Strawberry Fields

Monday, June 29, 2015

This weekend was simply wonderful.

With our fifth wedding anniversary on Wednesday and a familial love of surprises, I thought few things would tickle John more than an unexpected weekend trip. Unexpected might be a bit broad since technically I'd been telling John every day for about four weeks that something was planned, but on Friday night I told him we needed to be in bed early for a big day!  After Indian food and an episode of The Newsroom, I discreetly packed a weekender and crawled in bed before 10.

Our early alarm was followed by some favorite empanadas picked up at Hollow the day before and lattes from Trouble that we sipped with Outer Sunset fog practically around our ankles. John didn't know it, but we were headed for sunshine in wine country, and when he realized where we were headed, he was absolutely thrilled. We started with an mid-morning tasting at Ehlers, where John had bought his very first case of wine when we were still in college, then dropped by Bouchon Bakery for a light lunch. I kept each aspect of the day a surprise, so he was delighted to discover that our after-lunch stop was Paraduxx, a winery we'd first visited with friends, and where we left with a few bottles of rosé for summer sipping. After a winding trip over the mountains to Glen Ellen we didn't have the stamina for the third winery I'd scheduled, and instead napped at the gorgeous Beltane Ranch where we were spending the evening. After a game of horseshoes and a stroll through the vineyards we headed into downtown Sonoma, where we strolled through the quaint town square and popped into boutiques to sample olive oils and ogle cooper cookware. After a round of Americanos at El Dorado Kitchen, we walked across the street to the girl and the fig for a fabulous dinner: fried soft shell crab and a charcuterie plate with a glass of sparkling rosé, melon-burrata and pickled carrot, fresh corn salads for our second course, and the duck confit with summer squash slaw and a decadent dish of potato purée with a Carignane from Cline. We shared an orange pound cake with marscapone and berries for dessert and tumbled back to the ranch gloriously full and happy. 

The next morning, John was up for the first pour of coffee and we had the most divine huevos rancheros with eggs fresh from the chicken coop before spending the better part of the morning swinging in the hammock on the lawn. We headed back into downtown Sonoma for a tour of the original Williams-Sonoma and to pick up cheese, bread and a bit of fruit for a low-key picnic in the vineyards. We finally said goodbye to gorgeous Glen Ellen and made our way back home in the early afternoon–but we brought some wine country produce along with us for supper! I needed some exercise and John needed a nap after our weekend, but once we'd both been satisfied, we cooked up some delicate gnocchis tossed with fresh corn, cherry tomatoes, basil and a bit of Parmesan. It was an unbelievably delicious way to end the weekend, and continue our anniversary celebration!

Tell me, what were you up to this weekend? Taking an adventure close to home, perhaps, or celebrating Pride in your city?

Image by Katie Stoops, white bouquet with strawberries by Watered Garden.


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