Earlier this summer Peter and I were in California with just enough time to squeeze a quick trip in for exploring Napa and Sonoma. It was my first time to either and although we just had a taste of what the regions have to offer, I loved every minute of it.
My parents had flown all the way to San Francisco to meet us for a long weekend and after a full Saturday of trying on wedding dresses (eeek!) we drove up to Calistoga for Sunday brunch with Peter’s Aunt Suzanne. Our first stop? Solbar at the Solage Calistoga. Solage Calistoga is a beautiful spa resort in Napa and I was having a bit of envy as I eyed the sparkling pool on my way in to the restaurant, Solbar. Luckily my attention was immediately brought back to our table by a big bottle of champagne and carafe of orange juice.
755 Silverado Trail N
Calistoga, CA 94515
Solbar describes their style as “California soul food” and uses local and organic ingredients in their cooking. The five of us stuffed ourselves with our breakfast entrees (think breakfast empanadas and fresh crab and avocado on top of toasted english muffins) and then shared the infamous “Lucky Pig.” I won’t share too many details on my favorite dishes today because I plan on sharing recipes inspired by them with you soon.
The weather that day was perfect and the atmosphere at Solbar was too. We sat out on the shaded patio but there was a large and lovely indoor dining space as well. It was inside that my mom once saw Pierce Brosnan while they were both having dinner. I think she is still kicking herself for not saying hi that day (so if you’re out there Pierce, my mom says HI!)
After we were full (very very full) we decided to wash down breakfast with a nice stroll and a few glasses of wine at Chateau Montelena Winery. Aside from having a great tasting room and fantastic wines, there is a Chinese garden on the property with a large lake and garden to stroll through and catch views of the vineyards.
1429 Tubbs Ln
Calistoga, CA 94515
I was a bit surprised to see the Chinese gardens on the estate but apparently at one point the Chateau was owned by a Chinese engineer and his wife who built the beautiful gardens and lake when they turned the property into their retirement home. Later when the Chateau was sold and bought and turned back in to a winery Mike Grgich was one of their winemakers.
After our tour and tasting we went for a nice stroll in nearby downtown St. Helena.
This charming stop gave us a little break from all the drinking and eating and since the sun was in full force I also popped in to one of the stores to buy a big hat. I was somewhat unsure about my purchase until Peter and I walked by the BEST group of ladies sitting on a bench along the sidewalk. They stopped us to tell us how great we looked and how they loved our outfits and our look and our hats.
This seriously made my day. They were so nice! This would never happen in Hong Kong. Strangers just don’t speak to strangers on the street, let alone compliment them out of nowhere.
I was basically strutting down the streets of St. Helena after this and I have no idea how my companions managed to fit my ego and me back in to the car so we could head to our next stop.
Aunt Suzanne was an amazing host during our entire visit and generously offered to bring us to Mayacama in Sonoma County after St. Helena.
240 MAYACAMA Club Dr
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Mayacama is a gorgeous private golf, sports and residential community with an amazing wine program too. It is located near Healdsburg and we enjoyed the lush views of the property while we shared a few bottles of spectacular wine.
As if this day wasn’t wonderful enough, Aunt Suzanne hosted us in Healdsburg and we shared more wine and cheese before dinner at The Wurst restaurant in downtown Healdsburg.
The Wurst Sausage Grill & Beer Garden
22 Matheson Street
Healdsburg, CA 95448
At this point I honestly thought I had zero room left in my body for any food or drinks, but who can say no to french fries, burgers, and more importantly grilled sausages?
Needless to say, our group managed to make the most of our one full day in Napa and Sonoma. Just writing that whole post made me exhausted. I can’t believe how much we managed to do! Next year Peter and I will be back in the Bay Area for a full week and I’m hoping we can spend more time up north in Napa or Sonoma again too.