Hubby and I share the same Birthday month of May. We usually go to Napa Valley because it’s a short trip away and it’s sooooo relaxing. It’s not called Wine Country for nothing. There are so many vineyards to go wine taste at , you can easily end up drinking enough to forget you were supposed to be at work two days ago.
This year we stayed at The Fairmont Mission Inn in lovely Sonoma. What I love about this place is the spa on the premises called Willow Stream Spa which sits on top of an ancient mineral spring used by the Native Americans for it’s healing powers. This spa offers many services such as your typical facial, wax, massage, and mani pedi. The best part is the thermal spring mineral baths they have. There is a bathing ritual which includes, exfoliation shower, warm mineral pool, eucalyptus steam sauna, whirlpool, and dry sauna. You can enjoy unlimited lemon water in between, and hot tea and fresh fruit after the ” bathing ritual.” When you feel you’ve detoxified enough at the spa, you can head outside and relax by one of their pools and enjoy a drink or lunch.
For dinner you can either have the driver from the Inn drive you to downtown Sonoma in the company car ( no fee, but you have to take taxi back to hotel) and try one of the many restaurants there, or you can stay on the premises and enjoy a dining experience at the Inn’s restaurant called Sante. We chose the latter, and we’re so glad we did. The staff at Sante is so knowledgeable and attentive about each item on the menu, and every ingredient that goes into that menu and how they all come together to create such a delicious and visually pleasing dining experience. They have two options when it comes to the menu. The Chef’s Tasting Menu, which includes nine courses for $149, or you can choose which ever courses you want from their regular dinner menu. We didn’t do the Tasting Menu, but a group of four next to our table did and let me tell you that I haven’t heard God’s name being called out so often in quite a while, especially when they were tasting the Chef’s Cheese Selection!
For starters we had the Salad of California Delta Asparagus and the Chilled Ahi Tuna Tartare and both were equally delicious. The asparagus was perfectly steamed and seasoned, and the tuna melted in your mouth. When they place each course in front of you they explain in detail what is on your plate that you will be eating, and where it’s been sourced from. There are about five different kinds of organic breads that you can choose from ( try them all, they are delicious), served with samples of a hand churned butter from France, a local salted butter, and a side serving of salt flakes. I want to personally thank that Frenchman, or woman, sitting somewhere churning butter by hand. It’s so worth it.
For the entrée I had the Slow Braised Lamb Shank and my husband had the Pan Seared Diver Scallops and neither one disappointed.
For desert we shared the Valrhona Hazelnut Chocolate Torte, so rich and decadent. Perfect with an after dinner coffee or digestif.
Cafe Sante serves breakfast/brunch, which we tried the following morning. You get a nice sized coffee carafe for $5 and many delicious menu choices from Dungeness Crab Benedict to Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, and everything in between.
From the cafe we headed out to St.Helena and stopped at one of our favorite wineries, V. Sattui. Here, you can wine taste for $15 up to 5 different wines. If you decide to buy a case of 12 bottles( which we did) the wine tasting is free.
The wonderful part about V. Sattui, besides their wine and beautiful grounds, is that they have a deli where you can cheese taste( I highly recommend the Ewephoria), purchase sandwiches and other homemade salads and items, and have a picnic at their picnic area. On the weekends they have outdoor BBQ oysters, shrimp, and pizza as well.
Don’t forget your picnic blanket, you’ll want to take a nap after all that good food and wine!
Do you have anything to add to this article? Let me know in the comments. Cheers!