February 01, 2012

A Three Day, Three County Culinary Tour

Lavonna's visiting from Minnesota for the weekend. So we pack the trunk with provisions and wind our way to Windsor. Through Walnut Creek.

First stop: Sasa, Walnut Creek's hopping Izakaya-inspired hot spot. The food is edgy but interesting, and the crowd's typically younger, hipper, and more happening than we are. But the staff is warm and welcoming, and from the "fish fries" and lotus chips to the sisig and pork belly specials, we adore chef de cuisine Sam Castro's take on local and seasonal with a pan Asian flair.

Satiated, we hit the road for Windsor. About 5 miles southeast of Healdsburg in Sonoma County, the Worldmark Resort in Windsor would be our home base for a weekend of food and wine adventures.

Saturday we had a scrumptious breakfast (and some dessert) at Della Fattoria in Petaluma, where the gorgeous caffe lattes and the sausage scramble piadina hit the spot. We didn't leave empty handed -- a hefty loaf of meyer lemon rosemary bread was the first of the day's additions to the trunk.

From Della Fattoria, we went on a bit of a cheese tour, with stops at the Spring Hill Cheese Company in downtown Petaluma and the Matos Cheese Factory farm in Santa Rosa. With bread and dairy procured, we spent the afternoon chasing the fruit of the vine, with visits to Raymond Burr Vineyard, Quivira, and Francis Ford Coppola. We ended the evening with a splendid dinner at Coppola's Rustic, featuring a menu full of Francis' homestyle favorites.

Sunday we made a road trip to Hopland, and after a brief encounter with California Highway Patrol (where I acknowledged my expired tags and learned that a licence plate on the front of the vehicle is now a requirement) we enjoyed a variety of wines and chocolates at Brutocao Cellars. Our last stop on the Sonoma County tour was Guy Fieri's Johnny Garlic's (which is now apparently opening an outpost in San Jose).