We went for the weekend to Sonoma county to visit some farms in the area (as background for my dissertation...) We used the guidebook put out by the county "Farm Trails". Great informative publication with addresses, hours, product info...
We visited several farms including Tierra which is farmed by Wayne who spent an hour showing me the most deliciouis beans from Italy, heirloom pumpkins (one with seeds you can eat without shelling which I roasted last night with his chipotle powder), tomatos and pickling cucumbers. Then there was Walker apples where I tasted sevral varieties including a delicious Braeburn and a winesam. Willie bird (not a vegetable or thesis related but I got my favorite smoked turkey necks). Joe Matos Cheese and Marin french chees co had some interseting double creme and a mild blue. Kozlowsky for all sorts of apple butters and jams.
As for restaurants we had one very memorable meal: Japan Cafe on Courthouse sq in Santa Rosa. I was set for disapointment and it turned out to be original, amazing local produce, perfect service...
The special was a vegetarian hotpot with freeze dried tofu and shitakes. They gave me a raw egg to eat it with just like in Japan!!!! The Chicken teriyaki had homemade sauce, much less sweet than usual. There was a veg sushi plate on the next table that looked like a garden of delights. We also had the salad of pea shoots with sunflower seeds in a citrusy dressing. crispy and refreshing. And a green tea icecream that was creamy and light but alas did not taste like tea at all even with the tea powder sprinkeled on top.
Great time of the year to go and visit. We stayed at the historic Hotel La Rose and were given vouchers for some wine at thei restaurant. Breakfast included with some very decent scones. Accross the street there is a very popular cafe that had live music and a nice hot chocolate (Ghirardelly, but not bad).
Actually, speaking of hot chocolate there was also a cafe in Sebastopol that had incredible french hot chocolate and pumpkin gelato on the main street. Forgot the name (Chocolat?) Worth a detour.