Saturday, December 13, 2008


Set in the hills above Sonoma Valley, this top-rated restaurant and manor is one of the Bay Area's most romantic destinations. So when we heard about their famous Christmas Dickens Dinner, we just couldn’t pass up the chance for some good food and holiday cheer. Although the meal was simply wonderful, what made the night truly special were the carolers. Dressed in period costumes from the 19th century, the a capella group toured the gorgeously decorated rooms and delighted us with their holiday music. It was a night to remember.

Graham Beck Sparkling, Brut, Western Cape, South Africa

Although just a couple of bites, this rich starter made our mouths happy and set the stage for the rest of our meal. Luckily, the rest of the dinner lived up to the excitement that this dish created.

almonds, radicchio, estate oranges, green goddess dressing
2007 Everett Ridge Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley
Both of us ate every bite of this crab salad – we just couldn’t get enough of the sweet crab, crunchy almonds, creamy green goddess, and refreshing burst of citrus.

applewood smoked bacon, parsley
2007 Seghesio Barbera, Alexander Valley
One of the favorites of the night, we both couldn’t get over the exceptional silky texture and flavors of this soup. Between slurps, we pondered how we could possibly achieve the same results at home.

mashed potatoes, broccolini, red wine reduction
2005 Mill Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County
Although it doesn’t look like much, every component on this plate was brilliantly done. The beef wellington had a rich layer of chopped mushrooms between the tender beef and the flaky crust, which added depth of flavor. Even the broccolini was seasoned so well that both of us ate every bite. Any chef who can get us to finish our veggies is a talented one to say the least.

persimmons, walnut praline, brandy cream
2004 Alvear Pedro Ximenex, Montilla-Moriles

A pleasant surprise, this desert was incredible. Although a bit heavy after the rich beef, I still managed to eat every bite. Suni threw in the towel two thirds of the way through. There were so many different flavors and textures in this dessert that my mouth just kept wanting more.

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