Sunday, November 21, 2021

Looking for new restaurants


We decided to head north and find some new restaurants. Tonight was Counter which was one of the most interesting restaurants I've been to in awhile. If you zoom in on the box in the photo, it says Screaming Eagle. (No, we didn't order any)

Dinner was a pre-fixed 12 course meal and the cuisine changes weekly. Every course was served with a different wine and mood music. I highly recommend this restaurant with a few caveats. The dinner is expensive, must be prepaid and has a no cancellation policy.  The best wine menu I've seen at a restaurant.

The Counter Menu
We met friends the next night at Webb Custom Kitchen. This is a high end restaurant that is housed in an old movie theater. While you dine, an old 40 or 50s movie plays on the screen (without sound).

Our friends were having so much fun, they ordered another bottle. For those playing at home, that's a 2015 Cardinale.  I highly recommend this restaurant.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Winding Down in California


After 3 days of wine tasting and nice restaurants we are spending our last day at the Allegretto appreciating the sites. 

The hotel provides a tour of the art and French abbey.

Another evening at the fire-pits and our stay at the Allegretto is complete.

Final dinner at Terun in Palo Alto. Live music and great Italian food before taking them to the airport.

Eating, Drinking and fighting the crowds

We started with a walk at sunrise to the Buddhist statue at the top of the vineyard. The Allegretto is in the background.

We headed down south about 1 1/2 hours to Zaca Mesa Winery. We are members and the Syrahs are worth the drive. Right now, the Grenache is our favorite. Lunch was at Industrial Eats which we never miss on our trips. The best cuban sandwich I've ever had, really.
Last tasting was Alma Rosa Winery. The tasting room used to be next to Industrial Eats but moved to Solvang. The wine is great but the new tasting room is in the middle of a tourist area where parking is a pain. We've stayed in Solvang before and don't really recommend it unless you enjoy the tourist shops.

Dinner tonight was at Il Cortile in Paso Robles. The food is always great here but the restaurant was so crowded it detracted from the ambience, also getting an Uber was tedious at best.


Saturday, November 13, 2021

Wine and Brandy Tasting in Paso Robles


Wine tasting in Paso Robles which means the Allegretto Resort. We love coming here but it was 100% full. I guess everybody is ready to get out.

We picked up our friends in San Jose and drove 2 1/2 hours to Paso. We really lucked out because the weather is perfect the next 4 days. The first night we just relaxed by the fire-pit. Drinking wine and reconnecting with friends is a great night. The first night together is always the most dangerous. Did we really drink 3 bottles?
Next morning, we had a driver take us for tastings. We always go with the same company, Whats the rush wine tours. We always have the same driver and she is always on time and knowledgable of the area.
First up today is our favorite winery, RN Estates. This is another boutique winery with a great view and outstanding wines. The tasting is in the backyard of their home. We are members of this winery.
We had some time before the next tasting so our driver took us to Wild Coyote Winery. This establishment also serves as a bed and breakfast. They have a winery and also have brandy tasting, if you can believe it. I'm holding a brandy glass but I did not taste, do you think I'm crazy? The wines were below average and our friend said the brandy was just ok. 

Last tasting of the day was at Halter Ranch and we also had lunch on the premises. This is a grand estate with a top notch chef and fabulous wines. Halter Ranch just opened an air strip on their property for members to fly in. We are members but all we need is a plane and a pilot's license.

Dinner tonight was at the Allegretto.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Santa Rosa to San Ramon

 First tasting today is at Benovia which is a short drive from Santa Rosa. We have been members for about 4 years and enjoy all their wines.

We tried a new restaurant tonight, BarnDiva. They recently received their first Michelin star and I have to say the food lived up to the rating, but...  The atmosphere was rather dull. We would go back but only if we sat at the bar. We brought our own wine. On to San Ramon tomorrow.

Yep, you're seeing correctly, a covid test. While we are traveling we try to get tested every week. We are dialed into the Carolina and California testing systems so it's so easy. Typically we are in and out in about 10 minutes. 
We ended the day in San Ramon, CA to visit my brother. Had dinner at Gianni's Italian Bistro. Very good Italian but unbeknownst to us, it was a charity night so all the servers were volunteers. Needless to say, it was a long night. All turned out well and we decided to come back tomorrow. It's close to my brother's house so that makes it even better.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Making the rounds in Healdsburg

Today's wine tasting is at PapaPietro-Perry.  The wines are classic Sonoma County Pinots.

Dinner tonight was at Valette. If you follow my blog you know this is one of our favorites. Valette just opened up a sister restaurant, The Matheson, so we will try to get a reservation. We order their Chef's 5 course menu because you never know what they are going to come up with that night but it's always good. Also, we have officially swore off Valette's signature dish, scallops. We love them but too rich, last night we had to take our last course to go because we couldn't eat anymore.
<next day>

Wine tasting today is at Croix Winery. This is a boutique winery which makes small batch wines, which is what we look for.

Baci Cafe was our choice for dinner tonight. Very good Italian cuisine and yes, accompanied by some nice wines.

Rest day tomorrow

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Road Trip to CA


Decided on a road trip to California. First stop, Jackson's in Santa Rosa with an old friend. This is one of our mainstays in Santa Rosa, good food and nice wine menu. (we brought our own wine tonight)

My ceremonial  photo at Peet's Coffee. We are enjoying nice sunny weather and getting ready for wine tasting tomorrow. For those playing at home, South Carolina vaccination rate is  50.1% while California is 61.4%.  We are in Sonoma county which has almost an 80% rate. Life is good.
We had an early dinner at Raku Ramen. Oh my, we are back in CA enjoying great asian food. We had a relaxing evening drinking wine and watching a Chris Botti concert on the internet.