Tag: Sonoma

Putting Your “Wine Country” Trip Back on the Front Burner

Putting Your “Wine Country” Trip Back on the Front Burner

(Updated November 5, 2017, 12:00 p.m. PST)

California’s “Wine Country” (Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino counties) near San Francisco has long been a “hot” tourist destination, especially at this time of year.

(FlippinYank Flickr Photo)

But last month it was “too hot to handle” for both visitors and locals as fires have burned across the region destroying wineries, vineyards, homes, and business with no end to the conflagrations in sight.

That’s why I had urged those who were planning a trip to the area to put their plans “on the back burner.” But the situation has now changed, and Travel+Leisure is recommending that its readers not cancel trips to the region.

As of October 31st all fires burning in Northern California “Wine Country” were reported as being contained. Air quality is now ” considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.” Cooler, more seasonable high temperatures in the low 60s, with a mix of sun, rain, and showers are forecast during the coming week. All roads that were closed in Sonoma and Napa Counties during the fires have no re-opened.

Read More Read More

Off-Season in Sonoma Valley Wine Country

Off-Season in Sonoma Valley Wine Country

From late spring through early fall when the weather is likely to be warm and sunny sounds like the ideal time to visit “Wine Country” north of San Francisco.

Weather-wise, it is, and that’s why during that time of year you’ll find lodgings fully-booked, restaurant reservations hard to come by, roads clogged with cars, and winery tasting rooms chock-a-block with those seeking to sample the wares.

The grape harvest, beginning from sometime in August and extending through sometime in October, is a particularly busy time, not just for grape growers and wineries, but for the area’s tourist industry as a whole

(Chip Harlan Flick Photo)
(Chip Harlan Flick Photo)

But like leaves on trees, tourism begins to fall by November, “locals” begin reclaiming their must-loved wine region for themselves, and savvy travelers take advantage of the quiet time in wine country.

Read More Read More

Cooking Up “The Big Night”

Cooking Up “The Big Night”

Ramekins Catalog CoverOver a decade ago, I sat through a “demo” cooking class with my wife at Ramekins Culinary School in the Town of Sonoma. It was a bit like being seated at a table near the cooking island on a Food Network TV show while Emeril Lagasse periodically shouted “Bam!” while whipping up a series of dishes in front of a live audience.

Sometime after that, my wife gave me an unexpected birthday present: A gift certificate for a “hands-on” class at Ramekins where students, including myself, would help learn how to prepare a meal inspired by the 1996 movie, The Big Night.

In that film, two brothers from Italy, Primo (Tony Shalhoub, who would later gain fame playing an obsessive-compulsive San Francisco police detective in the TV series Monk) and Secondo (Stanley Tucci, whose other movie roles include Julia Child’s husband, Paul, in the blog-based film, Julie & Julia)  open a restaurant in America. But their eatery is failing because they insist on offering customers real Italian food, rather than “Italian-American” fare like spaghetti and meatballs served at a much more popular restaurant nearby.

Finally, the brothers have a chance to showcase their culinary skills when hey convince the “locals” to feast on “The Big Night” when famous musician Louis Prima is coming to their restaurant. It will be a party to end all parties. Or will it?

Well, you’ll have to buy or rent The Big Night to find out.

TimballoOn Sunday, September 8, 2013, Ramekins will again offer “The Big Night” cooking class, taught by chef-instructor Lisa Lavagetto. This time, it will be a “demo” class, so you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy a couple of classes of wine and a five-course meal, including the most dramatic dish that Primo and Secondo “cooked up” in The Big Night, timballo, a pasta drum filled with meatballs, fresh ricotta, asparagus, and hard boiled egg.

I can’t promise that you’ll have as extensive of a meal as Primo and Secondo’s customers did on the big screen, but I can guarantee that Lisa will show you a great time and serve up a great meal.

This clip will whet your appetite for Ramekin’s “The Big Night” and make you yell “Let’s Eat!”

httpvh://youtu.be/1UeNQlmxEkQ
 (Tales Told From The Road publisher Dick Jordan worked for three years as a volunteer cooking assistant at Ramekins, helping out chefs like Lisa Lavagetto. Ramekins offers “demo” and “hands-on” classes covering a variety of culinary styles, and hosts wine-maker dinners and other special events. Its upstairs inn provides a convenient place to bed down after a enjoying an evening of fine food and wine. For more information, visit the Ramekins Website, www.ramekins.com. Purchasing “The Big Night” from Amazon.com through links on this page helps Tales Told From The Road continue to bring you a wide range of travel-related stories. )

Get more travel news! Subscribe to our e-mail updates!

[button link=”http://talestoldfromtheroad.com/” color=”red” shape=”rounded” size=”large” align=”left”]Back to Front Page Stories[/button] [button link=”http://talestoldfromtheroad.com/blog” color=”red” shape=”rounded” size=”large” align=”right”]Explore This Blog[/button]