Russian River Brewery and other highlights from Santa Rosa

Almost a month ago I made my second trip up to Sonoma Country. Better late to blogging about it than never blogging about it, right?

You might remember that I went to Sonoma for the first time last summer. I loved the time I spent there and have wanted to go back since. Last month I had my anniversary with my boyfriend and to celebrate we decided to take a trip with north to drink beer, taste wine and eat. These are our three of our favorite activities so we’re perfect for each other.

We drove up on Friday with the one goal of getting to Russian River Brewery before happy hour ended at 6:30. We were successful and made it in plenty of time!

I’ve wanted to go to Russian River for a very long time. I’ve been a Pliny lover for years and I wanted to try new beer as well. Going to this brewery was on the top of my agenda and let’s be honest, what guy is going to protest his girlfriend dragging him to a brewery? No guy I’d be interested in. The happy hour is an amazing deal: almost all the beers are only $3.75 a pint! That alone, on top of the amazing quality of the brews, was enough to get us in the door.

Round 1 was Pliny the Elder. I also tried Little White Lie before finishing off with another Pliny.

Side note: I got highlights! Do you like?

We ordered beer bites as well. I believe we had the Drew beer bites (with pepperoni and pepperoncini’s) and the Pliny beer bites (with white cheddar and jalapenos). Beer bites are essentially pizza cut into little bite sized pieces. Perfection!

Between the three rounds of beer and the beer bites I was stuffed! Love when I get to eat a dinner that is 90% gluten.

The next day we continued our trip with wine tasting. We mostly kept it local to Santa Rosa. We loved the Paradise Ridge winery. Check out how beautiful the property is…

Everyone we encountered there was so nice and lovely. They gave us a number of recommendations of places to go throughout the rest of the day which was very kind of them. We surprised ourselves and did something uncharacteristic, buying a bottle of sav blanc!

We went to a total of 5 wineries throughout the day. Our other favorite winery was Hook and Ladder. The pours were generous, flavorful (not too sweet, except for the port, obviously) and free of charge. The people taking care of us was really nice, chatty, and laid back. We ended up buying a bottle of the Pinot Noir at Hook and Ladder which I cannot wait to open.

I was pretty relaxed all vacation. How could you not be with all this beautiful scenery?

On the way back to LA we stopped off for mango drinks (which were thick, creamy and delicious. If I could have this for breakfast every day I would!)…

San Francisco

And Tartine, because I cannot enter the city without stopping for a morning bun and a hello to law school bestie, Chrissy.

Road trip fuel.

Overall, it was a very relaxing vacation. Next time I go I really want to hit up the Bear Republic brewery and Lagunitas! Any other suggestions?

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California Love

If you did not gather from my last, teaser post I was lucky enough to spend the past week and a half exploring California. Despite living in Cali for a little over 3 years I haven’t actually spent that much time exploring my adopted home state. I’ve taken a couple trips to Palm Springs and I’ve been to San Francisco and San Diego but there was so much more of the state that I wanted to see.

My Dad flew into LA on my birthday, we rented a car and hit the road.

We went to Santa Barbara.

Cambria and Hearst Castle.

Traveled up the 1 through Big Sur.

Carmel.

San Francisco.

Healdsburg and Wine Country.

and San Los Obispo.

This trip has completely reaffirmed my love for California. I feel so lucky to live in a state with such geographic diversity and beauty. Big Sur was especially breathtaking and I really want to go back. This trip was planned over the summer so major credit goes to my mom. I basically said “I’m busy, just plan it for me” and she did a really good job. We had great hotels where we stayed with locations that were walking distance from the downtown areas.

We only had one night in Santa Barbara, Cambria, and SLO. I really liked Santa Barbara and spent plenty of time on the main shopping drag through town. Same with SLO. It was the end of the trip and I was pretty tired but we stayed at a really cute little hotel that felt super homey and I managed to get some shopping time in too.

I ate at some amazing restaurants and I documented about half of the meals I ate. I plan to do separate posts detailing those meals. I was a huge fan of the dinner I had at Slanted Door, lunch at Chez Panisse, the baked goods at Tartine (might give my beloved Flour a run for its money as my favorite bakery), and Baci and Scopa in Healdsburg. I definitely came home with a food baby. Always the sign of a good vacation!