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Healdsburg

Even though I’ve lived in Northern California for most of my life, before this past weekend I’d never been to Healdsburg. For no particular reason, I just always ended up in Napa/Sonoma/Calistoga. My husband and I finally  had a chance to explore Healdsburg as part of a trip to eat at Cyrus, and we loved it! Here are highlights from our little trip. Oh and by the way – most of these photos were taken with my new little Sony camera here, for those of you who are curious about photo quality vs traditional DSLR.

On the way up to Healdsburg from the Bay Area, you’ll probably pass by Petaluma. I was already out of beef jerky from Angelo’s from our last trip to Napa, and I found out that Angelo himself was usually to be found at his Petaluma location. Of course, we had to stop!

Angelo’s in Petaluma

The Petaluma location didn’t have sandwiches or ready made food, like its Napa location. However, this location had something much better and more unique, Angelo the man himself.

Angelo is as charming as you’d think and we had a great time chatting with him and learning about his hometown in Italy. I left with one pound of beef jerky!

Half an hour’s drive later, we pulled up to our hotel – the lovely Hotel Les Mars, in the center of Healdsburg.

Hotel Les Mars

Les Mars was recommended to me by one of my first bosses, an ex-investment banker with very good taste. She described it as a smaller and very charming hotel, and when we checked in we were immediately impressed by the beautiful lobby.

We checked in and went up to our room – a Mansion King. It was lovely!

I especially liked the bathroom – complimentary amenities were Bvlgari bath products and a giant bottle of Voss.

I thought this was a very charming touch – a handwritten note from the staff was on our bed.

After getting ourselves oriented, we dropped off our bags and quickly headed out the door to explore Healdsburg. Our first stop was the Oakville Grocery which is much more than a traditional grocery store. It was more like a casual cafe, where you could order sandwiches, pizza, wine, cheese, desserts, and eat it all outside under the sun. I’d highly recommend it as a stop for anyone visiting town!

After splitting some sandwiches and desserts at Oakville, we walked around town a bit. Healdsburg has lots of charming furniture, decor and antique shops. I had heard various comments about the local real estate market heating up and thought this “For Sale flyer up on one antique’s shop window was funny.

We spent a few hours walking around the town, and then headed back to our hotel.

One of the major reasons we decided to visit Healdsburg that particular weekend was that we had reservations for Cyrus – a two star Michelin restaurant that I’d always heard amazing things about, but never tried. Cyrus is closing its doors in its current location after October, and we knew we had to go soon. Our reservations were for a very late seating – 9:30 – whereas we usually closer to senior citizen early-bird special time. Luckily during turndown Nespresso machines appeared in our room which helped.

Another plus for Cyrus? Its current location is directly connected to Hotel Les Mars – always good to have a very short walk after a long wine pairing.

This is what I wore – my favorite black DVF Zarita dress, my favorite Alhambra necklace, a YSL clutch, and Louboutin heels.

The food at Cyrus was absolutely amazing. Of course all my photos from that night were very fuzzy (and dropped even more dramatically in quality the further along in wine we went). Here are some fuzzy favorite parts of our night though. The left is a lovely dessert that they brought out as we were celebrating – you slowly “pop” the balloon and it releases little chocolate shavings all over fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. Delicious. Right is a tower of amuse bouches – five per person for sweet, sour, umami, salty, and bitter.

All during dinner, a charming trolley of desserts kept rolling by our table. My husband was going crazy whenever it came by – he has a total sweet tooth and was salivating even as our first courses were still arriving. We had a really late seating and he was even worried at one point that they would run out of desserts on the cart! Of course they didn’t.

At the end of the dessert course, we were each served a box containing “tomorrow’s pastry”.

The box had lots of extra space in it, and you could pick out items from the dessert trolley to add to the box (as well as to enjoy right away on a plate). I stuffed mine full!

All of the chocolates, toffee bits, and fruit gelees were delicious and a great way to be reminded of the restaurant even days later.

After dinner, we walked the very short distance right back to  Les Mars for the night. The next morning, we were woken up by breakfast delivered to the room! Each room at the hotel automatically comes with breakfast in bed and we had filled out a card the day prior with our preferences and left it on the door. It was a great spread of fresh yogurts, fruits, granola and french pastries along with fresh squeezed juice.

After filling up, we spent the late morning and early afternoon just walking around Healdsburg. The weather was wonderful yet the streets weren’t incredibly crowded like they can be in Yountville/Napa at the peak of crush season. It was very nice and all around us there were happy people walking dogs and having brunch with friends.

After our meal at Cyrus and huge breakfast, we didn’t think that we’d be hungry for a while. But we happened to walk by this restaurant Wurst, and all of a sudden my stomach started to growl. I can never resist a good bratwurst and/or hot dog and this placed looked amazing!

I had to try one but didn’t think I could finish a whole sausage at that point. My husband said he’d split it with me, but at the last minute the idea of splitting a precious bratwurst was so distressing that I had to add on an order of chili cheese fries! I asked the woman working if the chili cheese fries there were good. “Oh they’re great,” she said. “I know this isn’t going to sound great…but they’re nasty…you get what I mean?” Yes I did, and immediately went ahead and ordered them.

Both the wurst and the fries were delicious – and as you can see, our sausage even came with onion rings on top. Yahoo!

After we finished our meal, we went back to Les Mars and checked out. Waved bye bye to the beautiful lobby.

And our car was already out in front. The hotel has complimentary valet parking which ended up being a great blessing as parking is can be pretty bad in the town center.

Overall we had an absolutely wonderful time in Healdsburg – I’d recommend it for anybody visiting the Napa area and especially as a day trip for any locals. We will be back!

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  • Tabitha
    September 14, 2012 at 7:31 am

    You look beautiful, so simply chic, I love that little pastry box, what a great idea but most of all plastic basket food – my favourite! It’s so hard to find it here, love it, love it love it!

    • Katherine
      September 14, 2012 at 9:41 am

      Plastic basket food is such a good way to describe it! Love it Tabitha 🙂

  • adele
    September 14, 2012 at 8:36 am

    It looks such a wonderful place for a mini break & you looked stunning in your outfit Katherine. I see you made the most of the dessert trolley & packed as many chocs into the box as possible!!!!!
    Have a fab weekend Hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

  • preppylawyer
    September 14, 2012 at 8:40 am

    That DVF dress looks great on you!

  • stephanie
    September 14, 2012 at 8:45 am

    the breakfast and the “Tomorrow??” box looks amazing!
    just ordered the zarita dress for a wedding — it’s coming tomorrow — seeing this post is making me very excited to receive the package! lets hope it fits!

    • Katherine
      September 14, 2012 at 9:40 am

      Stephanie I hope you like it! What color did you get?? 🙂

      • stephanie
        September 17, 2012 at 10:11 am

        I got it in navy — well…because i like navy! something that’s classic like black, but not black! I love the cream version as well though.

        • Katherine
          September 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm

          Navy is LOVELY! You’ll look great in it 🙂

  • Eva
    September 14, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Loved the hotel pics and the “tomorrow” box as well! Your dress makes me wanna wear my own blacke lace dress which I got last year but wore it only twice… Hope this year I’ll get to wear it more!

    • Katherine
      September 14, 2012 at 11:30 am

      Yes you should! It sounds lovely 🙂

  • DSK Steph
    September 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Your outfit is so beautiful!

  • C
    September 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Can you do more restaurant/travel posts, especially around the Bay Area? I love hearing where/what other ppl like to dine out. It’s a bonus that your reviews are always delightful to read. I better go make reservations at Cyrus before October.

    • Katherine
      September 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      Thanks C! I will try to but I need to get out more and travel more too! If I did most of my dining in the Bay Area it’d be an endless stream of random sushi bentos and pho/ramen probably!

  • margot
    September 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Lovely post,and gorgeous desserts!

    I must make a plea once again for more attention to grammar 🙂

    “Cyrus is closing it’s doors…” Ouch! It’s “Cyrus is closing its doors…” In your version you essentially wrote “Cyrus is closing it is doors.”

    And then again, you wrote “It’s current location is…” No. “Its current location is…” “It’s” translates to “it is.”

    • Katherine
      September 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      Thanks Margot! Believe it or not I know that rule but I am just careless. Glad to see that there weren’t as many mistakes this time hopefully.

  • Trang
    September 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Love this outfit for you!

    Also, I saw that you said you loved this vca necklace best. I also noticed that you had two alhambra necklaces. Why is this your favorite vs the mop? I am curious because I am looking to buy one and am deciding between the two stones…

    • Katherine
      September 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      You know I love the onyx because it was my first and it was a gift from my now husband. But also because it was an unexpected find for me – I always thought I’d want MOP first but when I tried on onyx (especially with black hair) I loved it! My VCA sales person says that’s a very common reaction. MOP is lovely (and that’s why I had to get one later!) but it’s also a wee bit harder to take care of, not difficult but onyx is a very low maintenance stone.

      • Trang
        September 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm

        Thanks Katherine! I thought I’d always wanted the onyx and yellow gold first. When I tried it on, it was so lovely with my coloring ( I am Asian too) but the mop was beautiful as well and may be slightly easier to wear day to day ( like an alternative to a strand of pearls). Though your onyx seems just so classic! Sigh, maybe I need them both!

        • Katherine
          September 14, 2012 at 11:44 pm

          Yes they’re both wonderful 🙂 A quick note that I thought the same thing about pearls and that’s why for my MOP necklace I chose to have two 10 motif necklaces linked together – that way I can wear just one of the 10 motifs sometimes just like a pearl strand.

  • New Petite
    September 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Love the dress on you and it fits so well! The food pics are so appetizing! Im hungry now. Love your travel posts!

  • New Petite
    September 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Love the dress on you and it fits so well! The food pics are so appetizing! Im hungry now. Love your travel posts!

  • dzung
    September 14, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    ooh! healdsburg is so nice! my company did the breezehouse there this year and i had the chance to tour it with the team after the project was completed. i also got to explore the town a bit too; it’s so quaint and definitely a nice break away from the hustle and bustle of the silicon valley. the note from the hotel was super sweet and your dress is lovely. it’s classic and sophisticated. you can’t go ever wrong with lace!!

  • Ammu
    September 14, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    First, you look lovely and elegant!
    Second, I want to go on holiday with you – this sounds like an excellent way to spend a weekend 🙂 Reading your posts reminded me of how much I miss doing afternoon tea, and it’s inspired to make it part of my Delhi routine xx

  • Anouka
    September 15, 2012 at 4:48 am

    The perfect trip: fabulous hotel, beautiful sights and most of all, your stunning outfit! Love it.

    LUXESSED

  • jenny
    September 15, 2012 at 6:25 am

    I don’t love this hotel- sorry but the decor really didn’t do it. The other hotel looked like a trailer park but it was $$$. I know someone said it before but the dress is too small. It’s bulging at sides. I have seen it look great on tall, thin waifs with narrow shoulders and legs.

  • Jess
    September 15, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I think the dress looks amazing and perfectly fitted on you and the hotel looks very elegant! I just looked up the Cyprus menu and the food looks like it tastes phenomenal! If only they would stay open until after I graduated and got a job. I’m sure there will be others!

    • Katherine
      September 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm

      Aww thanks Jess! I think Cyrus is going to be relocating to around Sonoma later on so you can probably try later, in their new location 🙂

  • Henry Allen
    September 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Well speaking as a man (with respects to Jenny), I’d be envious of any man walking into a restaurant with a woman who can wear that dress; you wear it well, Katherine. As someone in the wine biz, please discover the wines of Healdsburg or Atlas Peak or Spring Mountain. These are truly world class wines, often overlooked, often on the clearance rack (along with grower champagnes- don’t even get me started on grower champagnes). You can taste pure heaven (and fine Bordeaux btw) for $50 or less. Beautiful hotel too. And, BTW as a southerner, I’m accustomed to fried wonderfuls in plastic baskets arriving at table: calabash shrimp, fried flounder, fried oysters……

    • Katherine
      September 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I just read this article which was really fascinating: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443991704577579233513771486.html

      Which makes me think that Healdsburg wines might fall into that category too. I need to try one next time. Actually at Cyrus this time we thought we had ordered a bottle for around $110 or so which was in their lower range – unfortunately by that time we’d had a few cocktails and my husband had mismatched the wine we ordered with the price! It was a lot more than what we thought. When the final bill came we were in for quite a surprise but it’s a lesson we will not repeat!

  • latkesanddimsum
    September 15, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    What a lovely getaway! You are lucky to be within driving distance of all these great places. 🙂

  • Karen
    September 16, 2012 at 12:28 am

    The food looks amazing! Love your LBD outfit too! I have been to Healdsburg before but need to check out Cyrus and Wurst next time! =)

  • chocolatecookiesandcandies
    September 17, 2012 at 6:49 am

    I just love your romantic weekend getaways. It’s something hubby and I don’t do often enough, if ever! I couldn’t help but laugh at the description of your husband’s sweet tooth. I’ll keep that in mind when you two visit London 🙂

  • Joanna
    September 17, 2012 at 8:09 am

    You look absolutely beautiful in your outfit! What an amazing restaurant. I would’ve done the same and crammed my box to the max!

  • Youa
    September 21, 2012 at 12:05 am

    i love the hand written note! i don’t think i’ve ever gotten one at any of the places i’ve stayed at so far…
    i was just in San Fran this summer. i wish we could have explored places like this. thanks for sharing!