R2 Wine Company takes its name from its founders, Roger and Richard Roessler, two brothers who combine their years of business and restaurant-industry experience to bottle up the rare and delicious tastes of Sonoma's sunny vineyards. With the aid of expert viticulturist and winemaker Drew Huffine, the two brothers show their love for the noble grape with a wealth of original vintages, such as the complex Rhapsody rhone that epitomizes the cool, bright terroir of the Santa Ynez Valley, or the Red Birds pinot noir, which celebrates the brothers love for their hometown team. Curious guests congregate for vino-sipping soirees at the earthy-hued tasting room off the Sonoma Plaza, or join the wine club for regular deliveries of mouthwatering vintages and invitations to members-only events and tastings.
The oenophiles at Napa Valley Toffee Company satiate cravings for local flavors with tastings of Napa-produced wines and luscious homemade chocolates. Synchronized sippers can indulge in a hodgepodge of five red and white nectars, each harvested from Napa-grown grapes, bottled by local wineries, and approved by the California Raisins. Though wine flights vary by tasting, guests can expect to nourish their palates with gulps from small case lots and nibbles from local vendors, such as Napa Farmhouse 1885, and Verve Coffee of Santa Cruz. Before heading home to wash off purple handlebar mustaches, sippers can treat themselves to $20 worth of goodies from the shop, where bottles of 2009 sauvignon blanc ($20) and Rescue Red ($15) hobnob with eight-ounce boxes of house-made chocolates ($11) and Drink the Leaf loose-leaf tea.
Chef Greg Johnson transfigures time-tested favorites into creative dishes at the award-winning Zinsvalley Restaurant. Diners can steal away for an exotic midday lunch of coconut yellow curry, which bathes baby bok choy, yams, shitake mushrooms, snow peas, and jasmine rice together in a bath of yellow coconut milk curry ($14), or field imaginary fly balls while noshing on the Wagyu beef hot dog with a piquant kick of jalapeño jam and pico de gallo ($11). At dinner, gourmands can sip local small-production vintages while elegantly slurping shrimp linguini ($16) or the chef's signature steak frittes, which pairs grilled Kobe Bavette with chili-rubbed fries and watercress ($24).
The chefs at Flamez Bar & Grill never complain about their jobs not being exciting enough. From breakfast through dinner, they must battle ribbons of fire into submission as they grill sausages, flip half-pound burgers, and blacken chicken to perfection. Though they may suffer a singed eyebrow every now and then, they find solace in the steady stream of regulars who gather around the restaurant’s tables to feast on their signature melts, new york steaks, and pulled-pork sandwiches. The warmth of the kitchen extends to the dining room, where glasses filled with Lagunitas beer clink together and servers pour thick, cold milkshakes over plates of hot wings that have spontaneously caught fire.
Traxx Bar & Grill is nestled in the riverside town of Petaluma, and its selection of beer, wine, and spirits from a full bar keeps libations flowing to palates in a stream as inexorable as a river. Chefs stack 13 specialty, half-pound beef burgers with toppings such as avocado, pico de gallo, and grilled pineapple, and adorn fries in hot sauce and parmesan cheese. A kids' menu of cheeseburgers, chicken tenders, and hot dogs accommodates young lads and lasses, and drafts of craft beers and goblets of locally acquired Sonoma-county wine water the craws of of-age diners. Colorful knickknacks, street signs, and sports pendants beam down from the walls onto a seating area of barstools and tabletops, where model airplanes and bongo drums dangle from the ceiling. Multiple flat-screen TVs, meanwhile, glimmer with rousing sports games and gripping car commercials featuring sedans that can yodel.