John and Carrie Komes and Julie and Pat Garvey established Flora Springs in 1977, though the vineyard has history dating back to the early 1800s, when Napa was just forming its roots as a California wine region. So the families already had a jump start on success by purchasing fertile land perfect for crafting what they’d soon be known for — Bordeaux blends. But John Komes admittedly has had a “long love affair” with Chardonnay and it was, in fact, the first Flora Springs varietal he produced 40 years ago. And though he’s seen Chardonnay styles go in and out of fashion — from the classic Cali butter-bomb to the sometimes scandalous 100% stainless steel — current winemaker Paul Steinauer maintains the winemaking methods that expresses Chardonnay in the same way that enraptured John from the very beginning.
Downtown Healdsburg has turned into a foodie’s haven. Critically-acclaimed restaurants with top chefs are found, often, right next door to each other. So how does one choose? Sometimes it’s a matter of booking your table for two months in advance. Other times it means settling for an awkward 5pm or 9:15pm dinner rez. And, yet, my favorite maintains the secret third option: walking in to the least crowded restaurant when your stomach tells you it’s time to eat. Welcome to Cafe Lucia.
I love wondering around downtown Healdsburg — wonderful people, beautiful scenery, and you’ll never go hungry and definitely not thirsty. Sure, those of you who stomp the Sonoma grounds often may have your favorite Healdsburg haunts. But I say half the fun is walking into a place you have no idea what it is and giving it a go. That’s how I found The Gallery Bar & Bistro.
Don’t ask me how I found myself at this neither new nor classic downtown San Jose restaurant. Though I perused the menu before embarking on this culinary adventure, I had my reservations. After my somewhat mediocre experience at the once Michelin-starred Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino, I was concerned about my next culinary splurge. But despite its awkward location and that the food photography on the website leaves much to be desired, I finally found a place in downtown SJ worth returning to — Scott’s Seafood.
A once tucked away, secret of Silicon Valley, Alexander’s Steakhouse is now one among many trendy spots along the new Main Street, Cupertino. Those familiar with the restaurant’s history may remember the days when it boasted a Michelin Star, from 2011 to 2013. The loss of that star, now almost four years ago, did little to mar the elegant dining standards and the upscale reputation Alexander’s Steakhouse worked so hard to achieve. But a change of venue, just within this past year, has meant a change in attitude. And one has to wonder if that change has affected restaurant experience for better or worse — if at all.