Destination: California wine country
During the pandemic, I cooked like crazy, conjuring exotic destinations through flavor: ras el hanout marinated chicken for Morocco, za’atar-flecked labneh for Israel, sake, soy-soaked vegetables for Japan. A travel writer’s gotta travel, right? I won’t have to go far to revive my palate this summer, though: I’m off to California wine country, which has more gastronomic inspiration per square mile than some major cities.
Where to start? I want to investigate the California Cheese Trail, which links 30 farms and creameries in Sonoma; dine on farm fresh meals at Single Thread (recently awarded a Michelin Green star for sustainability); test Dustin Valette’s “terroir” centric the Matheson and a farm-to-fork feast at Kendall-Jackson. The sustainable seafood pairing at St. Supéry is on my hit list along with stops at buzzed-about bakery Quail & Condor and Aperture Cellars’ floating-in-the-vines culinary center.
I’ve signed on for Farmhouse Inn’s “Rutherford to Russian River Valley” 20th anniversary package, which includes stays at its rustic-luxe hotel in Sonoma and the glamorous Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford along with meals at both hotels’ Michelin-starred restaurants and exclusive wine experiences. I’ll add an extra night at Macarthur Place Hotel—a massage there using locally sourced lavender from Matanzas Creek Winery sounds like heaven. —Amy Tara Koch