Yuko and I were invited to a friend’s wedding in Sonoma, California. We spent a long weekend in the area, eating and drinking our way though as usual.

 SingleThread Farms

Friday

Yang Sing: I suggested we go to Marlowe, a California-chic restaurant. Yuko wanted dim-sum. We left New York City to come to San Francisco for dim-sum? Who am I to complain: I love dim-sum too. Delicious and worth the wait. Get the soup dumplings, the potstickers, a pot of tea, some shumai, and anything else that looks good. The guy at the table next to us asked me if Yuko and I were on a date. Sort of: I consider everyday a date with my wife.

Avoiding the 101: The traditional way to get from SF to Sonoma is to take the 101 all the way. There was some sort of car racing event that caused lots of traffic. Google Maps took us on a route through the hills to the west, which prevented Yuko from getting a quality car nap due to the undulating terrain, but which was way more fun and scenic than the 101. I couldn’t really tell you where we drove, but it sure was squiggly.

Flamingo Hotel: Pass. We stayed here due to a wedding room block. Terrible bathroom, uninspired room, noisy with lots of bros attending other weddings.

 SingleThread Farms rooftop beer

SingleThread Farm: With no tables available for the night we actually intended to stay in Healdsburg and despite staying 17 miles away, I decided we had to go to this restaurant with two Michelin stars. I’m glad we did: we started on the gorgeous roof deck overlooking Healdsburg by having a house beer made in collaboration with Russian River and then were seated to a long list of delicious treats. The rest of the meal was simply spectacular and the service was wonderful. Book well in advance; reservations open on the 1st of every month at 9am PST for the following month. Required visitation; I hope to come back.

Russian River Brewing: Knowing that this would be my one and only available night in Santa Rosa, I got dropped off at Russian River to make a pilgrimage and to have a quick beer (which all-too-quickly became two quick beers) and to pick up some goodies to take home. Pliny the Elder has been consistently rated one of the best beers in the world for many years, though I prefer Blind Pig. The new brewery that opens later this year looks awesome.

Saturday

Breakfast at the Flamingo Hotel: The breakfast burrito was actually pretty good. Our server has been working at the hotel for 40 years and is still going strong.

Patroni Vineyards: One of our close friends attending the same wedding had the foresight to arrange a reservation at this vineyard that is well off the beaten path. They only give private tours and tastings, unlike the horse trough-like tasting rooms of most wineries in the area. Our host was great and was accompanied by his super-cute great dane, Gracie, who became the star and focus of our visit. Recommended; book in advance. As usual, prepare to get tipsy and order hundreds of dollars more wine that you expected to. (My caring wife later opened the best bottle we purchased while I was in Tel Aviv!)

El Dorado Kitchen: Our amazing friend also made reservations for calories after drinking. This place was lovely, with a good beer list. Make an early-ish reservation and ask to sit outside. All of the food looked and tasted delicious, though it’s hard for me to trust anyone who serves a lemon with fish tacos (which were still tasty).

Sweet Scoops: Our friend hit the trifecta by suggesting that we go to the nearest scoop shop after lunch. The flavors are interesting and everyone seemed happy. I appreciate that they have a “tiny” size. We sat in the park across the street and almost got taken out by some falling, gigantic tree nuts.

Valley of the Moon at Madrone Estate: The wedding ceremony and reception was here. It was a pretty nice setup: pre-ceremony refreshments took place on the patio and the olive tree grove, the ceremony had a gorgeous backdrop of the vineyard (though the sun was setting behind us, literally cooking the poor girls’ bare shoulders in front of our eyes), cocktail hour was on the path to the tasting room, and the tasting room served as the dance hall. The food was tasty; get the chicken and waffles.

Sunday

Harmon Guest House: After staying at the neighboring sister hotel a couple of years ago for a super-romantic cycling trip with one of my bromances, I booked a room for a night at this brand new place. We arrived at around 1pm, knowing check-in wasn’t until 3pm (which was claimed to be “guaranteed”). “We’ll text you when your room is ready,” they said. At 3:00pm: “Come back in 30 minutes,” they said. 3:45pm rolls around and we head back to the front desk to find that our room was finally ready. \
The room was actually quite well-appointed. Contemporary-but-comfortable, the only downsides were the noise from the nearby highway, the music playing outside (At the pool? From the deck of a neighboring room? Not sure), and the body hair scattered along the walls and in the bathroom from the last guest.

 Oat milk cappuccino at Flying Goat Coffee

Flying Goat Coffee: Yuko got a delicious nitro cold brew and I got a delicious oat milk cappuccino, and we sat outside. Highly recommended. I wanted to buy all of their t-shirts, too.

Healdsburg Running Co.: A great shop. Another place where I wanted to buy all of their t-shirts. Visit their website for some great local route recommendations.

Healdsburg Bar and Grill: Needing to kill some time and, noticing the Russian River sticker in their window, we saddled up at a table outside for some chipotle fries (surprisingly spicy!) and a Pliny the Elder. Recommended.

Noble Folk: The menu at this pie and ice cream shop looked amazing with very unique flavors. We had a mixed reaction: the pie was fine and the ice cream was good, but neither were as amazing as their Instagram pictures.

 Spoke Folk Cyclery's cat

Spoke Folk Cyclery: This is a well-appointed bike shop and worth a visit. While we were there the mechanic was changing a tube for a customer, but instead of just doing the work, he took the time to explain the procedure in detail so that the customer could do it themselves; I appreciate that. They have a super-cute shop cat who followed us around. I’d rent bikes here next time I’m in town just to pet the cat again.

Barndiva: Some of their food is photographically gorgeous. It was all tasty; the salmon was done particularly well. The beer list needs work. Recommended, but maybe not as a first choice in town.

Monday

Breakfast at Spoonbar: Breakfast came included and we needed to head to the airport relatively early. They serve up eggs and pancakes from the kitchen and a spread of pastries and bagels is on the counter.

Other Recommendations

This trip snuck up on us and we didn’t do a whole lot of research, plus we mostly got to all the places in Healdsburg we wanted. The one recommendation we overheard that looks good is:

Duke’s Spirited Cocktails: Apparently, this place is owned and operated by some folks who are really passionate about cocktails. Plus, this is where all the other bartenders and waitstaff seem to hang out after their shifts, so it must be good.