Sonoma For Design Buffs
Good eats and design in wine country.
In the heart of Sonoma—less than a 20-minute drive from more than 100 wineries—the old market town of Healdsburg has come into its own as a culinary destination. All of the restaurants, art galleries, and shops make for a busy-as-you-make-it weekend getaway, but one of the most memorable pastimes is sipping a glass of locally produced wine while looking out on the forested valleys.
A locavoreâ€™s paradise, this allâ€“regionally sourced, all-sustainable restaurant (set in a soaring, modern version of a red barn) takes haute farmyard cuisine to a whole new level. The vibe here is hip yet rustic: though the dining room feels rather like a gallery space (all polished stone floors and giant black-and-white farm-scene photos), the servers are casual and friendly, and diners wonâ€™t feel out of place wearing jeans and work boots. Chef Ryan Fancher (who previously worked with Thomas Keller) constructs his menus around the produce he gets from 200-plus small-batch local food suppliers; naturally, the lineup changes constantly. Still, if youâ€™re lucky, you might get to taste dishes like chÃ¨vre croquettes with tomato jam and organic honey; Liberty duck breast accompanied by
sweet onion ragu and sautÃ©ed arugula; and sublime beef sliders with smoked bacon and cherry ketchup.
Insider Tip: Barndivaâ€™s outrageous cocktails made with organic spirits are a draw unto themselves; try the Bondâ€™s Green Destiny, made with Boodles gin, cucumber, kiwi, and apple juice.
2 Duchamp Hotel, Healdsburg
Urbanites who prefer sleek, self-serve apartments to homey, antiques-filled B&Bs will appreciate the Duchamp, just two blocks off Healdsburgâ€™s main plaza. The propertyâ€™s six freestanding, metal-roofed bungalows are a study in clean-lined modernity, with poured concrete floors, flat-screen TVs, flokati rugs, and brushed-steel bathrooms. All have private patios facing onto a central, heated outdoor pool. Youâ€™ll find no staffers fussing over you here; apart from the specific hours when guests check in and breakfast is served, youâ€™ll be left blissfully alone.
Room to Book: All six bungalows are identical, but Room 9, at the edge of the property overlooking a creek, offers the most privacy.
Insider Tip: Though not well known, the small, nearby Duchamp Estate winery (run by Peter and Pat Lenz, who also own the hotel) is worth visiting for its tasty, organic Syrah.
3 The Gardener
In 1984,Â former garden designer and landscape designÂ lecturerÂ Alta Tingle opened her first shop, The Gardener, inÂ Berkeley, California. She opened this second location inÂ wine country in 1998 inside a corrugated metal barn that is surrounded by a large garden. The shop sells everything garden related, including locally made clay pots (as well as some from Italy and Asia), outdoor furniture, garden sculptures, fountains, and tools like shears and rakes. The wood shelves inside are also lined with accessories for the indoors, such as candles, scented soaps, and ceramic bowls.
4 Flying Goat Coffee
Independent and locally owned, this tiny coffee shop has now expanded to three locations, but the one just off the plaza inÂ Healdsburg is the original. Inside the small space, tables are often filled with locals who come to sample the day's offerings, which are posted on a chalkboard. While the coffee choices rotate, it's alwaysÂ sustainably farmedÂ coffee that comes from locations around the world, such asÂ Guatemala andÂ Costa Rica. Selections range from Americano to lattes, even iced chai made in house. Besides coffee, the shop sells coffee beans for roasting and fresh, house-made pastries.
5 Downtown Bakery, Healdsburg
Opened in 1987,Â Downtown Bakery & CreameryÂ is the product of three original partners who were colleagues at Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley. Today, the store continues to use local, organic, and seasonal ingredients to make all of its food. Bread comes in all shapes and flavors, including baguettes, sweet French, and whole-wheat walnut. Pastry offerings range from sticky buns to homemade jam pockets and a variety of both sweet and savory scones, while desserts include tarts, pies, and cakes. More than just a bakery, though, the shop sells homemade ice cream and sherbet, coffee, and lunch items like sandwiches and pizza.