Join us on our virtual road trip through wine country, as we explore the chefs, artisans and destinations of northern California! Follow us on Twitter and retweet our daily #wsroadtrip tweets with your favorite wine country destination named in the tweet, for a chance to win a $100 gift card. Yesterday we visited Point Reyes and today we’re in Sonoma, the site of our very first Williams-Sonoma store, where our founder Chuck Williams made his mark.
The Sonoma plaza is full of shops and tasting rooms, but world-class restaurants are the major draw for locals and tourists alike. Enjoy lunch at The Girl & the Fig, where fresh, local ingredients meet rustic French cooking in Sondra Bernstein‘s famous kitchen. You can also pick up her artisan-produced jams, chutneys and compotes — a great gift or souvenir.
Take a break with an afternoon wine tasting at Hanzell Vineyards, where you’ll sip the label’s benchmark Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. Take in the beautiful view of the vines on the hillside of the Mayacamas mountain range and walk through the historic heritage winery building. Don’t forget to call ahead — visits are by reservation only.
For dinner, head back to the Sonoma plaza for more of the town’s simple but stand0ut cuisine. Try the farm-to-table menu at Harvest Moon Cafe, where Mediterranean-inspired dishes rotate daily. Run by a husband-and-wife team, the restaurant is homey and charming, with a back patio for warm evenings.
At the hidden gem Cafe la Haye, a tiny open kitchen serves California fare such as risottos, pastas and roasted meats paired with superb local vegetables. The space may be small, but it’s full of energy — and the food is consistently some of the best in the area.
Sophisticated, innovative dishes fill the menu at the El Dorado Kitchen, a contemporary dining room situated in the El Dorado Hotel. Long tables are friendly for lively gatherings and larger groups, and an outdoor courtyard brings the beauty of Sonoma to the forefront of the dining experience.
Next, we’re driving east to downtown Napa. Keep reading!
Girl & the Fig images courtesy of Steven Krause.