Friday, July 20, 2012

Healdsburg: Scopa, Williamson Wines, Toad Hollow, Truett Hurst and more

Back in April, I went on a weekend trip to Healdsburg. I picked it primarily because it had cute B&Bs, good food and good drinks. It's part of wine country, but a lot less touristy than Napa.

Highlights of my trip mostly involve food and wine, but also a beautiful creek that we got to relax by.


To start the weekend: Complimentary wine tasting (with food pairings!) at Williamson Wines. Apparently, complimentary wine tastings are the norm in Healdsburg. Obviously you tip at the end, but it's a very different model from Napa.

This small bite was a slice of cheddar, layered with a mound of bleu cheese, a pecan, and honey drizzled on the top.  (I can't stand bleu cheese, but if you like it, it would probably have been delicious.) Some of the other small bites included things like mango salsa and truffle salt – all paired with cheese.

A quick trip to Downtown Bakery & Creamery just a couple blocks away to pick up a couple sweets. A donut muffin...

And a sticky bun – my favorite of the two. Both enjoyed in the shade of Healdsburg Square.


We had dinner at Scopa the first night.  I didn't make reservations until the day of, which means that there were no tables left, but we managed to snag a couple seats at the bar. It's a very classy and cozy place (I remember thinking that the restaurant looked like it was built from the alleyway between surrounding buildings, since it was so long and narrow).

 This was "Mozzarella Paradise," a huge creamy ball of burrata that came with arugula, grilled bread, and sweet and spicy calabrian pepper jelly (the red mound in the lower left – delicious).  Whoevever invented burrata is seriously a genius. If it's on the menu, I can't help but order it...

We also had a grilled calamari dish with white beans and picked onions, but I didn't like it as much. So it doesn't get a picture.

But...I did like (LOVED) one of their signature dishes – Nonna's tomato-braised chicken with sauteed greens and soft polenta. It was so, good. So. Good. The chicken was fall-off-the-bone and the polenta was buttery and flavorful with crispy polenta bits that you got when your spoon scraped the bowl.

I really loved this restaurant.


The next day, for lunch, we split the pork cheek sandwich from Bovolo, a small cafe in the back of a bookstore.

Sandwich was also enjoyed in the square...


After lunch, we went on what one could call a wine rampage. We walked to a few wineries (that's what's great about Healdsburg – you can try a ton of wines without having to get behind the wheel).

Where we went:
  • Toad Hollow, where got an amazing sparkling wine called Risque. It was amazing – light, slightly sweet, and very fruity – think apple cider, pear, and honey. While we were there, people were coming by to pick up boxes off the stuff. I should have done the same, siiiigh 
  • Selby Winery. The steward (sommelier?) was lovely but I don't remember much about their wines.
  • Roadhouse Winery. This place was very fun and casual. We only tried the chocolate port, which was raved about, but I don't remember it very well. This is what happens when you write about trips months afterwards.
  • Longboard Winery. I was here to try their dessert wine, a Late Harvest Semillon (per a recommendation from other wineries), but I remember it was too sweet and a little metallic.

Sadly, for all my trips to wine country, I still think I prefer sparkling and sweet/fruity ones...oh well, if you're plebian, you're plebian...

Lastly, we went to Truett Hurst, the most scenic winery of the bunch. We had to drive outside of Healdsburg to Dry Creek.

The estate was gorgeous – the tasting room was bright and airy. They had live music and a lovely outdoor seating area, a garden you could stroll around in, and mostly importantly, access to Dry Creek.

Sadly this is the only picture I took.

And then we had to drive which point my Sunday blues took over.

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