Monday, March 3, 2008

an 'Epic'urean Weekend in Sonoma Part 1... FRIDAY the Arrival.

Hello Food Lovers! I know it has been taking me some time to write about the weekend that we went to the French Laundry. Life has been in the fast lane as of late and I haven't had a moment to sit down and write. But at last, I have found some time before I go to Puerto Vallarta at the end of this week.
Because this particular post is such a huge undertaking, I mean, we're not just talking the French Laundry, the entire weekend was fantastic! How do I even begin?

I decided to break it down into three different posts starting with our arrival into Sonoma on Friday morning, followed by our exploring the Sonoma Wine Country all day on Saturday, and rounding it up with the much anticipated French Laundry for Lunch on Sunday...
It was spent with three of my favorite friends, who were chosen for their Love of Food, as well as my Love of Them. Lucky them and lucky me!
It truly was an Epic Weekend, as the title of these next 3 posts implies. And so starts the recounting of the 'Epic'urean Weekend in Sonoma...

So the weekend that we had reservations at the French Laundry for Sunday Lunch, we all decided to take the Friday before off to head up early and spend a long weekend in Sonoma. I had scored the reservation for 4 at the FL back in December, exactly 2 months to the day of the reservation, so you can imagine the anticipation that had built up to this weekend.

Epicures that we were, we had it all planned out...

We arrived in Sonoma at 1030am and we had reservations to stay at the Trojan Horse Inn, but could not check in until later that afternoon. The Boys had golf at the Silverado Golf Club, and JZ and I had spa treatments at the Sonoma Spa on the Plaza at 1230pm, so we decided to grab a bite first on the Square.

After wandering around the Square, we chose the Sunflower Caffe on the recommendation of my foodie friend & coworker, the Food Rat, who raved about this place on Yelp and said that I 'had to try' the Smoked Duck Sandwich there.

We walked in, placed our orders and then ambled out to find a lovely outdoor garden patio in the back. Fortunately, it was gorgeous day! The Food was brought to us and we all agreed the everything was fresh and delicious. Everyone but me had something on the lighter side: JZ & JL both had the Half Sandwich & Soup combo with Chicken Salad for their Sandwiches. The Whole Roasted Chicken Salad was yummy with big chunks of Chicken, and prepared with Celery, Onions and Parsley. KJ had the Cold Smoked Salmon which was very fresh and was served on a Bagel with the usual suspects as accompaniments - Cream Cheese, Red Onion, Tomatoes, Capers & Lemon.

And I, of course, had the Smoked Duck Breast Sandwich made with Sonoma Saveurs Smoked Duck served warm on a Baguette with Carmelized Onions, Melted Gruyere and a Side of Fresh Mixed Greens. Smoked Duck and Melted Gruyere? It was as expected.. Delicious!

Thanks, C!

After our wonderful spa treatments, shopping & pedicures, my girlfriend, JZ and I caught a cab to the Trojan Horse Inn to check in and change for Dinner that evening. We were greeted by Bethany of the Husband & Wife team owners, and were then shown to our rooms.

Let me tell you about the Inn. This place is a serene, elegant and romantic inn, recently updated with six unique rooms, all with private en suite baths with stand up showers (although some of the
rooms did have whirlpool tubs). These we did not have, but I have to tell you what a wonderful little place this is! The husband & wife owners, Greg & Bethany could not have been nicer and accommodating. And they were a great help in recommending what wineries to visit the next day, which only contributed to what would become an epic weekend...

Every morning at 9am, a Gourmet Breakfast was served - the most memorable being the Creme Brulee French Toast which the name itself, needs no description for how good it was. There is an outdoor whirlpool spa in a lower garden terrace with fireplaces. The Inn is large and spacious enough that you didn't get the feeling of it being obtrusive, or it was not overly frilly, both of which we loved.
And the Beds... Oh My God, the Bed was unbelievably comfortable!
With 600 thread count Frette sheets and a huge, fluffy pillowtop mattress, it felt like sleeping on a cloud. This place was great!
I would definitely stay there again, if I ever find myself in the area.

We had Dinner that evening at the El Dorado Kitchen (or EDK as the locals call it) on the Square. EDK is a gorgeous and classically modern, trendy Space with warm interiors and Food that is pretty damn good.

Here is what we had...

Because we were there during the Olive Festival, we chose to start with the Feast of the Olives, which consisted of Picholine, Nicoise & Lucques olives, served with Hummus and Wood Fired Flatbread. The Olives were deliciously fresh, as were its accompaniments of Warm Flatbread and Creamy Hummus which worked really well together. A terrific start...

Other Starters were the Warm Brie & Mushroom Tart with Maitake & King Trumpet Mushrooms, Melted Brie and topped with Frisee, which was alright, and the Prince Edward Island Steamed Mussels in a Creamy Sauvignon Blanc Broth, Tarragon and Crispy Fries which was fantastic.

For Our Mains:
JZ had the Beef Tenderloin with a Mushroom Risotto, Watercress, Glazed Carrots and I had the Bistro Steak with the much toted, Truffle Fries and served with a Horseradish Crème Fraiche which were both quite good.
The Boys both had the Bacon-wrapped Pork Tenderloin served with Creamy Garlic Polenta, Caramelized Brussel Sprouts and a Prosciutto Vinaigrette which they enjoyed.

After we finished dinner, we headed to the bar for after dinner drinks and to discuss our plan for the following day. We had a great time and really enjoyed our Meal. Overall, it was a down right great Dining Experience for all of us and would highly recommend EDK should find yourself in the area.

Afterwards, we headed back to the Inn and had a bottle of Sparkling Wine to end the evening.
Great Friends, Great Food & Wine...

It was a perfect first day in the Wine Country...

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