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Should Sonoma have an inferiority complex


Krys Stanley
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I heard for a first time in another topic that those in Sonomo may feel a bit overshadowed by Napa's reputation. So my question to Sonomo residents is what are the restaurants that do you proud? Why should you NOT feel overlooked?

I am surprised. A quick search for reviews on the Chronicle had 89 restaurants listed for Sonoma and only about 30 for Napa. There were a lot of those big names in Napa like French Laundry, but it seemed to me that Sonoma was holding it's own.

I think I just read in a restaurant review that Petaluma really is starting to become a restaurant hot spot.

Or as one person said, are the areas just too different. Are we mixing Gravestines and Clementines?

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I heard for a first time in another topic that those in Sonomo may feel a bit overshadowed by Napa's reputation. So my question to Sonomo residents is what are the restaurants that do you proud? Why should you NOT feel overlooked?

I am surprised. A quick search for reviews on the Chronicle had 89 restaurants listed for Sonoma and only about 30 for Napa. There were a lot of those big names in Napa like French Laundry, but it seemed to me that Sonoma was holding it's own.

I think I just read in a restaurant review that Petaluma really is starting to become a restaurant hot spot.

Or as one person said, are the areas just too different. Are we mixing Gravestines and Clementines?

It's spelled SONOMA. We do not have to defend our selves. We just wish people would get their geography straight. :biggrin:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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I went to both Napa and Sonoma for the first time last April and I would not feel over-shadowed if I were a Sonoma resident. I had a much more pleasurable time in the Sonoma area. I admit that I didn't get to go TFL (they were closed for renos while Keller concentrated on opening up Per Se), but I actually thought the food was better in Sonoma. The town is more pictaresque and the pace is more relaxed. Also, everything in the Napa valley seems to be on the same god-awful street full of limos and stretch-Hummers ferrying people around. Don't get me wrong, I loved Napa, but in my opinion, Sonoma is a little slice of heaven. :rolleyes:

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The root of the problem seems to be that all the tourist rags and tv shows consider the entire area in Northern California that has vines growing in it "Napa". As much as that must irritate the folks in Sonoma, I suspect the people in Lodi like it even less.

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Yep, we get that all the time, too. Amazing what a difference 30 years makes. I have pictures of myself in Napa in the '70's (barely legal, of course). The tasting rooms were cavernously empty, attendants would grab a basket of oyster crackers and slide it over to you and ask you eagerly if you'd like to go on a tour. Getting to Calistoga always made me carsick and there was one restaurant--a family burger joint that closed religiously at 9 pm.

In the last 10 years, my friends and I much prefer visiting other wine friends in Sonoma to Napa. It's friendly, laid back and bucolic compared the tourist mecca that Napa has become. Sigh. Lately it seems all my travel is business related. It would be fun to get away for a B&B weekend in Sonoma . . .

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Mary Baker

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Also, everything in the Napa valley seems to be on the same god-awful street full of limos and stretch-Hummers ferrying people around. Don't get me wrong, I loved Napa, but in my opinion, Sonoma is a little slice of heaven. :rolleyes:

I had to see that again. I love Sonoma, myself, for so many reasons. It's not nearly as self-conscious as Napa seems to be. Or status-conscious, perhaps. And the hilly roads are so beautiful.

I think one of our best little getaways was one November when we headed up the coast and went to Sonoma. We drove and strolled through several little towns, and finally wound up in Jenner, after following the river there. The trees were still in autumn foliage, and we saw several deer running along the banks. We had an absolutely perfect dinner at River's End restaurant, and found lodgings via the bartender there, who gave us the phone number of a man who lived nearby. We got a queen studio overlooking the river and the ocean, for $100 (cash).

Best of all, no cell phones worked out there. It was a slice of heaven.

And if there is anything on earth uglier than a stretch-Humvee, I hope I never have to see it.

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The house where I sleep is in Napa. My heart is in Sonoma. Shawn and I frequently talk about how much we enjoy Sonoma and would prefer to live near the square, where we could walk to get groceries, great cheese, see a movie, or hang with the locals (but my commute would suck!). Their farmer's market is a far cry from St. Helena's as far as the quantity of actual ingredients, but the down-home feel, entertainment, and 'scene' is incomparable. There is often live entertainment and folks who just come to hang out. Sonoma is laid back and fun. Napa is snooty.

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Napa is no snootier than Carmel, to me, and it does have pockets of amazing stuff. But I am much more comfortable in Sonoma, for whatever reason.

I'm sure if I were there with someone great like Rancho Gordo, I'd enjoy myself just fine.

I'm just generally aware of the classes in Napa. Jealous of all the money, too! :wink:

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Also, everything in the Napa valley seems to be on the same god-awful street full of limos and stretch-Hummers ferrying people around.  Don't get me wrong, I loved Napa, but in my opinion, Sonoma is a little slice of heaven. :rolleyes:

There is a part of Napa that is very blue collar. I know, because my SO is from there, and believe me there were no limos in his neighborhood. Not as picturesque as Sonoma, but no Humvees either, unless they're lost.

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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Also, everything in the Napa valley seems to be on the same god-awful street full of limos and stretch-Hummers ferrying people around.  Don't get me wrong, I loved Napa, but in my opinion, Sonoma is a little slice of heaven. :rolleyes:

There is a part of Napa that is very blue collar.

Yeah, I know, but do they offer mud baths? :wink:

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So in essence, the whole thing is silly. They both have beautiful things to see, wine and good food. They both also have a lot of inbred hillbillies who are feeling displaced. They both have ugly suburban sides and they have lots of new money along with the old (although I'd say Napa's is a little older!)

I will say that perhaps Sonoma is easier to enjoy as a casual tourist whereas in Napa it really pays to know someone.

I don't ever recall seeing a parade of limos or hummers in either place except maybe on a weekend during crush.

But really, gently ask someone from Sonoma a little something about Napa and you will get a sneer, a snippy remark or a jealous tantrum. It's the weirdest thing.

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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This time of year you can get a mudbath anywhere in California...  :hmmm:

Man, am I slow! I just got it! :raz:

And thanks, rancho_gordo. California has so much to offer everyone, and Sonoma has always been, and will continue to be, a desirable destination.

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Mary Baker

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In the latest news from Sonoma, Paitti has closed and The Generals Daughter is being sold. I think that both events are good news for this town. :biggrin::biggrin:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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In the latest news from Sonoma, Paitti has closed and The Generals Daughter is being sold. I think that both events are good news for this town. :biggrin:  :biggrin:

Is Paitti the Italian place on the corner basically across from The Girl & the Fig?

That's the one. It was part of a chain and I hear 4-5 of them are closing. :biggrin:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Heh.

I think of Carmel as Mrs. Thurston Howell III meets The Stepford Wives.

:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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In the latest news from Sonoma, Paitti has closed and The Generals Daughter is being sold. I think that both events are good news for this town. :biggrin:  :biggrin:

Is Paitti the Italian place on the corner basically across from The Girl & the Fig?

That's the one. It was part of a chain and I hear 4-5 of them are closing. :biggrin:

I have to admit that I had one of the worst service experiences of my life when we ate there last spring. Hope you guys get something worthy in its place. :smile:

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