My girlfriends and I had a deliciously memorable experience on our walking tour with Savor Healdsburg Food Tours, part of our Girlfriends Getaway to Healdsburg earlier this month. The tour is included in the Girlfriends Getaway Special package, offered by Two Thirty-Five Luxury Suites, along with some other wonderful experiences that I will tell you about in a future post.
We met Savor Healdsburg Food Tours owner, Tammy Gass, outside of SHED, our first stop on the tour. Once our group was gathered – the four of us plus two lovely ladies from Washington state – our eating and drinking adventure got off the ground. Tammy invited us into the indoor market section of SHED and began to tell us all about this well-known “modern grange”, as it’s referred to.
Popular among locals and visitors alike, SHED is a market, restaurant, gift shop, classroom, gardening and kitchen shop and a community. From flour milled onsite to backyard beehives, linen aprons to fried chicken, it’s a wonderland for the foodie, the farmer and the home chef or the professional chef, for that matter. SHED also offers a variety of classes like bread-making, composting and canning, just to name a few. At SHED, there is something for everyone who appreciates delicious fresh food, and community.
Tammy started by telling us about the wide array of products SHED offers, many handcrafted and local.
SHED also offers prepared foods to take home or enjoy on the premises. Lawana was admiring all the salads, pâté and salumi in their cold case, trying to decide what she wanted to take back to San Francisco with her.
After a tour of the inside of SHED, we were taken to their back patio for our first food experience of the tour.
We started with a refreshing Shrub cocktail, a nonalcoholic drink made with an elixir of fermented fruits and vinegar.
Next we were served an apple and cucumber salad with fresh mint, the ideal salad for a warm summer day.
This colorful Mediterranean plate includes house-made crackers, quinoa salad, carrot hummus, Greek olives, ricotta cheese from Australia and a creamy beet salad with tzatziki sauce.
Our tour was off to a wonderful start!
The next destination, Café Lucia, was less than two blocks away, downstairs from our hotel.
Café Lucia is a Portuguese restaurant owned by brother and sister team, Chef Manuel Azevedo and Lucia Azevedo Fincher. We were seated in the lovely dining room which is filled with beautiful photographs of Portugal.
One thing I love about this food tour is there is never a wait. Our table at each location throughout the day was ready and waiting for our arrival.
To start, we were each served a small glass of tomato water with bits of scallion, red pepper and a drop of olive oil. To make this “water”, fresh tomatoes were strained, over and over again, until the liquid became clear. It is like summer in a glass!
Our next dish to try was their Chouriço Crusted Day Boat Scallops. They are pan seared and served on top of Japanese sweet potato puree and leek confit. The scallops were melt-in-your-mouth wonderful and the crunchy crust added just the right texture and saltiness. We washed all this deliciousness down with some Raza, a Portuguese light white wine with a touch of effervescence.
Café Lucia has become one of my very favorite restaurants. Bill and I first dined there last year, having never tried Portuguese food before. We’ve been back several times since. We also recommend their sister restaurants, La Salette and Tasca Tasca, both located in downtown Sonoma.
It wouldn’t be a food tour in Wine Country without a bit of wine tasting, now would it? Gustafson Family Vineyards offers visitors both a destination vineyard and winery in the mountains near Lake Sonoma in Dry Creek Valley and a tasting room and wine bar, just steps from the Healdsburg Plaza. We visited the latter for a food and wine pairing.
What a lovely surprise for us to see the long table set with wine glasses, nibbles, and all the information we would want to know what we were sipping and eating.
Our friendly and knowledgeable host, Tara, stepped us through the wine and food pairing and answered all of our many questions. The food portion of our pairing came from SHED. The experts at SHED created a tasting menu made to complement the wines served during our tasting at Gustafson.
I enjoyed all the wines at Gustafson Family Vineyards but my favorite is this Rosé of Syrah. It was just $20 a bottle so I had to take a couple bottles home with me, of course!
Along with estate wines, they also have an estate-grown olive oil made from Tuscan cultivars grown at their Old Olive Grove on the Dry Creek property. This olive oil is so delicious you can – and I do – drink it straight. I keep a bottle on my kitchen counter.
It was not only a delicious stop on our food tour but educational and fun too!
Next we walked a couple of blocks to Bravas Bar de Tapas.
Named one of the top 20 tapas restaurants in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure, Bravas is a very popular eatery in Healdsburg. Serving traditional Spanish and modern tapas-style fare, this is a wonderful place for a group as you can share large plates or a date night, choosing several of their smaller menu items.
This particular summer day was rather toasty. Sipping on this beautiful icy beverage before our food arrived was lovely and refreshing.
Once we were settled with our drinks, the tapas started arriving. First we were served a watermelon, cherry tomato salad.
Next we shared a few small buckets of Cider Braised Chorizo and Padron Peppers. My favorite dish at Bravas!
Soon our table was filled with Spanish tapas!
Including grilled octopus with fingerling potatoes and olives.
At the end of our meal, Chef Cody Thomason came to our table to say hello!
With our bellies full, we posed for a group photo outside Bravas. Tammy, owner of Savor Healdsburg Food Tours, is next to me on the left.
You know what everyone says: There is always room for dessert! And they’re right.
Our final stop was at Moustache Baked Goods, just around the corner from Gustafson Family Vineyards Tasting Room. We each picked out a sweet treat to either eat right there in their darling bakery or take with us back to the hotel.
See that giant chocolate cookie with the white filling? That is called a Moustache-O and if you like Oreo cookies, you will go crazy for Moustache-O’s. Not only do they taste 100 times better than Oreos but they’re made from scratch, without preservatives.
The four of us had such a fantastic time during the Savor Healdsburg Food Tour. Tammy was informative, kind, approachable and interesting. We all felt very well taken care of and a bit spoiled!
Even though some of us had been to these establishments before, we experienced them in a whole new way. We tasted things we normally wouldn’t order, we were given the background of the restaurant, bakery or tasting room, and we got to try lots of different foods all at once! It’s encouraged me to return to these places to order some of the things I ate on the tour.
I appreciated not having to wait for a table. And no need to ruminate over a menu – all decisions are made for you. If you have a special diet or food allergy, Tammy will ask you ahead of time and make sure the stops along the way accommodate your needs.
Whether you’re a Wine Country local who wants to experience cuisine from a variety of Healdsburg establishments, or you’re visiting from out of town and want to eat, drink and experience as much of Healdsburg as you can during your stay, this tour is a must-do. I highly recommend it and will be sure to book this tour next time we host out-of-town guests.
Visit the Savor Healdsburg Food Tours website for more information or to book your tour.
A reminder that August arrives next week which means the next How I Wear My is right around the corner! August’s theme is Cropped Pants. So pull out your capri pants, culottes, cropped flares, clam diggers, gauchos or pedal pushers and show us how you wear them! The deadline for submission is August 8th, 2016. Send a photo of you in your Cropped Pants to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include a summary about your look!
Make it a rich day!
Disclosure: Our tour with Savor Healdsburg Food Tours was part of the Two Thirty-Five Luxury Suites’ Girlfriends Getaway Special package, which was complimentary in exchange for my review. All opinions expressed here are, as always, my own.