I’M BACK!

After spending a relaxing week in Sonoma and Napa Valley, where the wine flowed freely, the evenings passed coolly, and time ticked by just a little slower, I’m back to real life here in Chicago. Although I usually don’t post photos of my trips (e.g. Hawaii), I did ask the blogging community for suggestions on where to go/where to stay/where to eat while in Wine Country, so I had to share. Here are some highlights!

-In Sonoma:
20130721_105918 Gundlach Bundschu Winery hosted the GunBunFunRun, the main reason for my trip. The race start was on the winery’s property (in the distance) with a wine station set up 100 yards from the starting line (just to the right of the foreground)!

20130724_090908 Here’s the Sonoma farmhouse where we stayed for three nights. It had an awesome deck which made for lovely breakfasts and dinners.

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20130724_090534 The property also grows its own wine grapes right behind the deck, which produces about 200 bottles of wine every other year.

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Grilling was paramount for meals we made at the farmhouse, even dessert! 20130722_204945

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Although I did manage to bake one thing: Fine Cooking’s heirloom tomato and cheese pie made with homemade biscuit dough. 20130723_200244

We also found this hidden gem in the Sonoma town square for lunch. 20130723_134523

Sonoma ended with dinner at the girl & the fig. 20130724_175606 A special thanks goes out to Christy of Confessions of a Culinary Diva, who sent me a bundle of helpful information and recommendations for my Sonoma trip, including recommending the girl & the fig!

-In Napa:
Robert Mondavi Winery. By far my favorite winery during this trip. I’m a pretty big nerd, so I loved taking the specialized educational tours and tastings. 20130722_095559

20130722_104600 This is Doug. He conducted our wine tastings basics class. Although I’m pretty familiar with how to taste wine, it’s always good to learn other methods, as he encouraged us to do. Doug and the class were informative and entertaining. I mean, it’s wine. How is it not entertaining?

20130722_121618 This is David. He hosted our exclusive cellar tasting which was held in one of the two tasting rooms in the cellar itself. This tasting included a cheese and charcuterie accompaniment. David was very knowledgable of the wine and the area. One of wines, a 2005 cabernet sauvignon reserve, was so impressive that a couple of investment bankers bought a case to ship home to New York. Because of Doug and David, my friend and I both joined Robert Mondavi’s wine club. We’ll be receiving special Mondavi wines four times a year starting in September!

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20130725_122124 This is Richard Miami, a native Napton. He lead our signature tour and tasting. His energy and excitement made you want to spend the rest of the day at Robert Mondavi. Although our tour was supposed to feature only three wines, he threw in an extra tasting of Mondavi’s moscato d’oro! I highly recommend requesting Doug, David, or Richard Miami as one of your guides.

And how do you spend time in Napa without stopping off in Yountville for some of Thomas Keller’s cuisine? 20130721_211134 ad hoc for dinner.

20130725_110826 addendum for a picnic lunch featuring his famous buttermilk fried chicken.

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Bouchon Bakery for a pain au chocolat, a chocolate chip cookie… 20130725_114732

… and six giant macarons: espresso, vanilla, hazelnut, coconut, pistachio, and caramel. 20130725_114915

There were so many other stops we made, including Cakebread Cellars, Oakville Grocery, B.R. Cohn Winery & Olive Oil Company, Jacuzzi Family Vineyards & The Olive Press, and approximately 36 hours in San Francisco that I didn’t cover here. But, overall, it was an amazing trip, and I can’t wait to go back!

46 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cathleen
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 09:13:33

    Sounds like you had a splendid time. The farmhouse looks like a fabulous place to stay, and what delicious looking food! Then again it is wine country..

  2. Norma Chang
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 09:39:49

    Glad you had an amazing trip, having the right guide leading a tour makes all the difference.

  3. Amelia
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 09:55:33

    Hi Yummychunklet, glad to know you had a enjoyable holiday. Beautiful pictures and lovely scenery. I love the farm house, wonderful place to stay.🙂
    All the food look inviting and awesome. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. markd60
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 10:29:08

    Looks like you had a great time and as always, the food looks delicious.

  5. Dana @ Simply Romanesco
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 10:58:05

    It looks like you had an amazing time!🙂 The food looks wonderful and I love those giant macarons🙂

  6. Three Well Beings
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 11:01:15

    Wonderful! And as you found out, you just hit the highlights! You’ll have to come back. I love Bouchon and Cakebread winery. So many of the others you highlighted I have never visited, yet I’ve been there many, many times. You can never see it all. Was the farmhouse a B & B? We like to stay in homes when we travel that way, and I’d be interested. I’m so glad you had a good time.🙂

  7. Gloria
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 11:01:45

    Lovely place and amazing food!!!

  8. kitchen flavours
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 11:02:44

    Welcome back!
    Beautiful place! Lucky you!

  9. Marta @ What Should I eat for breakfast today
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 11:45:07

    Amazing food!!! I can imagine how much fun you had.

  10. Meenakshi
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 14:10:44

    I want a giant macaron now! The farmhouse you stayed in looks so beautiful and quaint. And I would definitely walk into a restaurant called the girl and the fig! BTW the tomato and cheese pie looks really yummy🙂

  11. Mary Frances @ LOVE - the secret ingredient
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 14:48:26

    What a fabulous trip! The food looks delicious and now I’m waiting for 5pm to roll around…🙂

  12. SandraM
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 17:28:53

    Looks like it was a fabulous trip! Great pics. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Cher
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 17:50:48

    Welcome back – great trip!

  14. I WIlkerson
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 19:25:10

    Sounds like you had a great time! Welcome back!

  15. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 21:35:41

    Glorious time! It’s been years since I went on a wine-tasting tour of Napa. I even want to go to the Girl and the Fig !

  16. Hotly Spiced
    Aug 02, 2013 @ 21:51:47

    It looks like an incredible place for a holiday. So beautiful and the weather looks excellent too xx

  17. Ameena
    Aug 03, 2013 @ 03:04:52

    What a great trip…the house is just perfectly Sonoma, right?

    Why no pictures of you?

  18. Nami | Just One Cookbook
    Aug 03, 2013 @ 03:14:28

    Sounds like you had an amazing trip to Napa/Sonoma! I could retire there one day when I’m old (hopefully not too old!).🙂 Good choices of macarons at Bouchon!

  19. tokyohamster
    Aug 03, 2013 @ 04:50:31

    oh my gosh what a great trip! it looks like napa’s changed a lot since i went years back! the only thing that I do recognize is Richard from Robert Mondavi! He was our guide too🙂

  20. Liz
    Aug 03, 2013 @ 09:00:53

    What an incredible trip!!! A foodie’s dream come true! Welcome back🙂

  21. Edible Celebrations (@lavesta)
    Aug 03, 2013 @ 21:14:21

    Welcome back Yummy! It sure sounds like you had one fabulous time! It’s nice to know you can ask for suggestions from the blogging community for trips like yours. I’ll have to remember that:)

    The food sounds amazing but I must say, I am really impressed with the wine tours. Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to absorb all you can in knowledge and having inept guides. Glad yours were good.

    Thank you so much for sharing…

  22. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes
    Aug 03, 2013 @ 21:40:29

    I love napa valley for a vacation! And you got to eat at ad hoc, good for you!

  23. Mary @ Fit and Fed
    Aug 03, 2013 @ 22:37:58

    Mmm, you hit all my favorites with your grilling: corn, asparagus, salmon, peaches. And the table set with the bouquet of hydrangeas and the ‘house wine’ looks very inviting. Between the homey farmhouse and the multitude of restaurants it sounds like a fantastic trip!

  24. Cakelaw
    Aug 03, 2013 @ 23:46:09

    Love the sunny photos – looks like you had a smashing time. I went to Sonoma last year – fell in love with the place.

  25. Tandy
    Aug 04, 2013 @ 01:14:16

    Wow, it looks like you had an amazing time! Welcome home🙂

  26. Alice
    Aug 04, 2013 @ 01:33:10

    totally jealous of your trip!! looks like it both tasted great and you really relaxed and had a blast!!🙂

  27. cquek
    Aug 04, 2013 @ 02:25:09

    how was your trip? thanks for sharing all your wonderful shots with us.

  28. Piece Maker Company
    Aug 04, 2013 @ 06:08:14

    This is my first time visit at here and i am actually pleassant to read all at
    alone place.

  29. Mary
    Aug 04, 2013 @ 10:47:43

    What a fabulous trip – so much great food and wine – would LOVE to visit Napa one day:))
    Mary x

  30. Karen
    Aug 04, 2013 @ 11:52:05

    Welcome home! What a dream trip…it sounds absolutely wonderful.

  31. Natalie
    Aug 04, 2013 @ 16:41:16

    Looks like an amazing time!

  32. mysfkitchen
    Aug 04, 2013 @ 19:08:23

    WOW so much great food, and that place you stayed in Sonoma looks adorable! How relaxing🙂

  33. Melolimparfaite
    Aug 04, 2013 @ 21:32:19

    It looks really cute, each time I go to SF we finally don’t go because we don’t drive ^^

  34. zack.charliej.net
    Aug 04, 2013 @ 22:03:28

    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over
    again. Anyways, just wanted to say superb blog!

  35. tastytreats13
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 14:26:57

    Glad your back! Sounds lovely!

  36. the Squishy Monster
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 15:50:49

    How fun! I want some giiiiant macarons!

  37. Amy (Savory Moments)
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 06:07:11

    Welcome back! It looks like you had a lovely trip!!

  38. Audrey Allure
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 06:52:00

    Wonderful photos! Looks like a great time🙂

  39. apuginthekitchen
    Aug 06, 2013 @ 13:47:05

    How nice, love the photo’s and it sure sounds like a good time. I just love the farmhouse and the wine tasting sounds amazing as does all the great food. Welcome back.

  40. foodfashionandflow (@FoodfashinFlow)
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 23:00:30

    Wow! It looks like your trip was pretty amazing. The Farmhouse looks lovely and the food…OMG!!!!!

  41. Juliana
    Aug 08, 2013 @ 16:23:12

    Glad to hear that you had a great time in Sonoma…the pictures are awesome!

  42. bakeawaywithme.com
    Aug 10, 2013 @ 07:06:25

    We are going to be in Sonoma in the fall…will be taking some of your suggestions with me. Welcome back!! Sounds like a great trip!

  43. Confessions of a Culinary Diva
    Aug 10, 2013 @ 11:48:31

    What a great vacation – looks like you made it to all the best spots. I think Sonoma/Napa feel like you are in a whole different country.

  44. Monica
    Aug 10, 2013 @ 20:25:43

    We also just got back from vacation in California. With our 8-yr old in tow and all the driving from San Diego to SF, we had to skip Napa. I’m living vicariously through your pics. Would have loved to try ad hoc and addendum!

  45. Raymund
    Aug 11, 2013 @ 03:56:11

    Hey I am back as well, after a long holiday in Europe now I am catching up with the delectable post of my blogger friends

  46. A Couple in the Kitchen
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 08:20:12

    What an amazing time! Great post and awesome pics. I’m a little jealous!!!

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