Friday, February 19, was Day 9 of this road trip and the final for blogging purposes. We go home this morning and return to normal life, with 3 various appointments scheduled for today starting around 11am. It was fun while it lasted, and much needed.
We left around 7am yesterday for the coffee-dog-walk venture and, as luck would have it, there’s a Peet’s across the street from the inn.
But the very first thing we saw was a Williams-Sonoma, a pretty well known kitchen store in these parts if you’re not familiar with that name. And I thought “oh, how quaint, of course there’s one here!”
Turns out this is THE Williams-Sonoma – the first one – established in 1956. “It started with a dream. In 1956, Europe inspired a young dreamer to forever redefine the American table. Chuck Williams opened a shop for passionate home cooks in this location in the heart of Sonoma. We’re home.”
Looks like they put on cooking shows back in the day.
We took our coffee and walked around the town square, which is just a couple of blocks from the inn.
Ash has been to Sonoma several times and raved about this bakery. Well, if it’s that good we must stop then.
There weren’t any labels and the worker somehow didn’t know what this was (odd, right?) but how bad could it be? It tasted like a cinnamon roll with nuts but as a muffin.
We got back to the inn just as they brought our breakfast out at 8am. Like the one in Santa Cruz, we chose the front porch rather than the room.
A nearly identical setup to our earlier breakfasts: quiche, potatoes, banana break, fruit cup.
There was one other couple there and that deemed it full.
We had nothing planned this day except lunch in Napa. The weather made you want to stay in, so we watched Downton Abbey until it was time to leave, around 11:15.
Ash had made reservations at Auberge du Soleil (“sun hostel”), a wine country resort with a great restaurant. It’s in Rutherford, which is in Napa county (east of Sonoma) and was about a 45 minute drive. Six of the 30 or so miles was on the Silverado Trail, which runs pretty much the length of the wine country parallel to the much heavier travelled Highway 29. It is one of my favorite drives in Northern California but the weather didn’t allow for great photos.
But we had some decent views once we were seated, which kept changing as the sun drifted in and out.
Marcona almonds, green and Kalamata olives.
It was a “every person gets their own hand towel” kindofa place.
They had a long deck and there were quite a few people out for a fairly remote setting.
On a clearer day it would be really beautiful, but this wasn’t too shabby either.
Burrata was on the menu again so we felt compelled, this time with radicchio, endive, and roasted artichoke. And calamari, another favorite.
I had the short ribs, probably my favorite type of beef and this was incredible in a shallot sauce, with Brussel sprouts and a carrot puree that was the perfect amount of sweet.
Ash had a tuna sandwich with black rice.
Dessert was profiteroles: Tahitian vanilla ice cream inside pastry topped with whipped cream and then chocolate sauce. This was worth the drive right here.
We made it back to the inn probably around 2:30pm. The weather had improved so we went for a walk again around the square. City Hall is in the middle of it.
It’s a lovely little park with a wide variety of shops and restaurants around it.
Sonoma State Historic Park is very small on the opposite side of the square, with houses and barracks from around the 1820’s when this was a fort set up by General Vallejo.
Across the street from that is Mission San Francisco Solano, the last mission built in California, established in 1823.
There was a nice number of people out enjoying what was now great weather, and most everything was open.
A nice mural down one of the alleys.
This was at the end of the alley so we had a look.
It would be rude to look and not buy anything, right? Ash had a peanut butter s’mores (left), and I had a dark chocolate caramel.
We stayed in the rest of the day. I had a flurry of emails, texts and phone calls between 4-5pm on various topics, reminding me that real life was calling. Literally. All good.
We are one episode away from completing Downtown Abbey, S6. We started on S3. That’s what kind of vacation it’s been. The weather and the pandemic made all that doing nothing quite permissible. And I ain’t complaining. Re-watching something I love is one of my favorite ways to relax, and that it was Ash’s first time made it even more enjoyable.
We don’t have our next trip planned yet, but there will definitely be one. We travelled very well together and discussed lots of possibilities for the future. Much of what’s next will be determined by how this pandemic plays out. At least the numbers are coming down and maybe by the end of the year life will be somewhat normal again. I hope you’re staying safe and healthy wherever you are with it. See you next time!