|Dry Creek Valley|
Maybe because I am half Azorean, my mother's family was from the Azores Islands. Her family was mainly from Faial, "the Little Blue Island". The sailor's wives, planted blue hydrangeas all around the perimeter of the island, so in the fog the island cast a blue haze and the sailors would know which island was theirs.
When I walked into Café Lucia in Healdsburg, CA, I was suddenly and unexpectedly teared-up. The beautiful picture of the blue hydrangeas, my "pinch of Azorean" son standing next to me, and my 21st anniversary seemed to melt like rich chocolate into sweet memories of my grandparents. The smell of warm spices, the lemons in a glass bowl, and the ease of which we were greeted by the owner and proprietor, Lucia, was all so very Azorean. I began to immediately and unintelligently apologize and said I have no idea why I am ... the hydrangeas ... my grandparents ... anniversary surprise ...
Graciously she told us that it wasn't the first time this had happened since she opened. Lucia picked up three menus and sat us in her beautiful outdoor patio, the beginning of one of the nicest and most charming anniversary lunches.
Two years later we're still raving about the food; the service was lovely.
|Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwich and Piri Piri Fries|
|Just bring the picture with you, I can't remember what they called this. :)|
The Chef came to our table to greet us and personally showed us plates of individual deserts. My son called it the "sampler platter", a phrase from my Italian husband's uncle Bob who always orders a sample of the desserts offered at Thanksgiving.
|Chocolate: chocolate mousse with almond tuile, chocolate soufflé wth ruby port gelée and bitter chocolate sorbet with caramelized banana|
|Mousse: passion fruit mousse with mango, tapioca with fig compote, frozen kiwi mouse|
|Caramel: cinnamon-vanilla bean crème brule, caramel-chocolate ice cream with coffee glaze, & carameled apple in a pecan boat|
|Healdsburg Square in the heart of Sonoma|
Some of my favorites:
Myra Hoeffer Design, MHD, is probably the most notable of shopping experiences in Healdsburg. The talented designer, Myra Hoefer, is often personally working her retail store; I am happy to say she is warm and personable. On display and available for purchase in MHD is the artwork of her husband, Wade Hoeffer.
|Myra Hoefer Design as seen in House Beautiful|
Great cards and gifts. This is where I ordered my wedding invitations so many years ago.
See the post here: SHED
The best organic white peaches can be found at Dry Creek Peach & Produce.
Oakville Grocery offers a highly curated selection of gourmet foods and fine picnic supplies. They have an outside sitting area with fireplace for the cooler months. A great place to take a break from your shopping and grab a sparkling water or a quick bite to eat. Also, if you go over-the-hill, as we say, into the Napa Valley their original location is right off St. Helena Hwy. St. Helena, which is another charming town with great shopping and my personal favorite, will have to be another post.
I have left off bookstores, art galleries, vintage and antiques, women's clothing, and a whole list of other shopping places you can discover when you go. Please come back and tell me your favorites, or what's new in town. Or better yet, let's just meet there and have a wonderful time!
|Dry Creek Valley|
Finish by taking a drive through Sonoma County's beautiful Dry Creek Valley. The vineyards and rolling hills are beautiful in any season. Most people visit the Wine Country in the Summer, when it's usually hot and crowded. My favorite time of year is fall, before or after crush or in February when it rains; it's charming when it's raining. West of Healdsburg, take Dry Creek Road and leisurely drive (don't forget to stop at Dry Creek Peach and Produce) until you reach the Ferrai-Carano Winery, then stroll through their five spectacular acres of beautiful gardens.
|Dry Creek Valley|
COZINHA NOVA PORTUGUESA
Open Daily, Lunch & Dinner
235 Healdsburg Avenue, Suite 105
Healdsburg, CA 95448
707 431 1113
Ferrari - Carano
8761 Dry Creek Road
Healdsburg, CA 9544
707 433 6700
800 831 0381
All the best, Rié
Ferrari-Carano - Rhonda's Kitchen has a great Chicken Cacciatore recipe see the post here.