Sorry for the really late report. But here goes...
Los Angeles: Umami Burger - love its namesake burger! yum! Melisse - had the degustation with wine pairing. egg with caviar and lobster pasta stood out. The rest were good but not outstanding. Will not return with that kind of price tag. Ricky's Fish Tacos - to die for!!! definitely on my must-try list for future trips. Hatsfield - great food, nice contemporary yet cosy setting. Will return.
Wine Country: The food Willow Wood Market Cafe - cosy and go for the soft polenta. Diavola Pizzeria - we had the Sonja pizza and it was fantastic. that is something after our previous italian trip. Farmhouse Inn - hubby loves the rabbit 3 ways and lobster sausage. They have the best chocolate souffle! Overall, a good experience. Willis' Seafood and Raw Bar - best calamari I ever had! the lobster roll is great too. Zin Restaurant and Wine Bar - our favourite restaurant in the entire trip. casual setting and unpretentious food. love the fried good beans, porkchop and steak. however, dessert was abit disappointing. remember to have a bottle of Acorn's Zin! Barndiva - decent fine dining at reasonable price The wine: Gary Farrell - good but not great wine, and kinda too commercial. Merry Edwards - good pinots Iron Horse - disappointing bubbly. i'll have a prosecco any day over it. Joseph Swan - one of the worst tasting experience. no pride, no explanations whatever-so about their wines. sad that people they hire are there as 'pourers' Benovia - decent pinots and chards Dutton-Goldfield - fantastic chard but not cheap Acorn - love their signature Zin. Holdredge - in a funky garage-like place. not outstanding but good for the price. Seghesio Family Vineyard - another commercial winery which left no positive impression Unti, Ridge, Bella, Preston - these dry creek wineries were disappointing, Bella being the worst. As with Joseph Swan, 'pourers' were hired to man the counters, offering no explanations and taking no pride in their work. Keenan - friendly lady who serve us. decent wine but expensive for the quality. Paloma - best find of the trip. best merlot ever!! Barbara, the owner, is such a sweet lady. OVID - expensive but outstanding cult wine. John Anthony - great cabs at reasonable price. they do a mean dessert wine too.
San Francisco Chez Panisse Cafe - great down-to-earth cooking with the freshest ingredient. the epitome of back to basics cooking with a lot of heart. everything we tried was good.
we went to a few other restaurants but nothing struck and i shall omit the mention. hope the above helps for those planning a trip to california.
Thanks all for contributions, especially to goldangl95 for your helpful insights! I am sold on Ridge and below is my revised itinerary. A.Rafanelli Ridge Lunch at Diavola Papapietro Perry Unti Dinner at Willi's Seafood & Raw Bar
We have 5 full days in the wine country and will do a trip report when back.
Thanks for the heads-up on Ridge - Lytton Springs. It is not on my list because their wines are available in Hong Kong. I'll keep your recommended wines on my 'to try' list for my next visit to a wine shop here. :)
This is my first time posting but I have used chowhound for my previous holiday trips to much success. Hubby and I are going to be in Healdsburg in Oct and I'm having problem with deciding among all the good wineries in DCV. We are looking to go to 4 wineries.
We are avid wine drinkers and are excited to learn more about Californian wines. Other than Pinots, we do not have much knowledge about them. Fyi, we stay in Hong Kong which has zero wine tax. Hence, are often able to get widely distributed wines at same price as in CA.
Winery/Vineyard: -prefers non-commercial, family run ones. -willing to include a commercial one if the wines and vineyard tour are really good.
Style of wine we like: -reds: big bold reds or elegant old world. Really like bordeaux blends, not too impressed with burgundy reds but perhaps we have not tried any good ones). -whites: buttery chardonnays or elegant Chablis. Hubby dislikes Sauvignon Blanc. -sparkling: yucks to the likes of Moet and Veuve, extremely overpriced for the quality. Loves Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose, good Proseccos.
Price: We are value buyers (i.e. price to quality ratio), hence shy away from widely distributed wines. Acceptable range: less than $100, best between $30-$50. But are willing to fork out more to purchase those that really impressed us.
shortlisted DCV wineries : Amphora A.Rafanelli* Bella Vineyard and Winery David Coffaro Vineyard & Winery Papapietro Perry* Pedroncelli Preston* Quivira Vineyards and Winery Sbragia Family Vineyards* Unti Vineyards* Yoakim Bridge Zichichi *those we are leaning towards.
Planning to have lunch at Diavola. Sorry for the long winded post. Thanks in advance for reading and replying!