Half a day in the Anderson Valley
Because any time is good for food and wine!
A few months ago, we had an amazing day meandering our way down the Anderson Valley, and it was so lovely that we’ve been dreaming about doing it again for quite a while now. At last, just this past week, we had half a day free, and we said, “Quick, let’s go!”
By the time we got to Boonville, we were hungry for lunch, so we stopped in at the Mosswood Market Café & Bakery. Most of that morning’s pastries and empanadas (a local favorite) had long-since been nabbed by the early crowd of regulars that come in around breakfast time, so we went with the salad and the iced Masala Chai. Perfect summer lunch! The cold, creamy tea was refreshing and just sweet enough. And the salad was outstanding – simple, satisfying, with beautiful presentation. The local greens and garden tomatoes were so fresh, with just the right amount of vinaigrette, Pt. Reyes blue cheese, and caramelized pecans to round out the flavors. Of course, being on the hungry side, we HAD to add the avocado and the generous scoop of albacore tuna salad, which made it the exact right amount of food. As we enjoyed our meal at one of the vintage tables tucked into a corner near the window, we watched locals coming and going, getting drinks to go or settling down at quirkily mismatched tables and chairs to enjoy a bite. It was such a comfortably quaint atmosphere, like a mix between a cozy old farmhouse and a hip café, with an old brass chandelier in one corner and modern bulbs hanging around the room on long tethers from the high wooden ceiling. The waitress, always ready with a sweet smile, bustled about and tidied displays between attending to customers and relaying orders to the gal in the kitchen. We took our time nibbling the last few leaves of salad and sipping up the final few drops of tea, savoring this peaceful break from our busy lives.
Stop by Mosswood Market next time you pass through the Anderson Valley! They’re open Monday – Friday 7:00-3:00 and Saturday 8:00-3:00. Enjoy some of their stellar coffee and pastries. Have lunch. Sit inside or enjoy the sidewalk seating if the weather is right.
As we bussed our lunch dishes, we poked our heads through the open doorway next to the dish station. What was this?! The Farmhouse Mercantile just across the wall was darling! Restored original shelving from the old Farrer Mercantile that used to be in this space still lined the walls, and the original fir flooring proudly bore the straggling constellations of tiny holes from the spikes of the old loggers’ shoes. The tastefully arranged wares in this reincarnation of the historic store ranged from locally crafted goods for house and home to unique and useful items. Locals and tourists alike browsed the bath and gardening supplies, the linens and kitchen utensils. We ourselves spent a good amount of time perusing every shelf, and we couldn’t leave before purchasing a couple little treasures.
Owned in part by the folks at the Philo Apple Farm, this charming mercantile is well worth a visit. You’re sure to find something you’ll love! Also great for unique and practical mementos of your time in Mendocino.
The last stop of our day, and basically the main object of our excursion, was Foursight Wines. So named because of the four (and now 5!) generations of the Charles family that have lived on their land just outside of Boonville, this small winery makes some truly incredible wines, all with estate-grown grapes. We relished each pour during our tasting, absolutely in love with their passionate dedication to the most elegantly natural wines they can craft. Un-fined, unfiltered, and 100% vegan, these wines knocked our socks off. The 2017 Sauvignon Blanc was oh so refreshing and bright – the perfect thing on a hot afternoon. The 2017 Semillon sent an intriguing touch of muskiness floating around our palate. The 2016 “Zero New Oak” Pinot Noir was light and crisp. The 2016 Charles Vineyard Pinot was a little more savory and rounded out. Their super smooth 2017 “Clone 5” just won Best of Show Red / Double Gold at the Mendocino Wine Competition. And their 2017 Paraball was lusciously deep and rich and ripe. We lingered over the last little drops of Pinot swirling round our glasses as we shared stories and laughter with Larissa, who helps the owners out at the tasting room one day a week. Finally, at least one bottle in hand for a dinner party in the very near future, we waved adieu to our hostess, knowing full well that we would be back again soon.
Foursight Wine’s tasting room in Boonville is open Wednesday-Monday, 10:00-4:30. Stop by to meet the family and fall in love with their wines. Your tasting fee is waived with the purchase of a bottle. You can also join their great wine club!
Words and pictures by Laura Hockett