Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Paradise Grows in Healdsburg

A trip to verdant California wine country



Pedestrians in Healdsburg can visit the charming Camellia Inn. photo courtesy Camellia Inn

 

A jug of wine and a loaf of bread may have been plenty for Persian author Omar Khayyam as accompaniment to poetry and good company, but that verse from the Rubaiyat was written more than 900 years ago – today’s travelers expect more. The good news is that they’ll find much more, as I did, in the verdant valley town of Healdsburg, California.

A Jug of Wine Just a little way up the 101 from Santa Rosa and situated at the meeting of three major wine regions (the Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Russian River Valley), Healdsburg gives its guests easy access to more than 250 wineries. Oenophiles speak of the terroir of wine – the combination of soil, climate and human influence – and Sonoma County, home to Healdsburg, is known for its diversity of soil with 118 different classes of loam identified. Needless to say, tasters must be choosers because trying all the available wines would be a life’s work.

Lambert Bridge Winery, a small, family-owned operation, is known for its Bordeaux-style reds. In addition to the traditional tastings, Lambert Bridge organizes regular food and wine pairings with noted local chef Bruce Reizenman.

January in the vineyards by Elaine Warner


For one whose knowledge was previously limited to “red with steak, white with fish,” the collaboration between Reizenman and winemaker Jennifer Higgins was like a Go Fish enthusiast watching master-level Bridge. The flavor profile of a wine is changed when combined with food. This was my first experience with combinations that truly enhanced both elements.

We began with a butternut squash soup finished with crème fraiche and Tuscan olive oil paired with a 2011 Sonoma County Chardonnay. Bruce explained, “This wine has pear, apple and citrus notes with a bit of butter and vanilla. The local butternut squash and crème fraiche balance the acidity in the wine.”

A Japanese eggplant and olive salad drizzled with Hojicha-infused (that’s a variety of green tea), 25-year-old balsamic was paired with a 2009 Cabernet Franc with subtle black cherry and herb flavors. And so it went through the second courses, the cheese course and the dessert, a bittersweet chocolate disc with chocolate-covered hazelnuts on dried Montmorency cherries served with a 2009 Petit Verdot. I went away awed and impressed, realizing there was a lot more to appreciating wine than I had ever imagined.

A Loaf of Bread For bread, baked treats, breakfast and lunch, Costeaux French Bakery is a must-stop. In business since 1923, Costeaux has been named the National Retail Bakery of the Year by Modern Baking magazine.  Breakfast is served all day with sandwiches, salads, soups and charcuterie added for lunch.
Just be sure to save room for dessert.

Have an al fresco breakfast at Costeaux French Bakery. photo courtesy Healdsburg CVB


As you might expect, Healdsburg has a healthy helping of fine restaurants dedicated to locally sourced, sustainable cuisine. Chef Louis Maldonado at Spoonbar treated our group to a tasting menu that included a variety of vegetables – kale, broccolini, sunchokes, tomatillo, seaweed and the elusive, fractal-looking romanesco. We sampled Kanpachi sashimi, big fin squid and shellfish porridge made with local rye, sea urchin and miso. Not a chicken-fried steak in sight. But, for the less adventuresome, entrees included roasted chicken roulade and ocean trout cooked on a plank. Chef Maldonado’s innovative – and tasty – dishes earned him a top four finish on season 11 of Top Chef.

Since I visited chef/owner Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen, the then-executive chef, Dustin Valette, has left – opening his own restaurant, Valette. Current executive chef Andrew Wilson has worked in some of the nation’s top restaurants and is bringing his own flair to Dry Creek Kitchen.

For something different, try Mateo’s Cocina Latina. The base cuisine comes from chef Mateo Granados’ native Yucatan combined with French techniques – but you’ll find touches of other cultures, too. There in early spring, we tried his seasonal Margarita made with #2 Reposado tequila, blood orange, bergamot, lime juice, agave nectar and pomegranate pearls – a beautiful and refreshing cocktail. I loved the olive oil guacamole served in a crispy corn tortilla cone and topped with a pomegranate seed.

Enjoy a toast at Spoonbar. photo courtesy Bourne Photography


DIYers will enjoy a class or culinary tour with Relish Culinary Adventures. My group participated in a session with mushroom expert Elissa Rubin-Mahon, who identified a number of different mushrooms, demonstrated proper cleaning then assigned us stations to prepare some of the tasty fungi. Best part: we ate our homework. The most unusual dish – dessert – consisted of candy cap mushrooms and dried cherry bread pudding with maple whipped cream. It was delicious … who would have thought?

Bed, Breakfast and More The Haydon Street Inn, a century-old Victorian with a wrap-around porch, was my home away from home. Massive camellia bushes graced the front yard, and bright yellow fruits on the lemon tree added sunny color to the landscaping. My residence, the Rose Room, had its own fireplace, a chaise longue, Jacuzzi and rainfall shower.

John Harasty and Keren Colsten have owned the inn since 2006. John, formerly the executive chef at Churchill Downs in Louisville, turns out a creative three-course breakfast every morning. Among the treats I enjoyed were homemade mango scones, bourbon-fried apples topped with deep-fried tortilla chips tossed in cinnamon sugar, brown berry waffles topped with wild berries and homemade apple sausage. Add to that orange juice squeezed from fruit picked right before breakfast. What a way to start a day.

Healdsburg’s historic Haydon Street Inn. photo courtesy Haydon Street Inn


Fortunately for my figure, we did a lot of walking. One morning we enjoyed a historic Healdsburg walking tour through beautiful old neighborhoods, but overall my favorite walk was in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve. Coastal redwoods are the tallest living things on earth. The Parson Jones tree in this park is 310 feet tall – taller than a football field is long. In the Burbank Circle, a natural clearing, benches allow guests to lie back for a great view of these giants towering overhead.

And then there’s shopping. The stores around the plaza in Healdsburg offer something for everyone: clothing boutiques are joined by Plaza Gourmet, where you can buy onion goggles, a garlic zoom chopper or a chef’s toque. Two independent bookstores, Levin & Co. and Copperfield Books, have lots of local lore plus best-sellers. The cards at Mr. Moon’s (which also carries gifts, jewelry, soaps and more) will keep you laughing. Add a couple of wineries and art galleries and you could spend a couple of days just window-shopping.
   
In short, Healdsburg is perfect for a weekend getaway. But honestly, you’d be cheating yourself if that were all you experienced. It’s definitely worth a longer stay. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »You Might Like

The Festival of the Arts’ Legacy

Arts Council OKC director Peter Dolese retraces the origins and expansion of the week-long celebration of creativity that is the Festival of the Arts.

The Natural Touch for Self-Care

Natural products from lotions to fragrances in conscientious self-care that are perfect for a season of renewal.

An Oklahoma Story in Stone

Nearly 150 years after Sophia Pitchlynn died in what was then Indian Territory, her gravestone still stands silent vigil in Garland Cemetery.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

April 2019

Meet all the Princesses at The Oklahoma City Fairytale Ball. This magical event is full of memorable moments you won't want to miss! Dance with Cinderella; read with Rapunzel; share sweet...

Cost: $25-$60

Where:
La Bella
6701 W Wilshire Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73132
View map »


Sponsor: Pretty Princess Parties & Project Princess
Telephone: 405-777-2411
Contact Name: Brooke Potter
Website »

More information

The 30th Annual Spring Plant Sale at Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary will feature a huge selection of native plants, hard-to-find herbs and well-adapted plants. There are a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX  75069
View map »


Sponsor: Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
Telephone: 972.562.5566
Contact Name: Stephanie Jennings
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Saviour is a pop-classical oratorio which takes its audience from creation through resurrection and is a picture of God pursuing His people. Its unique and powerful music will showcase the Voices...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crossings Community Church - OKC Campus
14600 North Portland Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73134
View map »


Sponsor: Crossings Community Church
Telephone: 405-302-1258
Contact Name: Lori Bunyar
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Sit down with the Mod Quad Collective creatives for a fun afternoon of bunny making! Come and go. Tickets on our website.

Cost: $15 per person

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Oklahoma City Community College's Paul W. Sechrist Signature Lecture Series will feature David Grann, the New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon. This lecture is free...

Cost: Free

Where:
OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center Theater
7777 S May Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73159
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Community College
Website »

More information

Grab a friend and join us as we celebrate the launch of our 2019 Summer Collection.  Hosted with influencers Aubrey @thedandyliar, Jen @houseofkubes, and OKC's local rental clothier,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Kendra Scott
5810 N Classen Blvd #2
Oklahoma City, OK  73118
View map »


Sponsor: Kendra Scott
Telephone: 405.241.4203
Contact Name: Casey Barnes
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The National Summit on Homeland Security Law, 2019, in collaboration with the American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL), is bringing to you two days of programming presented by homeland...

Cost: $0-$125

Where:
Oklahoma City University School of Law
800 N Harvey Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City University School of Law
Telephone: 405-208-6300
Contact Name: Allison Rabon
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

As a local business, amshot typically focuses on IT services and software development, but our team is also passionate about supporting the local art community. With this in mind, we created...

Cost: $5

Where:
amshot
428 Dean A McGee Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: amshot
Telephone: 405.594.7642
Contact Name: Lexi Belvis
Website »

More information

  Verbode Urban Core Artists: Local art show to benefit The Homeless Alliance opens at Verbode on April 18 A new art show, Verbode Urban Core Artists, will benefit The Homeless...

Cost: Free

Where:
Verbode Urban Core Artists
415 North Broadway, Suite 101
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Verbode, Valor Bank, Hive Design Team
Telephone: 405.604.7947
Contact Name: Christie Owen
Website »

More information

Michael Sims established The Lawrence Lithography Workshop in 1979 in Lawrence, Kansas, as a contract printing and teaching facility for local and regional artists. He will show a collection of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

In anticipation of the 2019 grand opening of The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts, New York Philharmonic Principal Trumpet Christopher Martin will join the Oklahoma State University Wind...

Cost: $10

Where:
Seretean Center
132 Seretean Center
Stillwater, OK  74078
View map »


Sponsor: McKnight Center for the Performing Arts
Telephone: 405-744-9999
Contact Name: Katy Fabrie
Website »

More information

Just in time for tax season, Carpenter Square Theatre presents “Death Tax,” Lucas Hnath’s darkly comic tale about death and taxes and how we live with both.  ...

Cost: $5-$25

Where:
Carpenter Square Theatre
800 W. Main
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Carpenter Square Theatre
Telephone: 405-232-6500
Contact Name: Rhonda M. Clark
Website »

More information

Together with Elk Valley Brewing Co, we're bringing you a new VHS series here in Oklahoma City. Welcome to 'VHS GRINDHOUSE'! These screenings will be presented in glorious VHS...

Cost: Free

Where:
Elk Valley Brewery
1210 N. Hudson Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: VHSANDCHILL
Telephone: 405-503-0050
Contact Name: Sean Peel
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

The National Summit on Homeland Security Law, 2019, in collaboration with the American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL), is bringing to you two days of programming presented by homeland...

Cost: $0-$125

Where:
Oklahoma City University School of Law
800 N Harvey Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City University School of Law
Telephone: 405-208-6300
Contact Name: Allison Rabon
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Skirvin Jazz Club is an immersive live music experience at the historic Skirvin Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. We transform The Park Avenue Grill a swinging jazz club. We stage the band...

Cost: Free

Where:
Park Avenue Grill @ The Skirvin Hotel
1 Park Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: OkSessions
Telephone: 405.694.8843
Contact Name: Christian Pearson
Website »

More information

Just in time for tax season, Carpenter Square Theatre presents “Death Tax,” Lucas Hnath’s darkly comic tale about death and taxes and how we live with both.  ...

Cost: $5-$25

Where:
Carpenter Square Theatre
800 W. Main
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Carpenter Square Theatre
Telephone: 405-232-6500
Contact Name: Rhonda M. Clark
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Easter egg hunts will be held at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. for children ages 11 and under. Everyone is invited to meet and take pictures with the Easter Bunny! Egg hunts are free with regular Farm...

Cost: 11.50

Where:
Orr Family Farm
14400 S. Western Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73170
View map »


Telephone: 405.799.3276
Contact Name: Lauren Daughety

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Celebrate Easter with a trip to Andy Alligator’s Fun Park! On Saturday and Sunday, get $5 off an All-Day Pass with our Eggcellent Easter Special. All-Day Passes include Go-Karts,...

Cost: $23.95

Where:
Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
View map »

More information

America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: $59.95

Where:
The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
Website »

More information

Just in time for tax season, Carpenter Square Theatre presents “Death Tax,” Lucas Hnath’s darkly comic tale about death and taxes and how we live with both.  ...

Cost: $5-$25

Where:
Carpenter Square Theatre
800 W. Main
Oklahoma City, OK  73106
View map »


Sponsor: Carpenter Square Theatre
Telephone: 405-232-6500
Contact Name: Rhonda M. Clark
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags