Cupid arrives in Sonoma County on Tuesday, Feb. 14, and restaurants and tasting rooms around the county are ready to make you a romance hero(ine). We’ve picked some of the best from the nearly 50 menus sent to us this year based what we think will be the yummiest experiences for you and your honey bun. Note that some of these events may sell out, and you should call for reservations no matter where you plan to go.
Pre Valentine’s Day
Wine and Chocolate Pairing at K-J: Chocolate truffles infused with strawberries and cream, rosemary and lavender paired with rose, cabernet and dessert wines make for a decadent experience throughout the weekend. Wander through the gardens hand-in-hand afterward. Reservations recommended, especially on weekends. 5007 Fulton Road, Santa Rosa, kj.com or 707-576-3810 for details.
Wine and Cookie Pairing at Three Sticks: You need to check out this luxe Sonoma tasting room anyway, so why not bring your love for a pairing of valentine inspired cookies from Cookie, Take a Bite! and Three Sticks Wine. Reservations required, Feb. 10-14, $50 per person. Call for details 707-996-3328 x 105. 142 West Spain, Sonoma.
“Haters vs. Daters” Tasting Flights at La Crema Tasting Lounge: On Feb. 11, pick from two special flights created especially for Valentine “haters” or Cupid-loving “daters” paired with food bites and wine in their Healdsburg tasting room. $15 pp, 10:30a.m. to 5p.m., 235 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg.
Patisserie Angelica’s Cardinal Sin Heart: We love this adorable Sebastopol bakery both for their stellar cakes and chocolates as well as their dedication to using local, organic ingredients. Best bet: Flourless chocolate cake with butter ganache and raspberry dark chocolate truffle hearts. Pair with their signature “Better Than Sex” chocolate fudge sauce. Limited quantities, so pre-order because they’ll be closed on Valentine’s Day. 6821 Laguna Park Way, Sebastopol, 707-827-7998, pastisserieangelica.com.
Tuesday, Feb. 14
Nick’s Cove Valentine Dinner: Head to the coast for a prix fixe dinner that includes raw, baked, braised and bbq’d oysters; lobster risotto, crab cakes or braised short ribs. Plus banana bread pudding for dessert, and if you’re staying the night, grab a personalized S’mores kit and head out to the boat shack (or if it’s a nice night, the beach) fire pit. $75pp, 23240 CA-1, Marshall,415-663-1033, nickscove.com.
Mateo’s Cocina Latina: Five course prix fixe includes poached oysters with lemon butter, asparagus with preserved Meyer lemons, Dungeness crab with black chanterelles, roasted chicken with leeks and wild mushrooms, steak with olive oil mashed potatoes, dessert of crispy milk, burned milk and milk bubbles. $190 for two includes wine pairings, $145 for two without wine. 5-9p.m. Feb, 14 and 15, 214 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 433-1520, mateoscocinalatina.com.
Zazu Restaurant + Farm: Three or four course dinner includes choice of Hog Island oysters, potted pig and foie gras with cherry conserve, Preston lamb polpette, Stemple Creek beef tartare; red wine short rib, pork belly with Rancho Gordo beans, cream puffs and more. $79 for three courses, $89 for four. 6770 McKinley St #150, Sebastopol, 707-523-4814, zazukitchen.com.
Valette: Five course tasting menu includes chilled Marin oyster with rose sorbet and Tahitian vanilla, Perigord truffle risotto and shaved black truffles, Maine lobster and caviar, butter roasted filet mignon, caramel and chocolate pave with passion fruit yumberry powder, $85pp, additional $55 for wine pairing. 344 Center Street, Healdsburg 707-473-0946, valettehealdsburg.com.
Dry Creek Kitchen: Six course menu includes pheasant and foie gras terrine, Diver scallop crudo with lobster and uni; charred octopus with carrots, raviolini and black truffle, caramelized petrale sole, short rib and foie gras ravioli; braised Maine lobster, Liberty Farm duck breast, white chocolate mousse with passion fruit gelee. 5-9:30p.m., $105pp, 317 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707-431-0330, drycreekkitchen.com
Spoonbar: Five course menu includes asparagus salad with oil poached golden egg; squid in tagliarini with butter poached lobster, roasted quail, filet mignon with mushroom cream, warm chocolate cake. $95pp, 219 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, 707- 433-7222, spoonbar.com.
Sante at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn: Four and seven course dinners in one of the Sonoma Valley’s most romantic dining spots. Prix fixe dinner includes lobster bisque, butternut squash ravioli with brown butter, pan seared diver scallops with pear pasta, mussels, clams and piquillo peppers, seared fillet of Niman Ranch beef, filet of wild sea bass, chardonnay poached pear and almond tart, Valrhona chocolate soufflé for two. Four course is $115 pp; seven course is $165 pp, wine pairings available. Reservations recommended. 100 Boyes Blvd., Sonoma, 707-939-2415, santedinningroom.com.
John Ash & Co.: Three course prix fixe includes “passion-inspired dishes” Hog Island Oysters, purple cauliflower soup with lobster, Dungeness crab fritters, beef filet tartare, pork tenderloin with spicy rose jam, seared ahi tuna grilled filet of beef, honey pecan rack of lamb, raspberryPavlova with coconut sorbet. $69pp, reservations recommended. Vintner’s Inn, 4330 Barnes Road, Santa Rosa, 707-527-7687, vintnersinn.com.
Post Valentine Dining
Tasting in the Dark at Hopmonk: This beer event gives a whole new meaning to tasting “blind” as sensory expert Dr. Hoby Wedler leads tasters through a unique sensory experience. Born blind, Wedler has spent years learning to use senses other than sight to experience food. Guests are blindfolded throughout the experience, led through the aromas and flavors of beer and food pairing without the visual cues that might otherwise sway perception. Vintage Oaks At Novato, 224 Vintage Way, Novato, 415-892-6200, hopmonk.com.
Feb. 17 and 18
Walter Hansel Wine Bistro: Cupid comes later to this French bistro. Regular menu plus pan-seared petrale sole, grilled beef tenderloin with peppercorn brandy sauce, duck fat potato galette, black trumpet mushrooms. 3535, Guerneville Rd, Santa Rosa, 707-546-6462, walterhanselbistro.com.