Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sonoma

Even in the rain, Sonoma was gorgeous. We stayed at a sweet little bed & breakfast place called the Sonoma Chalet, where most of the guest rooms consist of stand-alone cabins on the edges of the property.
We stayed in Sarah’s Cottage, which was set far back from the main house and fairly isolated. The d├ęcor was country-antique-eclectic, with mixed fabric patterns and odd ceramic figurines, and the walls (and floor, and ceiling) were all wood-paneled, like we were living inside a hollowed-out tree in a room decorated by someone’s Great-Aunt Mildred.

I was dismayed to see that we had no TV, because I’m so used to having something to watch, even if it’s in the background and I’m not paying attention to it. How did we pass the time? After trekking around to a bunch of wineries and finding a spot for dinner, we didn’t have a ton of evening left before going to sleep, so we opened up the beat-up Scrabble box under the coffee table and gave that a whirl. We’re not very good at Scrabble. I love word games, but I’m not good with this one, unfortunately. We decided to throw the rules out the window and use abbreviations, acronyms, and I’m pretty sure we made up a couple of words but since we didn’t have a dictionary we just went nuts.


There was a mourning-dove-filled aviary in the yard, and I was woken up at 5:30 by their soft cooing rooster impressions on both of the days we stayed there. I also saw what I think was a quail, and there were cows browsing in the field next door. The porch and garden were beautiful, and it’s really too bad it was raining, because I would have loved to sit out on one of the chairs with a cup of tea and enjoy the view. The place was lush with plants both inside and out, and it was relaxing to be surrounded by so much green.


We ate well in Sonoma. The town square is beautiful and covered with shops and restaurants of every conceivable type, and so we wandered in circles (squares?), reading menus and trying to decide what to try. The first night was good, but not good enough for me to have remembered the name of the place. I had a mushroom and roasted garlic pizza and we ended up snacking on leftovers the next day because it was so huge I couldn’t even imagine finishing it at dinner. The second night was the best meal, at the El Dorado Kitchen on the town square. We sat in the lounge area because we showed up without reservations, but the food was the same and the service was excellent. I tried the bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with polenta and pickled onions, and it was beyond fabulous. It was plated all elegantly like on the cooking shows – not quite Iron Chef fancy, but definitely a nicer presentation than I ever manage at home or see at any of our regular places. It was delicious. If you are ever in Sonoma, go there!

Meanwhile, the wineries in Sonoma were wonderful and we saw a lot of them, but that’s for another post.

2 comments:

  1. Would you recommend Sonoma Chalet? I mean, aside from the decor (which, really, not so hot) and the lack of TV (which Bill & I would not care about).

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  2. I'm not an expert on B&B's, having only ever stayed at a couple of them, so I'm not sure how to judge. The best part was the quiet - being apart from the other guest rooms, and not in the heart of town, was great.

    It's probably not a good choice for high-maintenance folks, because the manager was only around in the morning and if you needed something at night you'd need to call and wait, because they lived off-site. And it's not the sort of B&B where you mingle a lot with the other guests, except at breakfast, but it was a nice place and you'd probably enjoy it.

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