Move aside Napa, your touristy crowded squares can never shine a candle to the understated beauty of Sonoma. Besides the obvious wine tasting and winery touring, the wine snob in you might want to explore downtown Sonoma, a place brimming with nostalgia, since Sonoma was our honeymoon destination 4 years ago (how time flies!). Downtown Sonoma is an electric mix of modern and old-school, and much like Carmel, is divided into charming small nooks and crannies with shady groves that reveal boutiques, restaurants and charming gift shops once you enter.
Downtown Sonoma is all decked up this time of the year in a warm, fuzzy cloak of holiday cheer. Stroll by the different stores, get a taste of local flavors from several restaurants, El Dorado, Taste of the Himalayas and The Girl and the Fig being our past haunts and favorites. Owing to the awesome Mediterranean weather (neither too hot nor too cold, just perfect) weather almost all year round, most dining places in Sonoma have secluded or adjacent outdoor dining areas and are therefore all pooch-friendly. We discovered a new gem La Sallete, a Portuguese restaurant with a beautiful patio and stopped by for a bite to eat.
Starting anything off with a good glass of red, specially a light Pinot Noir from Sonoma County, is always a very good idea, any time of the day! We got complimentary beet and butternut squash soup shots (so yum!) and opted for the hearty butternut squash soup splashed with the goodness of olive oil. Then it was paella for the main course and a side of fire-roasted brussel sprouts. Although we were too full for dessert, the kitchen was kind enough to send us out on a sweet note with two chocolate hazelnut truffles. Being Portuguese, the menu is not super vegetarian/vegan friendly but does have some meat free choices. For more flexible eaters, this place comes highly recommended for the food, ambiance and service. Plus, brownie points for being pet-friendly.
Stroll through downtown Sonoma to stumble upon natue’s marvel such as Ms. Sweety Patouti, a show cat cruising in style or stop by Sweet Scoops, a local ice-cream parlour specializing in seasonal flavors. Get your fill of art by popping into many of the art galleries or stop by Tiddle E. Winks Vintage 5 & Dime, a quirky, delightful little gift shop or better still pick some wine infused chocolates as gifts from Wine Country Chocolates who have bars and assorted truffles for gifting. Whatever it is that warms the cockles of your heart, Sonoma will have it waiting for you somewhere in it’s myriad squares, galleries, restaurants, boutiques and stores. Finally, if your hedonism still gives you the jitters, drop by the Corte Madera outdoor mall, a short drive from Sonoma, for some retail therapy. Read more of our dog-friendly wine country adventures in Calistoga and Sebastopol here and here.
Like this post? Pin it here