SONOMA – CALIFORNIA

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The Tin Man and his quest for wine has lead him to Sonoma…..Sonoma is considered the birthplace of wine-making in California, dating back to the original vineyards of Mission San Francisco Solano  about that in a later  then improvements made by Agoston Haraszthy, the father of California viticulture and credited with introduction of the Zinfandel/Primitivo grape varietal.

The Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival takes place late each September, and is California’s oldest celebration of its winemaking heritage…

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The drive into Sonoma takes one past a most beautiful sculpture of a man working a wine press, it is quite lovely against the horizon….

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Every hill is covered by vineyards and prestigious winemakers….

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The Tin Man resists the urge to stop and begin tasting wine, as his destination is the historical town square of Sonoma…

El Pueblo de Sonoma was laid out in the standard form of a Mexican town, centered around the largest plaza in California, 8 acres in size. This plaza is surrounded by many historical buildings, including the Mission San Francisco Solano, Captain Salvador Vallejo‘s Casa Grande, the Presidio of Sonoma, the Blue Wing Inn, the Sebastiani Theatre, and the Toscano Hotel.

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In the middle of the plaza, Sonoma’s early 20th-century city hall, at the plaza’s center and still in use, was designed and built with four identical sides in order not to offend the merchants on any one side of the plaza.

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The plaza is a National Historic Landmark and still serves as the town’s focal point, hosting many community festivals and drawing tourists all year round.

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Throughout the area surrounding the Plaza are so many beautiful sights…

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There are approximately thirty restaurants in the plaza area, including Italian, Irish, Mexican, Portuguese, Basque, Mediterranean, Himalayan, and French. It provides a central tourist attraction. It is also the location of the Farmer’s Market, held every Tuesday evening from April to October.  Well you know The Tin Man…..off to find an interesting restaurant………well tucked in the back of an alley off the main plaza, we found a delight…

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The moment we saw the sign we had to find a table.  The Tin Man so loved the food in Lisboa

Here is a pic of the clams from Lisboa, Portugal…

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Well don’t you know Tin Man was expecting no less from La Salette….

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The lovely Portuguese Bread….a little sweet ……of so delightful….

Then the starters……….of for the love of Hestia…..what delights….

Honey Roasted Almonds, Cow’s Cheese with Apricot Jam, Escarcot, Pork Trotter Terrine (yes…..Pig’s Feet) and lovely dark bread…

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Then the Clams………wow what a presentation…..

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Beautiful and Delightful……but alas, missing the olives…..perhaps too much for the American pallet…

oh yes….the Paella……….yummy..

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It was a most marvelous visit to the Plaza of Sonoma, hope you enjoyed coming along….

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12 responses »

  1. The Tin Man has been Road Tripping! Fun! Oh, Monsieur. As always, your photographs are pretty darn spiffy. I especially love the shot of the “Wind Press” sculpture. I wonder who created the piece. You really captured it. Dreamy! Did you sample the wine? Ah, and what a great quote: “It’s the essence of civilization and the art of living.” Thanks for the historical tidbits. A city hall with four identical facades?! Now, that’s thinking!
    ~Theadora

    • Well Theadora, first of all thank you for being so tactful in pointing out my typo in the post…..yes, it should be wine press. Geno Miles is the creator of this copper statue which stands 16 feet,(6′ statue, 10′ base covered in river rock) which he built as a tribute to all of the vineyard workers. Yes, the quote is quite lovely, I had the privilege of spending the day with Robert Mondavi (Jr) and having dinner with him in his private cellar, what a great person he is. A true wine maker is an artist in their own right and never see their status, but only live for the passion of the wines they make.

      • Oh, dear! I also penned the typo. WordPress. Wind press. Wine press! (Thanks for the information about the artist. Again, your photo is a beauty. A dinner in a cellar? I’m green with envy!)

  2. Gorgeous glorious gad-abouting Tin Man! One is pea-green with envy remembering our first visit to this area almost forty years ago. Then it was calm, self-effacing quietly going about the business of growing grapes and making wine. You bought groceries at a super market – and there were just a few wineries offering wine tours. I loved it beyond belief. So much so I wanted to move there and open a restaurant. How wonderful to pour over your photographs and visit this place of dreams.

    • My darling Virginia……..we do follow the same path in life, do we not? The wonderful thing about downtown Sonoma is that it has maintained the small town charm. Kind, Graceful, Caring Folk inhabit the area and everyone feels like a friend. Take solace in that fact, my darling. The prices of real estate are now ridiculous, of course. There are those winemakers who still consider what they do an art and still go out and work the vineyards despite their fame and glory.

      • It is more than wonderful that we follow the Yellow Brick Road, but certainly not surprising. The connection with the four of us was instantaneous. Lar said the day we met he spotted Augustine first and knew instantly we were meeting kindred souls and were going to be close friends forever. Is that not the icing on the hummingbird cake?

  3. Oh, yes, I enjoyed coming along with you very much! I have driven through but did not have the time to stop so I appreciated your tour of the downtown area. Outstanding photos! You do always find the best restaurants as if they are waiting for you! And you always have a history lesson for us. Oh, I am ready for a glass of Mondavi wine after reading this. Cheers! Wonderful post!

    • Oh, yay………..so happy you enjoyed the visit. I will be doing a post on the mission that is also on the town plaza, so you will get to see a bit more. Wasn’t the restaurant delightful! I did so enjoy it; however, found the full majestic flavors of Portugal were lacking and I do believe it is because the recipes are adapted to the American palate.

  4. Pingback: Mission San Francisco Solano – Sonoma, California | Tales and Travels of the Tinman

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