Wineries, Breweries, and Hills Oh My!
Trip Start Jun 11, 2009
11Trip End Jun 21, 2009
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Where I stayed
Fairfield Inns & Suites, Sebastopol, CA (Santa Rosa)
So just to keep up the geekie tourist, we head towards Calistoga CA and their version of "Old Faithful" geyser. I know that it is nothing like the one in Yellowstone, which I haven't seen yet, and still feel compelled to check it out. But lo and behold, the beauty of MarSher traveling is flexibility. As we head in to Calistoga we see a sign for a farmers market. This is one of those things I can't pass up, you never know what you will find there. What I found was some fresh squeezed olive oil that was out of this world. "Judy" had 5 samples of her olive oil. She explained how she does blind tastings and that most people are drawn to either 'green' or 'rancid' olive oil. The word rancid disturbed me but she explained most of what we buy in the grocery stores as olive oil, is actually rancid. As I progressed through the tasting, I have to say there was a decided difference in the flavors of the oils. I really didn't taste olives, like eating one, but tasted a greenness almost akin to a raw vegetable flavor -vs- the traditional olive oil. I was converted and bought a bottle of the green stuff. What I will do when I run out and have to go back to 'rancid' will be a painful reveal.
While we were following the signs to the farmers market, my sharp eye just happened to spot a sign for the "Calistoga Inn and Brewery" right in the heart of Calistoga downtown
We head on out of Calistoga and blow off the Geyser deciding to wait on the real thing at Yellowstone. We are feeling a little hungry and start searching for a winery to have our picnic
We meander down curvy windy hilly roads towards Geyserville in search of Clos Du Bois winery. It is one of the few wines we consistently look for so we felt compelled to check it out. We find a hip place with enthusiastic wine servers who are a wealth of information. Tastings are $10 each (we had coupon from their website for a 2fer1) and you get like 8 wines white to red. Talk em up and they give you the reserves which are extra special. Now I know what you are thinking, but they are little tastes and frankly some of them I didn't care for and dumped them out (Marshall drank it all because well you know ..he is a man). So we ended up buying a couple bottles of their Merlot which we like as a rule.
From there we head south into Healdsburg for Bear Republic Brewery. They offer a six beer sampler for $9 which we shared. We liked all of their beers. We laughed our you know whats off with two guys who showed up at the bar next to us. They shared a story of a fancy limousine pulling up at a winery they were at today and a woman getting out and relieving herself between the doors. All the men seemed to get a great kick out of this. I guess even people in limos can lack class. I noticed they had garlic fries as an appetizer and after yesterdays sorry offering and after many alcoholic 'samples' think it might be a good idea to have something to absorb it all so I order em up and THEY WERE OUTRAGEOUSLY good.. OMG I had to push the basket over to Marshall to stay out of them. Every bite was full of garlicky goodness. Now I have to figure out how to make them baked so I can have another fix.
By now it is late in the day, we have ate, drank and been merry with strangers and head back to our hotel to refresh before dinner. For dinner I have chosen ZaZu restaurant near Santa Rosa. It is the true definition of "farm to table" dining in that they have their own farm to furnish the restaurant and supplement with area farms when needed. It is small, maybe 20 tables with low ceilings but a friendly warm staff who see to every need
We head back to Sebastopol and spy the HopMonk Tavern which I had read was a small microbrewery. Since we were 1 mile from our hotel we head in and enjoy a Hopmonk Tavern Ale (pale ale) for Marshall and I had a hoblin chouffe tripel -YUM!. It has been a long and yet wonderful day. The weather was perfect -sunny, cool, and dry, the scenery outstanding, the traffic non-existent and the traveling partner the best in the world.