The jars of hand-packed, loose-leaf teas lining the shelves of Mr. Trombly's Tea blossom with the fruits of countless orchards and wildflower fields. Mangos mingle with pineapple, orange, tangerine, and strawberries to create citrusy sips, and chamomile, peppermint, and marigold blossoms charm upset stomachs from the herbal section. Alongside black-, green-, and white-tea varieties, the steeping emporium also vends a roster of oolong teas imported from Asia. In the interest of rich and uncorrupted brews, the staff never mixes artificial flavors in with the plants. They also give customers control over their Tea of the Month Club deliveries—members can mix and match their own preferred bags for delivery, unlike with other tea of the month clubs, which only send out shredded calendar pages.
From the simple, understated confines behind Bistro M's bright French doors, Parisian-born pastry-punchers pound out traditional Gallic gastronomy. Night-shift noshers can cloak themselves in the warm light of the chandeliers while rhapsodizing on inviting entrees such as trout almondine ($16) and braised pork shoulder with butternut-squash gratin ($21). Otherwise, seek pearls and spark plugs amid the raw, barbecue, and Rockefeller shell-meat of the full oyster bar ($1.75 each). Bistro M also assuages mid-afternoon belly temblors with a storehouse of lunch and brunch provisions. Set upon a refined feast with the croque madame's seared ham and fresh fried-egg chapeau ($11), or unmask hunger and robot invaders masquerading as sandwiches with the honesty of the open-faced vegetable and brie tartine ($8).
With 41 of its 250 beers available on tap, Barley & Hops pours a wide selection of suds to accompany its lengthy, European-style pub menu. Beneath the exposed-beam ceilings of the Old World-y restaurant, patrons succeed starters of gravy-smothered fries ($5) and scotch eggs ($5.99) with slurps of brews from Belgium, England, and Germany. Two flat-screen TVs in the main dining room and three in the ancillary draft room showcase sports, inspiring nearby diners to slam dunk small fish 'n' chips entrees ($12.99) into a neighbor's Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA ($10.99) to claim new ownership. Refreshing gulps of the Ballast calico amber ($6.99) balance out bites of the shepherd's pie ($12.99), whose beefy interior has proven to be the perfect tool for attracting angry, vegetarian sheep.
As the site of the classic Bing Crosby movie Holiday Inn, the 10-room Village Inn & Restaurant helps guests revel in vacation bliss with deluxe beds, scenic views of the Russian River, and a surrounding area speckled with wineries and other nearby attractions. Most rooms include a private balcony with a panoramic view of the water, and others feature garden views of majestic redwood trees and mega-lumberjacks. Hungry visitors can enjoy complimentary continental breakfast, and sleepy ones can make queen- or king-sized cocoons atop their European Sleep Works mattresses. Outside the stately quarters, guests can explore nearby hiking trails in the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve or cozy up at the inn's restaurant (closed Mondays and Tuesdays), which serves 140 Sonoma County wines and an array of steaks, chops, and seafood.
Vine Tastings ripens appetites with a full menu of boutique Sonoma County wines and small appetizer plates for pairing and singular enjoyment. The friendly wine bar carries anywhere from eight to 10 different vino vintages from small local wineries, available by the flight, glass, or bottle. Guests can sip, swish, or slam dunk a variety of inebriating grape derivatives, such as the Branham 2007 chardonnay from Russian River Valley ($8 per glass), the Deux Amis 2007 pinot noir from Donnelly Creek Vineyards and Anderson Valley ($7 per glass), and the Et Cetera 2008 Sonoma County merlot ($6 per glass), or choose any three 2-ounce tastings for $10. Pair tipples with delicious charcuterie plates, or cheeses.
Signature Service: Cooking classes
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 2?4 hours
Pro Tip: Cooking can be a bit messy, please dress accordingly. Bring your preferred cutlery, if desired.
Do you or your staff have any special certifications or degrees?
I hold a French Culinary Degree from Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon, and a Master Cake Decorator certificate from Wilton Chicago.
What's one tip for first-time customers that will make them feel like regulars?
We will enjoy many hand-made samples and tastings throughout the day, yet please do not come to class overly hungry.
When and how did you first develop a passion for your work?
My inspiration came from growing up on a small farm with my mom and dad cooking us farm-to-table meals every day. I love food. My passion for cooking for others and creating joy with my food revealed itself while I was a firefighter. I love nurturing people from within. I have learned that good food can be our greatest medicine. Life is delicious, and our food can be as well.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
We take pride in cooking and teaching with local, sustainable, seasonal, organic, and healthy foods whenever and wherever possible, while always balancing flavor, nutrition, and the pure enjoyment of eating. My culinary training is vast and well-rounded, from pastries and baking to cuisines from all around the world, from wild to domestic meats to tofu and tempeh. We love catering to specific diets, such as diabetic-friendly, vegan, gluten-free, and more.