Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Holidays (And Guests) Are Upon Us So If You're Coming To Sonoma, Check This Out!



   I live in a tourist town. I suppose I always have in one form or another. I grew up in San Francisco (where I was the little kid sticking my tongue out at tourists at the Powell and Market cable car turnaround) definitely a tourist town. I've lived for years in Santa Monica which I never thought of as a tourist town... though there are a lot of vacationers there, and now we're in Sonoma, aka Wine Country California... which hosts visitors from all over the world who come here to sip and savor the wine, gourmet food, and the rural atmosphere.

   I'm always asked by friends where do we go, what do we see when we visit Sonoma County? One way to check out local events anywhere you are is to use Eventbrite to look up and purchase tickets on line for all sorts of local happenings. I've used them myself to buy tickets to events going on here in Sonoma... and also just to find out what's happening locally. So now I've changed from the kid sticking her tongue out at tourists, and I'm willing to share my town.

   Over the years I've given a lot of recommendations on places to eat drink and be merry here in Sonoma during all sorts of  holidays, and Summer vacations. Christmas time is magical here in Sonoma. The plaza glows with lights.


 The whole town shines.


There are events at The Mission with docents in costume...


...and of course caroling inside.


During the Winter holiday season we get a LOT of visitors to our town, and I'm frequently asked about where to go and what to see. I always talk about my favorites and now I have a new favorite to add, CocoaPlanet Tasting Room and Modern French Cafe.


 If you read this blog with any regularity, I've written about working with the CocoaPlanet people Anne and Jeff McKibben on their gluten free Modern French menu. They've finished constructing their chocolate factory where all the delicious CocoaPlanet is made, and now they've added their tasting room along with a Modern French Cafe. Here's part of the restaurant and tasting bar...


A great place to curl up in front of the fire with a mug of hot cocoa...


...and of course the garden, made for outside dining and relaxing near the fire pit.


CocoaPlanet opened about a month ago, just in time for holiday entertaining, and they're serving all sorts of tasty stuff there, from Cassoulet to Crepes. All of the food and chocolate is certified gluten free since Anne and her family are gluten intolerant.

   This is a real neighborhood place, locally owned and operated. Anne and her family live just a few blocks from us and I can easily ride my bike to CocoaPlanet, a good idea when one is enjoying such tasty chocolate. I've been working with her organic, free trade, vegan and gluten free chocolate for several years now in my cooking and I love it. One reason is it's also naturally low in sugar thanks to their patented Pearls of Flavor process. When Anne asked me last year to sign on and help develop gluten free savories and desserts for the new Tasting Room I was in!       

   Even though I'm not gluten intolerant many of our friends are, and over the years I've developed a number of flour blends that work for anything from cakes to breads. With what they're serving up at CocoaPlanet, you'll never miss the gluten, in fact you won't even notice it's not there. The menu is locally sourced and changes seasonally and includes Pizza Provencal...


...garden tomato soup  with gluten free cheese gougeres...


...Little Gem Lettuce Salad with Cypress Grove goat cheese, sunflower seeds and tangerine...


...Croque Monseiur on delicious gluten free bread from a local bakery...


...Croque Madame...


...Carrot Potato Soup...


All the desserts are totally gluten free and made by our talented pastry chefs in-house. Apple Walnut Tart with Fig Glaze...


..."Edible Dirt" with a Chocolate Pots de Creme...


...Pear Almond Tart...


...Pear Almond Cake...


...Fig Gallete...


...Dark Chocolate Bouchons...


...and Brownies.


These are just some of the things you might find on the menu.

   So if you have friends and family visiting Sonoma this Holiday Season, after you've checked out our Plaza, sung some carols, looked at all the lights, and vineyards, I'd suggest you drop by CocoaPlanet. Say "Hi! " to Anne and Jeff, enjoy a fine tea or espresso, sample some chocolate, eat a meal and take some chocolate home with you.

   It's been really thrilling to watch our friends build this place with love from the ground up  so that's my Holiday recommendation this year. Also, if you're planning an event or just want to find out what's going on locally around your town check out Eventbrite.

Coming up next, more Holiday treats and fast meals for company follow along on Twitter @kathygori

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin