In late October Scott and I stole away to Sonoma Valley wine country for the weekend. We've been keeping ultra busy with our careers, so a relaxing fall getaway was much anticipated. It's 'crush' season in wine country around this time and you can smell the rich, earthy, tangy scent in the air. Those grapes are giving their all for the cause and we appreciate them.
For this stay we choose a sentimental favorite from one of our early visits to Sonoma, Inn at Sonoma. The Inn is affiliated with our favorite Zen Suites at Gaige House in Glen Ellen. Following our three-hour drive we checked in and were reminded of the cozy charm and homey touches, like the freshly baked cookies stocked in the copper cookie jar.
A fireplace in our suite, and a glass of wine, got us immediately in the mood for relaxation. We had a late evening reservation at Harvest Moon Cafe, on the Sonoma Square, which was an easy walk from our hotel.
In seeking pure relaxation I only had my iPhone but snapped a couple of ambient shots from the heated patio. The dishes were fresh with fall harvest cuisine and the service was friendly. Harvest Moon Cafe had a local gem feel to it and we were pleased with our choice for the evening.
The next morning, following a free, hot breakfast at Inn at Sonoma, we headed out for a stroll around the square. The sun popped out after a night of heavy rain, and the vibrant colors of fall were everywhere.
We had plans to meet friends, Dean and Kathryn, so we messaged them to meet us for a light bite at El Dorado Kitchen, which I have written about in a previous post here. We especially enjoy the patio dining at this spot on a sunny day.
We watched the weather reports and ended up cancelling a garden tour my husband had booked early in the week. Instead, in a lucky roll of the dice, Scott ended up making a reservation at the Mayo Family Reserve Room in Kenwood for the 'ultimate' seven-course food and wine pairing.
"Having enjoyed previous tastings at the Mayo Family Winery tasting room in Glen Ellen, we decided it was time to check out the Mayo Reserve Room food and wine pairing in Kenwood. This was one of our first more extravagant tasting experiences, as we usually look for the high quality, low fee tasting rooms, and often share a taste. (Sharing allows us to safely visit more wineries.) Our experience featured a blend of service from our very friendly pouring concierge and Chef Clayton Lewis. While we watched the rain outside, we were served seven wine tastes with seven delectable bites designed to bring out the highlights of each wine. With each pairing, Chef Lewis came to the table to describe the flavors to watch for as we tasted wine, then food, then wine. The Roussanne with a bacon-flavored madeleine was my favorite taste—a very mild yet interesting white with a finish that completely changed with this pairing (think a hint of bacon in the finish)! I could see it paired with morning bacon, spicy sausage gravy, or a BLT for a special brunch. We ended with a Late Harvest Gewurtztraminer and a savory desert, the spices of which beautifully countered the sweetness of the wine. I’ve never been a fan of the Gewurtz, but this was a completely intriguing taste! In the end, we took several bottles home, my favorite of which is their Estate Pinot Noir, a big, full red with hints of spice and dark fruit. The experience was amazing—friendly, educational, a journey of visual and flavor sensations. Try it, and be inspired to step outside your usual wine routine and create your own taste pairing!"
"THE SINGLE BEST DEAL IN WINE COUNTRY... WHAT AN AWESOME EXPERIENCE" — Wall Street Journal
The food and wine pairing at Mayo was a unique culinary and viticulture experience, as well as an excellent value, at just $35.00 per person. The experience lasted 90 minutes and the staff couldn't have been warmer or more approachable. We highly recommend Mayo and you can book online on Open Table. Take a look at the website here. Let the rain fall!
What happened next, for our evening meal, was one of those memorable occasions that deserves it's own post. Suffice it to say, our evening at Olive & Vine was extraordinary and I look forward to sharing part deux of our trip in my next post.
Sunday was a 'lounging with the paper and hot mugs of steaming coffee' kind of morning. We enjoyed another filling breakfast on the patio, at Inn at Sonoma, always a nice touch. Somebody got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, again.
We discovered that Williams-Sonoma has reopened at the original location for the brand. Chuck Williams opened the first Williams-Sonoma here in 1956. The new shop has been designed to match the original space. They have also created a 'rustic luxe' home collection and outdoor living space. For all of us home decor types, it's definitely worth a visit. It's picture perfect.
Williams-Sonoma is back in Sonoma!
I wanted just about everything...
and I think you will too.