Wine Country: The Rest of the Best

I'm back on East Coast time now, but here's a look at a few other highlights of the Metrocurean Western tour:

This Spanish tapas joint in Napa was the perfect spot to hit the night before our French Laundry blowout. Dishes of white anchovies, sizzling prawns, serrano ham and roasted brussels sprouts, a few glasses of local wine and seats at the bar made for a light, no-fuss dinner.

The Girl and the Fig
We hit this popular restaurant just off Sonoma's town square for our post-French Laundry dinner (that would be the next day, not the same night). Intentions of eating light went out the window (why slow down now?) with a heaping bowl of steamed mussels with garlic, Herbsaint and leeks, a pile of crispy thin fries and a flat iron steak. The back patio is adorable, with flowering vines, glowing lights and heat lamps to chase away the evening chill.

We grabbed a boxed lunch at Bovolo, located in the Plaza Farms market in the charming town of Healdsburg. Offerings included antipasto plates, pizzas, sandwiches and picnic-friendly half bottles of wine from numerous local wineries.

Reverie Winery
Of all the sipping and swirling we did, this tiny winery located on the side of Diamond Mountain was my favorite, primarily for its laid-back vibe. We had a tasting in the cave and in a strikingly beautiful grove of redwoods. The cabernets, both franc and sauvignon, were excellent.

The Red Grape
What do you eat after a week of overindulging on wine and fancy foods? Beer and pizza, of course! This casual Sonoma spot served up nice New Haven-style pies. Add an Anchor Steam or three, and you have a nice antidote to one too many "big, bold" reds.