Sunday, February 4, 2018

Wandering Through Wine Country

Sonoma 2018
Day 3
Monday, January 15, 2018

We decided that we needed to go to Black Bear Diner for breakfast at least once while we were here.  How could we not?  The restaurant was across the street from our hotel!  Weff, Glenndy, and I walked across the street, and you know I had to get pictures of us with bears. 
My Bear Friend Family

Even the bench seat has paw prints!

We were seated in the back where there were no other customers.  I swear I hadn't warned them about us beforehand.  I was hoping that somebody would order a ginormous bear claw, but none of us did.  I didn't need anymore baked goods in my luggage.  Neither did Cindy.  Our server was very stealthy and was labeled "Ninja Server" because he'd get things to us very quickly and very quietly.  When he asked Cindy what kind of bread she wanted, she had to think for a while because she already had to choose a few things regarding her meal.  Wendy whispered, "biscuit" a few times, so she ordered one.  She then called Wendy her hypnotist on Twitter and I didn't understand until at least 12 hours later.  I'd like to attribute it to a hangover, but that's not true.  Just regular lameness.  While we waited for our food, I walked around and took more pictures around the restaurant.
Basically the goal of this weekend

We're in Black Bear Wine Country!

Our huge plates of food arrived.  I ordered pancakes with my breakfast, and got them!

Yes, I had more tea.

Sauce offerings shown with my cup of tea

I appealed to the girls again to get a bear claw, but they still declined.  I had to try!  We walked back to the hotel and said our goodbyes to Weff, so they could go catch their flight.

Double N actually looked at the book of wineries in the hotel room, which I had suggested everyone do the night we arrived, but nobody did at that time.  He found a couple of wineries with the wine types he wanted to try, so we headed out for more wine tasting fun.

Our first stop was at Anaba, (pronounced with the accent on the first syllable, like "Annabelle", but not like the creepy doll.  That doll totally ruined me because my cousin's little girl, Annabelle, is such a cutie).  The tasting room was quite small, so Cindy didn't have much shopping to do.  She did see blankets that looked cozy, but she later learned that they weren't for sale: they were to use when you sit outside.  Well, that's nice!  They're also burgundy colored to hide the fact that you've spilled wine on it.  Smart!  

Double N and I did the 6-wine tasting flight. 

1) 2015 Turbine White Rhone-Style Blend, Sonoma Valley*
I liked the notes of citrus in this one.  It was like a Sau Blanc.

2) 2014 Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
3) 2014 Cardonnay, Sonoma Coast, Dutton Ranch
4) 2014 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
This one didn't look as transparent as the one at St. Francis.

5) 2014 Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Soberanes Vineyard
6) 2012 Late Harvest Roussanne, Sonoma Valley, Landa Vineyard*
Ah, the magic words!  "Late Harvest"!

Double N was disappointed that the 2014 Turbine Red Rhone was not on the tasting menu, since that is supposedly their signature wine.  Our server said it was usually on the menu for members, but said if he tipped her, she'd open up a bottle.  Which she then shared with others in the room anyway.  Well, thanks, Double N!  He liked it enough to buy a couple of bottles.  I bought a bottle of the Late Harvest Roussanne.  I thought of also buying a bottle of the white rhone blend, but I had already bought a Sau Blanc the previous day, so I decided against it.  

Our server happily took a picture of "Mr. Banana" with us and wished me a Happy Birthday when I told her why he was there.

I see you there in the background, Photo Bomber!

We then went to Shug Winery, and saw that they had a path we could follow and learn about vineyards.  
I wonder who gets to sit on this bench

I'd like to return here in the Spring to see this view

Part of the path was between vines, and they had recently pruned some of the branches, so we had to be careful not to get caught among the brambles.  

I'd like to see this tree with leaves,
but this is cool already.

Little House on the Lake

Made it!
Yeah, I know I didn't get that whole barrel in the picture.

Double N wanted to try some wine, so we went inside the tasting room.  It was tiny, but they had more stuff to look at than the other winery did.  I tried a bit of the Sauvignon Blanc, which I liked.  None of us bought anything, but we did learn that there are river cruises in Europe with wine tasting.  There were no prices, so I think we should be able to go for free.

We decided to have lunch in Napa, and went to Don Perico.  I had the albondigas and a shrimp enchilada.  I could have used less tomato in the soup, and the shrimp in the enchilada was a little salty, but it was fine.  

We walked around the area and I got all sad when I saw the Napa Valley Opera House because I know the inside isn't what it used to be, although I'd still like to see Rockapella play there now that it is owned by Blue Note.  I'm glad that Joe's Bar is still there, too.  I wanted to go to Morimoto to get some little dessert, so we walked by the water.

Are these windchimes?

Ohhh...Rock Paper Scissors!
Seriously, I just got that.

Sadly, Morimoto no longer has a dessert case up front to purchase yumminess, so we just took a look at the menu before going back to the car, and traveled to St. Helena.  Unfortunately, St. Helena Olive Oil company no longer has a store front, and their inventory was greatly affected by the fires (the owner and her home are fine).  So their skin care annex is no longer around, either.  I was happy to see Woodhouse Chocolates was still there, and bought some goodies.

I bought one of those chocolates
the cherub is holding.  YUM.

But how can I eat the pieces after people have been
touching them during the game?

Because Unicorn

We then returned to our hotel to get ready for dinner.  We walked to yet another side of the town square to El Dorado Kitchen, inside the El Dorado hotel.  When the host gave us our menus, he said, "Happy Birthday" and gave us menus with the same greeting on top.  I had stated on the Open Table reservations that we were celebrating a birthday, but this was the only restaurant that acknowledged it, so kudos to them!

 I ordered the Schug Sauvignon Blanc because I liked it earlier today, and it was on their wine list.  Yes, I thought I was done drinking, too, but it was our last dinner and I was OK by that time.

This is Double N's drink.
It was prettier than mine.

Amuse Bouche
Corn chip with hummus, cucumber and

Cute butter dish.
Bread in picture for size.

Seafood Paella.  Awesome.  

Banana tart with caramel, pepitas,
 and Meyer lemon ice cream. 

Everything was delicious.  It was a perfect meal to end our Sonoma dinners.  At one point, we heard a popping sound and couldn't figure out what was being tossed into the hot oil.  Our server informed us it was the Brussels sprouts, which were also tasty.

And then there were three

We walked back to the hotel.  It sprinkled a little bit while we were still inside the restaurant, but it had stopped when we left.  I lit the Duraflame in my fireplace one last time, and relaxed, thinking of our wonderful weekend.

Good Night, Sonoma!

Next up:  Travel Day

No comments:

Post a Comment