What’s New in Healdsburg Wine, Food and Travel in 2015
The town with the hottest culinary scene in California wine country continues to add new destinations for travelers to seek out each year. Here’s a list of Healdsburg’s latest food, wine and cocktail happenings.
Ralph’s Martini House closing
Ralph Tingle, who has owned and operated his eponymous Ralph’s Bistro on the Healdsburg square for 23 years, is closing his tiny, French-focused restaurant next month. It will be reopen in late July as a lounge/bar concept with snack foods named Ralph’s Martini House, according to Inside Scoop SF. Tingle has also acquired the old C.K. House Chinese Restaurant north of downtown Healdsburg as the home of his new casual eatery, Ralph’s Roadhouse, and by the looks of their new Facebook page, renovations are already underway.
Valette restaurant opens
Chef Dustin Valette, formerly of Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen, opened his first restaurant, Valette, in March. Dustin and his brother, Aaron, who handles the front-of-the-house business, purchased the former Zin space, which once occupied a bakery owned by their great-great grandfather. The Instagram-worthy dining room with overhead charcuterie locker (custom-made by their other brother to be airtight with set humidity) is reason enough to pay a visit. Dinner is served seven days a week, and the menu changes regularly based on ingredients sourced from local farms–and the chef’s creativity. We are already missing the crab-stuffed halibut offered during opening month. Lunch service began in May (the banh mi is a must) and is offered Friday, Saturday and Sunday only. Learn more on Valette’s website.
Single Thread Farms Restaurant & Inn coming soon
Chef Kyle Connaghton, known for his Michelin-star work at Fat Duck in England and Michel Bras in Japan, will open Single Thread Farms Restaurant & Inn in Healdsburg this November. Located across the street from Valette, Single Thread will combine a farm helmed by his farmer-wife Katina, a 55-seat tasting-menu restaurant and five inn suites. Learn more on Kyle’s website.
Farm to Fork Culinary Journey travel package debuts
Hotel Healdsburg has announced dates for its Farm to Fork Culinary Journey getaway package, featuring a two-night stay at the award-winning hotel, two tickets to the Jordan Estate Tour & Tasting (finalist for Best Vineyard Experience in the 2015 Sunset Travel Awards) and a farm-fresh dinner at Dry Creek Kitchen featuring ingredients from the Jordan garden. Offered from June through October, please visit the hotel’s website for pricing and availability. The hotel is also unveiling an exciting pool and spa deck renovation this summer.
Studio Barndiva evolves
After seven years of waiting, cocktail lovers can rejoice: Chic restaurant-cum-event center Barndiva has finally opened its neighboring storefront, Studio Barndiva, to the public. Art gallery by day and hipster bar by night, the eclectic space with a Speakeasy vibe serves addictive popcorn (on the house) and a limited, yet thoughtful à la carte menu (crispy pork belly, goat cheese croquettes and free-range chicken with snap peas and crème de morel are a few of the chef’s creations that debut this week). Situated in the back corner, the bar is adorned with beautiful, handmade frames that hold artisan spirits. It’s hard to believe that the airy, stylish space once housed a skating rink (see Barndiva’s blog for a fun read on the building’s evolution). The “gallery” bar began welcoming walk-in guests in March and serves up classic martinis, Old Fashioneds and other craft cocktails paired with funky soundtracks and film montages curated by Isabel Hales. Open Wednesday through Sunday only, excluding nights that it’s booked for private events. Learn more on their website.
Viking Dinners uncorked
On the last Sunday of every month, Healdsburg’s eclectic wine bar Bergamot Alley is hosting pop-up “viking” dinners in its cozy, yet cavernous brick-walled space. Owner Kevin Wardell selects a new guest chef for each event, which is limited to about 30 guests. Past menus have ranged from Japanese and Cuban to Cajun fare. Visit their website for upcoming dates and themes.
Noble Folk Ice Cream adds catering
A sanctuary for sweet tooths, Noble Folk Ice Cream & Pie Bar is in the final stretch of its Kickstarter campaign to build a traveling ice cream cart. The owners plan to use the cart to cater private events throughout wine country. For those interested in stopping by the Noble Folk storefront on the town square, make sure to keep track of time after dinner because the shop closes at 9 p.m. Indulge in a scoop of Corn Flake Crown Maple ice cream atop of slice of just about anything. View the latest menu on their website.