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An early evening taste crawl through the delightful community of Healdsburg with Birgitt Vaughan, PR Director for Sonoma County Tourism to visit some great restaurants while perusing the many shops surrounding the historic Healdsburg Square was a great introduction to this charming Sonoma destination. 

Sonoma Wine Country

Sonoma Wine Country

Our first stop on the taste crawl was MATEO’S Cocina Latina at 214 Healdsburg Avenue. This is a venue with simply wonderful unique cocktails, entrees and appetizers. Matteo’s is definitely one place not to miss in Healdsburg. The outdoor back patio is perfect for a fun loving crowd to sample delicious items like Ahi tuna ice cream cones or beet salad with a variety of creative cocktails! 707-433-1520.

Tuna Tartar Cones at Mateo's Cocina Latina

Tuna Tartar Cones at Mateo’s Cocina Latina

CHALKBOARD Healdsburg has a great bar entrance that leads to the dining room with an open kitchen and a delightful outdoor patio. They a fantastic collection of unique plates and wines for an evening to remember. Their Red Car Pinot was a great match with yummy sliders and a variety of appetizers. Their open kitchen and great staff make this a warm and cozy place to experience a very creative menu. www.chalkboard.com.

Chalkboard Staff

Chalkboard Staff

BRAVAS, 420 Center Street, offers delightful and uniqueTapas dishes, and their wine menu is filled with local favorites. The inner dining room of this converted home is charming and the outdoor back patio is a beehive of activity in the evening. The staff were very helpful in explaining the ingredients for specific dishes. Visit: www.Bravas.com.

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Luncheon Tasting at Paul Hobbs Winery

A tasting luncheon at PAUL HOBBS Winery proved to be a delightful gourmet surprise. This is one beautiful winery with state-of-the-art wine making equipment, an amazing chef, and a beautiful tasting facility to pair their wonderful wine with outstanding cuisine. Our host Christopher O’Gorman, Marketing & Public Relations Manager gave us the full tour and shared information on the wines he selected to pair with chefs outstanding plates. The lunch pairing was perfect, and the chef provided some amazing plates to enjoy with Hobbs wines. According to Paul Hobbs, “the wines we are currently producing are the result of years of perseverance, patience and experimentation in our continuing adventure with wine.” Forbes Magazine considers Paul Hobbs the Steve jobs of wine. Visit www.PaulHobbsWinery.com.

New VALETTE Restaurant, Chef Dustin Valette

New VALETTE Restaurant, Chef Dustin Valette

Best dining in Healdsburg is VALETTE, 344 Center Street, which is truly a home for gourmands. Justin Valette was the former executive chef at Dry Creek Kitchen, a Charlie Palmer Group venue, where we enjoyed a brilliant dining experience that included treats like scallop en croute with leeks, fennel and caviar Pernod beurre blank, paired with Jordan Chardonnay 2012. His newly opened Valette Restaurant has gotten raves from the real food and wine experts, and that comes as no surprise to me. He is truly an outstanding chef, and this place is culinary heaven for those who know ‘what’s up’ in gastronomique. Valette brings back memories of beginnings of the French Laundry in terms of original and creative plates paired with amazing wines. Visit www.valettehealdsburg.com.

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For information contact www.sonomacounty.com..

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About Bonnie Carroll

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Bonnie Carroll has been a food/travel/lifestyle writer since 1983. She is the founder & publisher of Bonnie Carroll’s Life Bites News, and does travel and food reporting on local radio/TV, she also contributes to a variety of national and international travel/lifestyle publications, and is a member of IFWTWA and NATJA. Contact her at writebc@aol.com.