guide to sonoma // napa

guide to sonoma // napa
we are in love with this area and plan to make lots of weekend
trips from the city. just a little disclaimer…we don’t
drink wine! ha, so this guide will show all
the other great things this area has to offer!
guide to
the girl & the fig
everyone in sonoma knows this place,
and loves it. we had the best meal of
the year here, and we’re still full from it!
you can see our full review of it here,
or you can just trust us and go. be sure
to try the fig arugula salad and the
lavender crème brûlée..not to be missed.
*make a reservation!

el dorado kitchen
promise me that you will go to lunch here.
it was my favorite lunch ever. get the crab
salad and the panna cotta with rhubarb for
dessert. sit out on the patio if it’s warm!
olive & vine
this place is in glen ellen, a little north
of the town of sonoma…where lots of 
 amazing food can be found! trust me, this 
place is special. i love driving up the 
road here and off the beaten path to
get here. the owner catherine is the
best and has done an incredible job
with olive & vine. it has a very 
personal, warm feel while offering 
upscale dining. try their caesar salad!
 see our fun dinner there with 
my parents by clicking here.

red grape pizza
“new haven style” thin crust pizza
with such fresh toppings grown in
their garden. right off sonoma square!
see pictures and details of our yummy 
lunch there by clicking here. we recommend
the bbq chicken pizza…one of the best!
the cottage inn & spa
if you want to stay right near town,
cottage inn & spa is a great little bed & breakfast
right off of sonoma square. so cozy + comfortable…
and they serve breakfast in a darling basket
hanging on your door in the morning.
chateau sonoma
magical french antiques store…
whether you’re into antiques or not,
stop in here and be transported to france.
sonoma cheese factory
remember, you’re not only in wine country..
but cheese country too! stop in here for some
fun tastings..and then go down the street
for a cheese plate at the girl & the fig.
sonoma valley cyclery
you’d be silly to come to sonoma and
miss the chance to rent a bike and go
through the pretty roads and towns.
we rented from sonoma valley cyclery and
highly recommend them. they are in a great
location a few streets off the main square, so 
you can park there and ride on a gorgeous
12 mile loop through the prettiest wineries.
brenna will set you up and you’ll love it!
sonoma overlook trail 
this is a pretty hike right near sonoma
square if you don’t want to drive too far.
{there are lots of other hikes to be discovered
in the future!} you can ask for directions to the
trailhead from town, and enjoy this overlook
of the valley! it’s not too difficult, just nice
and helps balance all that good food!!
sebastiani theatre
because my husband has a thing for
old movie theatres, we will include this one.
we went in and heard about the history and 
saw part of a movie {we were late after a 
10 course meal!!} the best part is that they
not only show movies here, but they also have
musicians, comedians, etc. who come to perform.
sonoma state historic park
along with all the food + shopping there’s some
history! see the state historic park to see
more about the six sites of sonoma.
kenwood inn & spa
north of sonoma is kenwood, where the
nicest hotel we’ve ever stayed in is.
changing. we can’t say enough good
things about staying here. it felt
like tuscany! so charming and relaxing.
see our stay and feature here.
guide to
napa is so close, but has a very different
feel. it has some of the best food, and
the town is cute to explore! like i said,
we spent less time here so this guide won’t 
be complete until next visit, but here are a few..
grace’s table
we stopped through napa and had lunch
at the delicious grace’s table. this little bistro
has quite the menu from around the world.
chef mauro sat and talked to us while we
ate, explained his garden, background, etc.
we were so impressed. definitely get the skillet
cornbread with lavender honey butter (!!!)
and try the beet/avocado salad. incredible.
oxbow public market
oxbow public market is well known,
for good reason! some of the best food in
the entire region is here. all the time in SF
i will see things that come “from oxbow market.”
food lovers must stop here! it’s just across the river.
you can see a few pictures from our time at
oxbow market here. we have already set up
some more features when we visit next!
c casa
this place is not to be missed in oxbow market.
c casa has the most unique food and is so worth
stopping in. catherine has turned “tacos”
into gourmet works of art! you have to try
them…also, the treats! so cute and so unique.
i dream of their sunshine bars! stop in for sure!
model bakery
this mother-daughter bakery is in oxbow market, 
and it is aptly named because it truly is a “model” 
for baking! they just released a new cookbook 
and i am getting it solely for their famous english 
muffins…stop in and grab a bag, they normally 
sell out by noon! they are melt-in-your mouth 
incredible. seriously, you have to try one!
the kitchen door
one of the restaurants in oxbow market
is the kitchen table. it’s amazing! we
just stopped by for some samples
due to our busy schedule, but we
loved hearing about the restaurant
and already have a date set to go back
for the full experience.
cate & co.
this is in oxbow market and the same owner as 
c casa, with a completely different feel. they make 
everything by hand, and you have to try their 
salads. mmMMM! *gluten-free treats here.
the meritage resort
we discovered this lovely resort last time we
visited with my parents, and chase + i both said
we want to go back again soon. it is a little bit 
south of the town of napa, so it feels secluded 
and quiet. it is great for couples and families,
as different parts of the resort accommodate
both. my favorite part is the vineyards right
on the edge of the resort with a pretty path
you can take to walk all through them.
if you’re looking to stay on the napa
side, it’s great. see more here!

A few favorites from a friend who is from the area and sent over:

-La Taquiza taco shop –> hidden gem for baja fish tacos, amazing horchata, house made salsas. Incredible fresh Mexican with a Napa flare!
-Bistro Don Giovonni –> an old Napa favorite closer toward Yountville. It’s a classic for a reason.. Mushroom pizza, stuffed figs from the fig tree out back, the butterscotch pudding, etc.
-Alston Park –> go early in the morning with a cup of coffee and sit on a bench on the little hill there and watch the hot air balloons float across the valley. It’s magical.
-Nothing beats a balloon ride over the valley on a crisp fall morning with the vibrant colors of the vineyards passing quietly below.

– The Vintage 1871 shops –> fun to walk around, and Kollar chocolates for the BEST TRUFFLES.
– Bouchon Bakery and Bouchon Bistro. The bakery is a must. Get a couple macarons, a chocolate almond croissant, splurge on an epi baguette and the salmon rillettes. Walk with your goodies up the road just a bit and have a picnic in the French Laundry garden. Nothing is dreamier. Bouchon Bistro is rustic french comfort food in the gorgeous upper echelon setting of Yountville. Another more affordable (than The French Laundry) option to experience Thomas Keller’s French food.
– Yount Mill Rd –> For biking or strolling, this little road meanders along a vineyard under full shade of beautiful trees. It’s stunning and relaxing and romantic!

St. Helena:
– Wandering downtown is fun in and of itself. Cute town with lots of history.
– Goose & Gander –> feels almost like a speakeasy style lounge with phenomenal food.
– Auberge de Soliel –> They have a more casual bistro with a patio that has views of the valley that are only rivaled by a balloon ride. It’s lovely, classy, the views are breathtaking, and it’s worth the splurge.
– Healdsburg is a favorite little town

Drive up the valley on the 128 and back down valley on Silverado Trail. The drive along Silverado Trail is worth a trip to wine country in and of itself.

sonoma/napa lovers…please comment with any favorites!
until next time, we can’t wait to visit again!