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ROMANTIC VALENTINE'S DAY AT FARMHOUSE INN, SONOMA WINE COUNTRY

  
  
  

SONOMA WINE COUNTRY AND FARMHOUSE INN: IN THE NEWS (AGAIN)

  
  
  
best of Sonoma Wine country

 

We've been seeing Sonoma Wine Country featured in both the local and national press quite often lately.  Whether discussing wine destination regions, reviewing up and coming winemakers or focusing on sustainability practices, recent press mentioning Sonoma has inspired us to do a roundup just in case you missed something.

 

A SNEAK PEAK FROM FARMHOUSE INN SERVER/WRITER ROB LOUGHRAN

  
  
  
Rob Loughran, Author


Farmhouse Inn Fiction
or Meat is Always on Our Menu 

   by   

Rob Loughran

      There’s a New Yorker cartoon where a bejeweled lady-about-town is on her cellphone in an upscale restaurant. The caption is, “You’ve got to get down here, Marge. The waiter is really a waiter.”

   
      It is a time-honored cliché that all waiters have day jobs. This is true at the Farmhouse Inn also. Your Farmhouse Restaurant server tonight, during the day, was either a winemaker (Sonoma Wine Country is full of them), a veterinarian’s assistant (our resident healer), a master gardener(few of those on staff too) , or even a published writer. 

                                   
                       
                  I'm the writer.

    Time-honored clichés also abound in the writing game, most prominently: Write what you know and, after working here for the last six years, I know the Farmhouse.  So, of course the restaurant—barely disguised as The Green Frog Cafe—has appeared in my last two novels.

                                                                                                                                                                   
From Tantric Zoo:

      Seven miles west of Santa Rosa, CA and two miles from the town of Forestville the Green Frog Café looked like a fresh-baked yellow-and-white layer cake someone had placed carefully in the middle of a redwood forest. “What an odd location,” thought Bud, “for a restaurant. No foot traffic. No discernible parking.” He maneuvered his car between two redwood trees and crunched through the leaf-litter to the front steps of the farmhouse-turned-restaurant. The white-trimmed, egg-yolk colored front door had a sign written in calligraphy:


     The Green Frog Café
     Vegetarian Cuisine
     HOURS 6:30 – 8:30 Weds – Sun
    
Reservations Required
All Misbehaved Children Will Be Given
a Double Espresso and a Puppy

  
      Bud smiled and knocked.

      No answer.

      He walked around the old, but adoringly maintained two-story farmhouse. A pea-gravel path led around the building through beds of veggies and herbs. Staked tomatoes looked wiry and wilted but held bright late season fruit: red, orange, yellow. Basil and rosemary; oregano and Italian parsley grew profusely, almost wild. Plants Bud didn’t recognize grew in raised beds and hung from baskets and window boxes. Bud weaved through the patchwork garden to the back of the restaurant and a concrete slab with multicolored recycling bins. He walked up three steps and knocked on a screendoor, “Hello?”

   
      No answer.

      Bud opened the door and heard muted country music and the “snick snick” of someone chopping on a cutting board. He walked past a dishwashing station and marveled at how immaculate and orderly the dishracks, glasses, and plates were stacked. He entered an impossibly small kitchen and saw that the “snick snick” came from a woman chopping zucchini. Years in a kitchen had taught Bud never to approach anyone with a knife from behind so he walked through the kitchen and waved his right hand to get her attention. She finished dissecting the zucchini and said, “Yes?”

 
      She wore faded blue jeans and dayglo green Adidas running shoes; a white tanktop and a black apron with red and green apple cores. Short, thick reddish-brown hair framed her face.

     “Delivery?” she asked.

     “Comically laconic, whenever possible,” said Bud.

            ________________________________


     The Farmhouse’s interior gets a bit more action in this year’s release Beautiful Lies

    “You’ll love this place,” said Darren.

    “But it’s a vegetarian joint,” said Colin.

    “It’s cool, we had our protein shakes. It’s time for some phyto-nutrients and roughage.” Darren bounded up the front steps of the aged yellow and white farmhouse-turned-restaurant. “Read that sign. It’s hilarious.”

    Colin leaned over and read, in halting English, “The Green Frog Café. Vegetarian Cuisine. Reservations required. All misbehaved children will be given a double espresso and a puppy. That’s funny shit, dude.”

    “The food is so freaking good.”

    “Let’s eat.”

    The boys devoured two salads each—one egg and escarole, the other pear and endive—then had two French onion soups, and two entrées each: polenta lasagna with roasted vegetables and a mushroom cassoulet for Colin; eggplant parmigiana and a spinach and cheese omelet for Darren. Both sipped iced green tea and were quiet, almost shyly reserved, throughout the leisurely and tasty lunch. Darren paid with his American Express card and scribbled in a twenty percent tip. Colin tucked two five-dollar bills beneath the signed charge receipt and said, “I’m sure you left her enough. I always tip extra big. Professional courtesy, you know.”

    Not in the least offended, Darren nodded.

    They were the last to leave the dining room which had been almost filled to capacity. The waitress—her flowered nametag read: Hilary—a nubile, fresh faced, local girl, approached the table and picked up the charge receipt. She pocketed the two fives before she noticed the other tip included in the American Express’ total. She nodded and smiled, then reiterated the question in English that the tractor driving cousin Ramon had articulated in Spanish, “I wonder if they’re gay?”

                _______________________________

   
Fiction is, at least by me, either made up or stolen. I stole the sign about puppies and espresso—I’ve seen it various places—and The Farmhouse restaurant will be strictly vegetarian only over Farmhouse chef, Steve Litke’s cold dead body (copy of meat centric menu here). And, ironically that’s how my next murder mystery begins: With a cold dead body....But not Steve’s, I need my night job.  


      ________________________________ 

Tantric Zoo ( a Bud Warhol Mystery) at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Tantric-Zoo-Warhol-Mystery-Mysteries/dp/1482611120/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373681047&sr=1-4 

 



























TINY WEDDINGS AT FARMHOUSE INN...OUR TAKE ON ROMANCE!

  
  
  
Meghan, Wedding and romance Concierge

  
A very special message from our romance specialist at Farmhouse Inn
Meghan Smith,
our elopement and wedding coordinator
 (and concierge extraordinaire).






Despite the trend of grandiose, Martha Stewart-esque weddings that have persisted for the last 10 years, here at Farmhouse Inn we have given all that up and prefer to offer couples a more intimate option.  We think romance is personal, and with each of our "tiny weddings" we see that theory proved time and time again.  The story each couple has is what makes each Elopement special.  Whether it is a late-in-life love, an instant connection or a long friendship that grew over time, each story is unique.

It is my job/pleasure to help couples plan their elopement to the wine country here at Farmhouse Inn.  While the package was created to be simple and straightforward it doesn’t lack the special details and each couple puts their own spin on it.  From our cakes made by Patisserie Angelica, to the bouquets from local florist Atrellis, each detail is important and unique.  The elopement package covers all the basics and a few extra details but I have yet to host a couple who has been “typical”.  The package provides couples with what they need to get married, but each story is so different that every wine country elopement at Farmhouse is special and unique.  We tell couples all they need is the ring and a dress and we take care of the rest.  But every bride and groom have added their own special touches that have created a memory for us here at Farmhouse too...

 

My very first Farmhouse elopement was with Marcia Ann and Randy last November.  The couple was from Texas and each already had grown children with families of their own.  They found each other later in life and after a whirlwind romance of only 2 months, Randy whisked Marcia Ann to Farmhouse Inn for a tiny wedding all their own. (You know, he originally thought he would just bring her and surprise her once they got to Farmhouse but we had to tell him it might not be good...she would need a dress and things to make their day truly special.  Romantic- yes!  Wise- maybe not?!) Their ceremony was the first that has ever had me sniffling and I had only met them 2 days before.  We all fell a little bit in love with the both of them and look forward to seeing them in November when they come back to celebrate their anniversary.

While Marcia Ann and Randy made us cry, we have couples that make us laugh too.  Most recently we had the pleasure of meeting Teena and Wayne.  Both from Las Vegas, we found it a little ironic that they were eloping but chose to do so in the romantic Wine Country instead of their hometown.  Teena and Wayne had photographer Kate Nagel come out to do their photos and she captured some amazing moments.  Our favorites though are of Teena and Wayne jumping into the pool.  Yes, you read that correctly.  We refer to "tying the knot" and "taking the plunge"...they definitely took the plunge-literally!  Teena went for it in her dress and full hair and makeup and Wayne took off his shoes and jacket before making a splash.  The fun they had (they also did the classic cake-in-the-face moment) made everyone’s week and anytime we need to lighten up we just look at these photos.

Randy and Marcia Ann have a story that struck a chord with all of us who had the pleasure of working with them, as all of our couples do.  We continue to get a thrill with each new wedding we host and every time someone proposes in the restaurant and when we check in the couples celebrating anniversaries. 


 

These occasions are so personal and it is our good fortune to be a part of these moments. 
While we don’t disagree with the classic icons of romance (just ask us and we’ll gladly put a bottle of champagne with some truffles in your room),
we understand that there is no one-size fits-all version of romance.










Chocolate bonbons, a chilled bottle of champagne and a Sandra Bullock chick flick. Sounds exactly like a romantic evening to me. These icons of romance endure because we love them. And while the word “elope” often brings to mind a Las Vegas ceremony with an Elvis minister, at Farmhouse we want you to think of something else. The classic icons evoked when you hear the word “romance” (Miss Bullock and bonbons) should be the same things that pop to mind when you hear the word “elope” (sorry Elvis). Add to those images a romantic dinner for two in the Farmhouse restaurant, a couples massage and a very personal ceremony and you’ll come close to what an elopement at Farmhouse Inn means. 

                                             Ahhh...Romance!

Crab Feed Strategy in Sonoma Wine Country...add some Sparkling!

  
  
  
Preparing boatloads of dungeness Crab

Now it feels like winter...It finally started raining, football weekends, and crab feeds everywhere!

One of my favorite foods is plentiful this time of year and crabfeeds are one of the favorite fundraisers for so many of the the nonprofits in Sonoma County.  You think the wine country is just about the wine...this time of year we are crabaholics!  Some weekends there are even several all-you-can-eat feeds to choose from.  Dungeness crab is one of the sweetest, most succulent seasonal prizes from the Northern California coastal area.  Everyone seems to have their own little secrets...for crab maximization!

Wine country reviews...Farmhouse food and wine!

  
  
  
Farmhouse Frutti di Mare

This has been a crazy week...first we had a big lifestyle article about Catherine & Joe (the brother and sister team that own the Farmhouse Inn) come out in Better Homes and Gardens ("Innkeepers Recreate Their Wine Country Childhood" -page 50).  And then on Sunday Jeff Cox of the local Press Democrat reviewed the Farmhouse restaurant  (called it an "exquisite experience").  Monday night Catherine and Joe went with the chefs to the Zagat release party and out dinner to celebrate the Zagat reviews (27 for food and tops for service- Yeah!).  And yesterday Joe came in waving the new Sunset magazine issue with the Best of the West hotel awards and there we are...again!  (Specifically mentioned for best for Food & Drink.)

Endless Summer in Sonoma County

  
  
  
Benziger Endless Sonoma Summer

I have seen so many headlines lately referring to the end of summer...We are not ready for that here in Sonoma wine country...grape harvest is just getting started, the tomatoes are just ripening, saw our first apples and pears come in recently.  No "Last Sips of Summer", "Summer Winding Down", "Back to Reality" or any of that stuff for us here at Farmhouse Inn. The Farmer's Markets are still crazy with good stuff - abundance and bounty everywhere. The Farmstands are overflowing... still time for a canoe ride down the Russian River and...my creek still is flowing strong (It is usually dry by summer's end). Our weather in California stays great all through October.

Cheese, seeds, and whales...loving life in Sonoma County

  
  
  
Cheesemaking in Sonoma County

Our guests here at the Farmhouse sometimes think Sonoma County is only about the wine - especially after a crazy weekend of Barrel Tasting along the wineroad.  This next weekend is the second of the scheduled Barrel Tasting weekends and we shall report further on that later...there are sure to be some highlights reported by our guests.

Wine Country Celebrates the Holidays- Memories created by Farmhouse

  
  
  
Christmas squirrels and acorns at Farmhouse Inn

    We like celebrating as much as you do. And luckily, this time of year there's a lot to celebrate. Christmas and New Year's are obvious choices. But, the whole holiday season is a spectacular time for a romantic get away to Sonoma wine country!  And, we'd love to make merry with you -   
so, here's a list of merry times to be had at the Farmhouse.    We hope to see you here.
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