In my last Rich Life Travel Friday post I wrote about our recent stay at the luxurious Honor Mansion in Healdsburg. What a treat to experience such a stunning property! As promised, I am sharing what we did (and ate) during our stay in Healdsburg.
Having lived in Sonoma County for the last 16 years, this was not my first visit to this charming town. Healdsburg is often a destination for my husband and me, whether it’s to shop, dine, taste wine, or all three, there is always something wonderful to experience, taste and bring home. This getaway was no exception!
After getting settled at Honor Mansion, we ventured out for dinner in the main shopping and dining area in Healdsburg, less than a mile from the inn. It was a beautiful and peaceful walk through neighborhoods with mature trees, manicured lawns and vineyards and many stately homes.
Our destination was Café Lucia, just a few steps from the town square. Café Lucia is a Portuguese restaurant owned by brother and sister team, Chef Manuel Azevedo and host, Lucia Azevedo Fincher. Many readers may already be familiar with Chef Manuel’s very popular restaurant in Sonoma, LaSalette, named for their mother.
Café Lucia has indoor dining with beautiful artwork in a relaxed and elegant setting. They also have a spacious courtyard – chicly decorated with lots of potted plants, strung lights and comfortable couches. It was a lovely evening so we chose to sit in the courtyard.
Bill and I were fortunate enough to meet both Lucia and Manuel while dining at Café Lucia. We were excited to try Portuguese food for the first time, especially after meeting Manuel and Lucia, noting the passion they both have for their cuisine.
We wanted to experience and taste as much of Portugal as we could and started our meal off by choosing a beer from Portugal for Bill and Portuguese wine for me. We were also treated to small nibbles to whet our appetites!
Next, we ordered a Tasca Tasting Plate. We chose Lupini beans (my new favorite bean!), pig’s ear, and octopus. So many wonderful flavors and textures!
We also ordered a grilled sardine – which I always love – and an order of fresh day boat scallops. For our entrees, I chose whole fish, which was flakey and moist and incredibly fresh tasting. And Bill had the Caldeirada-Portuguese Fisherman’s Stew, chock full of a variety of seafood.
There was no doubt that after our dinner we were full, but there’s always room for dessert, right?
Café Lucia’s desserts are a sweet adventure for your taste buds! Bill had the Chocolate trio and I had the Traditional. All six desserts were delectable but our favorites were the little ice cream sandwich and the chocolate mousse – we are still talking about that chocolate mousse!
Fresh, flavorful, exotic and memorable are words that come to mind when describing our meal at Café Lucia. We will be back! And I must also mention that the service is fantastic. Our knowledgeable server was friendly, helpful and ready to answer any question we had…and we had quite a few!
We walked off some of our meal heading back to our room at Honor Mansion. We were satiated and ready for a wonderful night’s sleep in our heavenly bed.
The next morning, after coffee and a gourmet buffet breakfast at Honor Mansion, we checked out of our suite and headed to The Taste of Tea. I was scheduled to have a green tea facial, foot soak and tasting. I was so intrigued and looked forward to finding out all about this concept of tea parlor and tea spa.
The Taste of Tea is a relatively new business in Healdsburg that is getting rave reviews from visitors and locals alike, and after my experience, I can see why!
Outside The Taste of Tea, there are café tables for patrons to sit and enjoy a cup of hot tea or a chilled MarTEAni and even perhaps a bowl of their special ramen.
Inside there are more tables…
And a beautiful tea bar. A wide variety of teas that have been specially selected by owners, Nez and Donna Tokugawa, are available for purchase.
I was taken to the Relaxation Room where a lovely woman named Tamera invited me to choose a chair and get comfortable. As Tamera began to prepare the tea, she explained how their special tea was brewed: not steeped with boiling water but with room-temperature water that has been treated with crystals using a VitaJuwl wand (read more about that here).
Tamera also prepared a green tea foot soak for me while she got my bamboo facemask ready.
During my treatment, Donna came in to chat with me. She is a fascinating person! I loved learning about her travels to Asia, her careful process of selecting teas and all the health and beauty benefits of green tea. She is a wealth of knowledge and such a warm and gracious woman.
Tamera had me keep the facemask on for about 10 minutes. When she took it off, my face felt so supple and moist yet my makeup was untouched.
The green tea beauty kits are available to buy at The Taste of Tea. I loved my facial so much, I bought a kit to bring home with me. I have now begun to incorporate at-home tea facials into my skincare program. I brew the green tea, drink a cup, then put the rest into a glass spray bottle and spray the green tea on my face and forearms throughout the day.
Donna told me that the catechins – the chemical compound in green tea thought to have many health benefits – don’t last very long, only 10 to 30 days. Making them fresh from loose green tea assures you will get the most out of your green tea.
The Taste of Tea is a great place to relax and treat yourself to a little pampering. I think planning a small group event to The Taste of Tea would be such fun. Who’s in?
After our revitalizing and hydrating visit to The Taste of Tea, we walked a few blocks to SHED Healdsburg, also located just off the square.
Referred to as “A Modern Grange,” SHED opened several years ago by Cindy Daniel and Doug Lipton. Cindy and Doug moved to Healdsburg twenty years ago to raise their family and start a farm. They were so passionate about farming, they wanted to share it with their community and celebrate farming, real food, and serving others.
Bill and I had a scheduled tour with the hospitality manager of this modern and impressive building, which won a James Beard Award for restaurant design last year.
We were shown the mill they use to make their own flour, the upstairs meeting room used for events and classes, the kitchen facilities, and the main attraction – the market. There are so many tempting things from household accessories to gourmet foods to fresh flowers. I could spend many hours in the market browsing and shopping.
SHED is a market, a café, a classroom, and a community. Whether you’re there to shop for backyard beehives and garden tools, enjoy a fresh house-made pastry with a cup of Flying Goat Coffee done in the Bonavita Immersion Dripper process or maybe learn something new, like how to make cheese for example, at one of their classes, there is something for everyone who appreciates good fresh food and community.
After our tour we were treated to lunch. The pea-shoot salad with bee pollen was outstanding as was the spaetzle with asparagus and wild mushrooms (the absolute ideal comfort food!). We finished our lunch off with homemade ice creams: mint chip and basil honey. They were both deliciously creamy and had such balanced flavors, not too sweet and not overpowering.
I have been telling all my friends about SHED. It’s such a beautiful place and a real treat for people who love to cook, eat great food and support a community adding such value.
What a taste adventure we had during our Healdsburg getaway! From trying a new-to-us cuisine to being pampered at a tea salon to touring and tasting our way around SHED, Bill and I entertained our taste buds while also learning about health, environment, community and culture!
I would like to thank Lucia and Chef Manuel for a fantastic and unforgettable meal. And also Donna, Nez and Tamera for their warm hospitality and green tea pampering. And to Gillian of SHED for giving us a tour and treating us to a wonderful lunch.
A special thank you to Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau, as well, for coordinating our visit. Be sure to contact the Healdsburg Visitor’s Bureau website to plan your next getaway to this fantastic – and tasty – Wine Country destination!
Make it a rich day!
Disclosure: Our visit to Healdsburg, including all meals and our hotel stay, was complimentary. All opinions expressed here are, as always, my own.