Friday, October 3, 2014

Sonoma County's Café Lucia, Beautiful Dry Creek Valley, and Shopping in Healdsburg, CA

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.

Wade Hoeffer

Myra Hoefer Design as seen in House Beautiful
Owner, designer/architect Jacques Saint Dizier features furniture, accessories, and gifts in this quintessentially Napa-style store.  You are sure to find something to tuck into your suite case.
A full-service French bakery that serves breakfast and lunch.  My son's favorite is Frangipane with it's velvety almond cream.  Trust me, it will be one of your favorites as well.
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




 Café Lucia
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.


  1. Wow, Rie, such a pretty trip & it's nice to have a sentimental moment every now and again. Dry Creek Valley looks stunning, would love to visit!
    xo. Leslie
    Segreto Finishes

    1. Leslie, You are a class act, and so talented! I appreciate you very much! xxRié

  2. Rie, I just love Sonoma, so much more than Napa. Love the closeness to the sea, the thought of all the underwater caverns that help the grapes with their vibrations. And, it is just so much more beautiful. So happy to see this post, my friend. Well done !!

    1. Marsha, I had no idea about the underwater caverns! You are always in the know! xxRié

  3. Loved this blog, Rie'! I will have to get to Healdsburg to have lunch at Cafe' Lucia. It sounds wonderful. I drove through Dry Creek Valley a few weeks ago to take advantage of the Dry Creek Peach & Produce's last open weekend. Their organic peaches are heavenly!

    1. Pat, I love Dry Creek Peach's white peaches! They are the best. I thought about listing them, but I have checked back several years running and they had a freeze, or one thing or another and didn't have any peaches. So glad to hear they are "back" in business so speak. xxRié


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