Barndiva – The Place to Dine in Healdsburg

Barndiva - Healdsburg RestaurantBarndiva is the place to dine in Healdsburg. Which is saying a lot about the restaurant. Healdsburg, located in Sonoma County, is known for its many outstanding restaurants. Barndiva’s restaurant, cocktail lounge, and wine bar are truly exceptional. Chef, Mark Hopper, uses fresh local ingredients to create scrumptious seasonally inspired dishes.

From the outside the appearance resembles a rustic barn. However, the inside is an elegant but comfortable ambiance. We decided to dine at this restaurant earlier in the day and could not get reservations. They serve meals as well as drinks at the bar so we snagged seats at the bar.

Barndiva is known for the gourmet field-to-table meals they serve. What we didn’t know was that they are also famous for their artisan drinks. It was fun watching the bartenders create a large variety of spectacular drinks. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy creative and refreshing cocktails, this is the place.

Reservations are definitely recommended. If the weather is nice, ask for a table outside on the back patio. It’s lovely dining under the oak trees. There’s also a small patio in front of the restaurant.

Fillet Mignon - Barndiva
I savored every last bite of the pan seared filet mignon. This was served with an amazing “Loaded” Baked Potato, topped with caramelized onion and bacon. Delicious blue lake green beans accompanied by a tomato vinaigrette finished off the dish.

Chicken - BarndivaMy wife ordered the Crispy Free Range roasted chicken. It was served with sautéed mushrooms and bacon ragout along with egg yolk ravioli. The chicken was cooked to perfection; crispy on the outside, nice and tender on the inside. In fact, the chicken was so tender it was falling off the bone. Everything was bursting with flavor.

Chocolate Dessert - Barndiva
Our meal concluded with a dessert was a chocolate cake topped with chocolate gelato and whipped cream. A delightful end to what was truly a spectacular meal.

Barndiva offers an extensive wine list and we found their prices to be reasonable. Our server was knowledgable about wines and recommended a fabulous bottle to go with our meal. She also suggested nearby wineries to visit the following day.

Next time we visit Healdsburg, Barndiva will be on our list of “Must Do” Restaurants!

Barndiva Contact Information

Address: 231 Center Street, Healdsburg, California 95448
Telephone: (707) 431-0100
Open Wednesday through Sunday.
Lunch: Noon – 2:30 PM
Dinner: Opens at 5:30 PM
Sunday Brunch: Opens at 11:00 AM

Directions Traveling North on Highway 101
1. At exit 503, take ramp right toward Central Healdsburg.
2. Keep straight onto Healdsburg Avenue.
3. Turn right onto Mill Street.
4. Turn left onto Center. Barndiva will be on your left.

Directions Traveling South on Highway 101
1. Exit at Westside Rd toward Guerneville.
2. Turn left onto Westside Road.
3. Turn left onto Center. Barn diva will be on your left.

Park in the parking lot or on the street. Barndiva is just a block or two south of the downtown Healdsburg Plaza.

If you have dined at Barndiva, please share your experience with us in the comment section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.

Healdsburg Guide

This guide to Healdsburg has all the info you need to explore the Healdsburg area. Learn about wineries, places to stay, where to eat, and things to do. Healdsburg is centrally located in the northern part of the Sonoma Wine Country.

Healdsburg Vineyards

Valentine Dinner Recipes – Have an Unforgettable Evening

valentine dinner recipesNot sure what to get him or her for Valentine’s Day? These valentine dinner recipes are perfect for celebrating in style.

Set the stage by . . .
* lighting candles
* chilling your favorite sparkling wine
* preparing a special meal for two

Set the mood for romance with these “Must Try” Valentine Dinner recipes: Oysters for Two, Strawberries Dipped in Chocolate, Filet Mignon for Two, and Decadent Creme Brulee.

Valentine Dinner Recipes for Two

Oysters for Two

oystersOysters have long been considered an aphrodisiac. It’s believed they are rich in amino acids that result in an increase in the levels of sex hormones.
24 unopened fresh oysters
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 clove garlic, minced
seasoned salt to taste
1/4 cup butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 of a (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
4 ounces fontina cheese, shredded
1/4 cup milk
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fine bread crumbs
To Drizzle Over the Top: 4 Tablespoons melted butter 4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions for this Valentine Dinners Recipe:
1. Clean oysters and place in a large pot. Add wine, clove of garlic, seasoned salt and peppercorns. Pour in enough water to cover the oysters. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, drain, and cool.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a pan. Simmer onion and garlic in the butter until they are soft and translucent. Stir in spinach, bacon, and the cheeses. Stir frequently until cheese melts. Add milk. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste.
3 Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
4. Remove the top shell from each oyster. Place oysters on a baking sheet.
5. Spoon mixture over each oyster, just filling the shell. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.
Bake until golden and bubbly, approximately 8 to 10 minutes.
6. While baking, melt 4 Tablespoons butter. Add 4 Tablespoons lemon juice. When oysters are done baking drizzle with this butter sauce and serve.

Filet Mignon for Two

Filet Mignon for TwoThis delicious sauce is sure to please.
1/3 cup half-and-half
2 6-8 oz. filet mignon
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon shallots, minced
1/3 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon brandy
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Italian parsley, chopped

1. Whisk half-and-half and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Season filets with salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of the butter to a skillet. Cook filets for approximately 5 minutes on each side. Set aside.
3. Add another tablespoon of butter to the skillet, mushrooms, and shallots. Simmer until softened. Add beef broth, brandy, and the half-and-half and cornstarch mixture. Simmer until thickened. Remove from heat and add mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
4. Top filets with sauce. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley. Serve with a favorite vegetable.

Strawberries Dipped in Chocolate

chocolate dipped strawberriesChocolate is often associated with love; making it a necessity for Valentine’s Day. Since chocolate contains serotonin, it creates a a sense of well-being; putting people into a “good” mood.

1 pound strawberries
6 ounces semisweet chocolate

1. Strawberries need to be at room temperature. Wash and dry strawberries. It is important that strawberries are totally dry.
2. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper.
3. Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave.
4. Hold onto stem of a strawberry. Dip strawberry into the melted chocolate. Swirl to coat all sides of the strawberry. Hold strawberry above melted chocolate. Swirl and shake to remove excess chocolate.
5. Lay strawberry on the waxed paper. Repeat with all of the strawberries. Keep at room temperature and serve within 8 hours.

Decadent Creme Brulee

Decadent Creme Brulee
1 pint heavy cream
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 cups water, approximately
4-8 teaspoons superfine sugar

1. Lightly simmer heavy cream in a saucepan for approximate 10 minutes. Stir often and do not let it boil.
2. In a large bowl mix egg yolks and granulated sugar, and whisk vigorously for 3 to 4 minutes until the mixture is fluffy.
3. Gradually pour a little of the cream into the eggs and whisk. Continue adding cream a little at a time until it’s all been combined.
4. Add vanilla bean and salt. Whisk again.
5. Spray four ramekins with cooking oil. Divide the mixture into the ramekins. Place ramekins inside a 9×13 pan.
6. Carefully pour hot water into the pan until it is 3/4 of an inch or so from the top of the ramekins. Be careful that water does not flow into the ramekins.
7. Bake at 300 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes until the the mixture is set. Remove from pan and cool.
8. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.
9. When ready to serve, pour 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar on the top of each ramekin. Use a torch to caramelize the sugar. This will take 2 to 3 minutes for the sugar to turn brown.

Tip for these Valentine Dinner Recipes: Do Steps 1-8 a day or two in advance so you don’t have lots of last minute preparation. Torch prior to serving for an elegant and decadent dessert. Top with berries if desired.

Click Here for more Valentine Dinner Recipes.

Have you dried any of these Valentine Dinner Recipes? If you have, please take a moment to comment below. We would love to hear from you.

Throw A Wine Tasting Party That Everyone is Talking About

throw a wine tasting partyHave fun. . . throw a wine tasting party! This step by step guide on how to plan a tasting will guarantee everyone has a fabulous time. You don’t need to be a wine expert. The idea is to relax with friends. Assign each person or couple to bring a bottle of wine. Have them cover the bottle with paper or foil for a blind tasting. Blind tastings add intrigue to the evening. Make the wine tasting a pot luck. Friends will be happy to provide an appetizer, entree, or dessert.

1. Select a theme.

Italian Wine Tasting
A theme will set the mood for conversation. The tasting could focus on sampling one particular varietal of wine such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio, or whatever you decide. If you sample wines from a specific region or country such as Italy or France, the appetizers can also be from that region. Since everyone is always searching for a great everyday wine, you might consider tasting wines under a certain price. There are great wines to be found under $20, $15, or whatever amount you choose.

wine bargain
An interesting take on this idea is to buy both bargain wines and more expensive wines. Guests can be challenged to guess which wines are the bargain and which are the more expensive. If your guests are familiar with wine, you could provide different varieties of wine and have them guess which wine is which. Descriptions of each varietal could be provided to assist them.

2. Things You Will Need to Throw a Wine Tasting Party

Wine Tasting Steps
One bottle of wine will serve a 2 ounce taste for up to 12 people. Plan on tasting a total of five or six different wines during the event. It’s overwhelming to sample too many. Serve the wine in clear wine glasses with stems. People should be able to see the wine. Guests should hold the glasses by the stem so that they do not affect the temperature of the wine.

throw a wine tasting party
Provide pitchers of water and dump buckets. These can be used to rinse the glasses between wines and some guests may have leftover wine they want to dump. Plain crackers should be available so tasters can cleanse their palate between wines. Print off Wine Scoring Sheets and provide pens for each guests to evaluate the wines.

3. Feed Your Guests

Wine Party Food
It’s a good idea to feed your guests when they first arrive. You don’t want them drinking wine on an empty stomach. Avoid strong flavored foods that will interfere with the flavors of the wine. This means no spicy foods, strong-flavored cheeses, or salty dishes (although they can be served after the tasting of the wines is concluded).

4. Wine Tasting Details

Glasses of white, rose, and red wine.
White wines should be chilled two to three hours in the refrigerator before serving. Red wines can be served at room temperature, but you could put them in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator an hour before serving to open and let them decant.

Blind Wine TastingNumber wines in the order you want to taste them. White wines should be tasted before red wines. Light wines go before heavy wines and dry wines before sweet wines. However, don’t stress over this. Everyone will be having fun and won’t even notice if the order isn’t perfect.

Take time to discuss the wines. Ask each guests to share their thoughts. Serve dessert, beverages, or even additional wine for your friends to enjoy after the tasting is over. If your guests don’t all know each other you might want to plan some fun icebreakers to get the party started. Actually, these activities are great even if everyone does know each other.

Click Here for Fun Ice Breakers for Your Wine Tasting Party

Your friends will be eager for you to throw a wine tasting party again!

Healdsburg Tours: Where to Stay, Eat, & Have Fun

Healdsburg tours-stay-eat- have fun There’s many reasons to choose Healdsburg as your next Wine Country destination. This guide to Healdsburg tours gives tips on where to stay, where to eat, and fun things to do in the area.

Healdsburg offers the charms of a small town combined with restaurants and wineries to please the most particular foodie and wine connoisseur. It’s a charming town with gorgeous scenery and lots of fun things to do.

Where to Stay for Healdburg Tours

DryCreekInnIf you are on a budget, stay at Dry Creek Inn. This hotel is conveniently located just off of Highway 101 and just a short distance in every direction to wineries. There’s two swimming pools, an outdoor jacuzzi tub, an outdoor fire pit, water fountains, as well as a sauna. Casa Siena are the standard rooms. They charge slightly more to upgrade to a Tuscan room, which includes a fireplace and spa tub. All of the rooms have comfortable beds. Breakfast is complimentary.

HonorMansionHonor Mansion is the place to go if you want to be spoiled. This is an upscale bed and breakfast located near downtown Healdsburg. Swim, play croquet, tennis, bocce, or basketball. Practice your putting. Arrange for a poolside massage. Listen to the sounds of the waterfall cascading into the koi pond. Gorgeous rooms, amazing happy hour with beverages and appetizers, and a delicious breakfast in the morning. Staff is friendly and they go out of their way to make sure you are enjoying your stay.

Healdsburg Tours: Where to Eat

Willi's Seafood
Willi’s Seafood and Raw Bar If you don’t care for raw seafood, don’t let the name scare you. Willi’s has an extensive menu that includes a variety of delicious small plates. Some of my favorites include raw oysters, hanger steak, minted lamb, fish tacos, and pan roasted Duncan’s mushrooms. They have the best sour dough bread, served warm with garlic parsley butter. Dine indoors or outside on the patio. Willi’s is located just north of the Healdsburg Plaza on Healdsburg Avenue.

Scopa Restaurant - tasty restaurantScopa
This small, intimate restaurant is located on Plaza Street directly across from the Healdsburg Plaza. It can be difficult for first-timers to find because the sign above the restaurant says “Barber Shop”. This is the place to enjoy delicious Italian food in a casual atmosphere. Favorites here include Tomasso’s Sugo Calabrese and Nonna’s Chicken served with sauteed greens and soft polenta. Make reservations well in advance!

Baci Restaurant Healdsburg
Baci Cafe & Wine Bar
Baci’s is an incredible Italian restaurant located north of the Healdsburg Plaza on Healdsburg Avenue. Everything about this restaurant is amazing. The service is friendly and attentive. Waiters are knowledgeable about both the food and the wine. The food is full of fabulous flavors. Favorites at this restaurant include Stinco d’Agnello al Forno, a slow braised lamb shank and Pollo alla Livornese, pan sauteed chicken breast served with polenta and fresh vegetables. Don’t leave without trying the flourless chocolate cake topped with vanilla bean gelato!

Healdsburg Tours: Fun Things to Do

Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting HealdsburgHealdsburg is surrounded by some of the best wine regions: Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, and the Alexander Valley. It’s a short drive from Healdsburg to visit any of these wine regions.

It’s also possible to park your car and walk to more than a dozen wineries with tasting rooms in downtown Healdsburg: La Crema Winery, Windsor Vineyards, Hartford Family Winery, Thumbprint Cellars, Stonestreet Tasting Room, Toad Hollow Vineyards, Portalupi Wines, Mueller Winery, Cartograph Wines, Banshee Wines, and C. Donatiello Winery, Partake, Sanglier Cellars, and Valdez Family Winery.

Canoe Down the Russian River

Canoe Down the Russian RiverIt’s a blast to kayak or canoe down the Russian River. There are a number of businesses that offer rentals right on the river. Pack your lunch and you’re ready for a relaxing day on the river.
Learn More

Ride a Segway

Ride a Segway
Tour Healdsburg on a segway. Enjoy the beautiful scenery as roll along the river and through vineyards. If you have not ridden a segway before, there’s time to practice before you start. Learn More

Visit Lake Sonoma

Lake Sonoma - Healdsburg
Visit Lake Sonoma for fishing, swimming, boating, kayaking, hiking, camping, horseback riding, mountain biking, and picnicking. This lake is just 10 miles west of downtown Healdsburg. Learn More

Click Here to Learn How to Save Money on Wine Tasting Fees

Enjoy fabulous Healdsburg tours in the heart of the Sonoma Wine Country!

Please comment below. We would love to hear what you are thinking!

Restaurant Week San Diego – January 15-27, 2017

Restaurant Week San DiegoRestaurant Week San Diego is the the time to dine at the best San Diego restaurants and save money at the same time. Discover a different restaurant or revisit an old favorite.

There are many San Diego restaurants throughout the San Diego that offer special prix-fixe menus at special money-saving prices. These restaurants have some of the most talented chefs cooking up a variety of cuisines.

There are more than 100 restaurants participating . . .simply too many to list them all here. The list below is our favorite choices. We think these are the best San Diego restaurants. Click here to browse the entire list of participating restaurants and view menus. Discover your own favorites.

Top Choices for Restaurant Week San Diego

Bertrand at Mister A’s
Bertrand Mister A'sAddress: 2550 5th Ave. 12th Floor
Telephone: 619-239-1377
Neighborhood: Downtown
Deal: 2-course lunch $20 or 3-course dinner $50
Bertrand at Mister A’s is an elegant restaurant. It’s the place to go to celebrate a special occasion or impress an out-of-town guests. Enjoy superior service, stunning views, and great food.

Donovan’s Steak & Chops
Address: 333 5th Ave.
Neighborhood: Gaslamp Quarter
There’s also a Donovan’s in La Jolla.
Deal: 3-course dinner for $50
This upscale steakhouse is known for its quality steaks. If you are in the mood for a steak and you’ve been wanting to try Donovan’s, Restaurant Week San Diego is the time to do it.

George’s Ocean Terrace
California SunsetAddress: 1250 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037
Telephone: (858) 454-4244
Neighbord: Downtown La Jolla
Deal: Dinner $50
Time your dinner so that you are dining while the sun is setting. It’s a spectacular place to watch the sunset.

ll Fornaio
Locations: Del Mar or Coronado
Telephone: Del Mar – 858-755-8876
Coronado: 619-437-4911
Deal: Lunch for $20 or Dinner for $40
Enjoy delicious Italian food at either location. We’ve never been disappointed dining at ll Fornaio.

Brockton Villa
Address: 1235 Coast Blvd. La Jolla, CA
Telephone: 858-454-7378
Neighborhood: La Jolla
Deal: Lunch for $15 or dinner for $30
Exceptional food with amazing views of La Jolla Cove.

Mille Fleurs Restaurant
Address: 6009 Paseo Delicias, Rancho Santa Fe, CA
Telephone: 858-756-3085
Neighborhood: Rancho Santa Fe
Deal: Lunch for $20 or dinner for $50
This award-winning French restaurant is located in the heart of Rancho Santa Fe. This is an upscale restaurant that’s perfect for celebrating special occasions.

Island Prime
Island Prime San DiegoAddress: 880 Harbor Island Drive
San Diego, CA
Telephone: 619-298-6802
Neighborhood: Pt. Loma/Harbor Island
Deal: 3-course dinner for $40
Fabulous food with amazing harbor views. The last time we dined here we enjoying watching a pair of dolphins playing in the water just outside our window seat.

The Oceanaire Seafood Room
Address:400 J Street
San Diego, CA
Telephone: 619-858-2277
Neighborhood: Downtown
Deal: Dinner $40
The place to go for fresh seafood in downtown San Diego!

Peohe's Restaurant Coronado
Address: 1201 1st Street
Coronado, CA 92118
Telephone: 619-437-4474
Neighborhood: Coronado Island
Deal: 3-course dinner $30
Peohe’s is a fun place to dine overlook the bay. If you have time for an adventure, drive to restaurant parking lot. After you eat, take the ferry ride across to downtown San Diego and back. It’s $4.75 per person each way. It’s a great way to capture stunning views of the city from the water.

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Address: 1355 North Harbor Drive, San Diego
Telephone: (619) 233-1422
Neighborhood: Downtown or Del Mar
Deal: Dinner for $40/$50.
Top quality steakhouse. If you are headed to their downtown location for Restaurant Week San Diego, take advantage of their $8 valet service because it’s not easy to find a park in downtown San Diego.

The Prado at Balboa Park
Prado Restaurant San DiegoAddress: 1549 El Prado 12
Telephone 619-557-9441
Neighborhood: Balboa Park
Deal: Lunch $15 or Dinner $30.
I love to dine outdoors on the patio, but the indoors has a fabulous ambiance as well. Great service! Take a walk through around the historic buildings. This is a gorgeous setting in Balboa Park.

The Marine Room
Address: 200 Spindrift Dr., La Jolla
Telephone: (858) 459-7222
Neighborhood: La Jolla Shores
Deal: Dinner for $50
During the high tide guests seated near the window enjoy watching the waves crash on the glass just inches away. Enjoy exceptional food and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean at this award-winning restaurant.

Have you participated in Restaurant Week San Diego? If so, please tell us all about the restaurants you visited.