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!
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.
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.
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!