When you next head to Northern California and want a wine tasting day, the options are enormous: you can jump the Napa Wine Train for lunch and stops at local vineyards near the tracks; ride your bike on a car free trail up to the charming town of Yountville with stops for tasting en route or on the Alexander Valley backroads; and, drive to Hess and other exceptional wineries in the Valley. Now you can also stop at Cornerstone in Sonoma to sip and purchase your gourmet picnic supplies, then dash across the street to the charming gardens at the Cline Winery. Our friends with superior palates LOVED the Cline Zinfandel 2013 from their Big Break Vineyard.
Sunset Magazine just sold off their historic gardens in Menlo Park, now densely surrounded by high tech companies, investing instead in the large, central portion of a huge wine/restaurant/farmers’ market/test kitchen and gardens/high end retail outlet…complete with diverse ethnic food trucks and concert stages.
Many creative ideas for developing your garden and lots of free tastings of some really yummy wines, kept us pleasantly strolling, except for stops to learn from visiting chefs and garden experts. We hoped to catch the chef wife of our Golden State Warrior MVP Stef Curry in the test kitchen below, but she wasn’t scheduled when we were there. Go Warriors!
Instead we caught the very relaxed, young and gorgeous Chef Ny (Nyesha Arrington, Top Chef on Bravo) chilling with some tunes right before her cooking demo. She has also been selected in the “30 under 30” list recognizing young “Rising Star” chefs. Her restaurant in Los Angeles, LEONA, serves, “Progressive California Cuisine”. That likely means, with both Korean and African American grandparents, she gets to borrow from all ethnic traditions, use locally sourced fresh and diverse ingredients, and follow…her own palate and curiosity.
Another of the fun attractions was four shiny Airstream trailers finished with expected 1950’s post-modern interiors…but high tech materials and hardware to hide every gadget you could want on your road trip, including radiant heated floors. I asked the designers what they invested AFTER the purchase of the trailer, I did not get a straight answer but it seemed as he outlined some specific project costs it had to exceed $200,000..but only because that is “what the client wanted.” It only needed Lucille Ball in her frilly apron to rock it! It made our 19 ft. Dodge Sprinter/Mercedes Benz Diesel look like Hillbilly Haven by comparison. Oh well, we will just have to go drown our sorrows at the Tequila Tasting in 10 minutes…