineries. Their breakfasts alone are worth the trip to Sonoma! Here is the recipe to their oh so sweet Lemon Loaf:
When I stayed at the Mondavi’s several years back, Rob and Lydia took Mike and I to lunch at their Folio Enoteca [shown below] in the public market in Napa called the Oxbow. The food was fabulous! I’ll never forget the delicious Panzanella Tomato Salad with red wine vinaigrette. I asked Rob if I could share the recipe with you, and always the nice guy… he said yes. Enjoy!