USA Day 14: Duvine Cycling Adventure Day 2

There’s the view from our balcony in the morning – how gorgeous is that?!  We could have sat up there all day.  But, with a long day of cycling ahead of us – it was time to carb up!  Breakfast at the Bodega Bay Resort – it was a difficult decision – there were the standard buttermilk pancakes on offer – but there was also James Beard’s French Toast.

Apparently James Beard was an American chef and food writer who is credited with bringing French cooking to the middle and upper classes in the 50’s (….but what about Julia Child??? – that might have to be the subject of another food essay).

French Toast with a seasoned buttermilk batter and a  crunchy crust, served with Vermont maple syrup.  Mmmm…  it was as though the outside was coated with crushed up crunchy nut cornflakes.

And of course, Andrew’s search for the perfect poached eggs continues….
But what’s with the fruit on the plate?? It must be an American thing…

And this is the view we had to endure whilst we ate all that breakfasty goodness…

 … sigh…

 Do we have to ride?  Can’t we just stay here?

The Duck Club Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Alas – we must ride, and really, we wanted to ride.  So we trotted off to our room and on the way met a new little friend, “Fearless”,  the wild rabbit who lives in the garden.

Fearless!

We met up with the crew – loaded up with trail mix and headed off.

Cycling: Bay to Redwoods to Vines

Andrew was very good and did the whole 72 km – I just did 38km into the Armstrong Forest Reserve (so just near where it says 40km, where the little blue star is).  Sorry about the blurriness of the map – best we could do with all of Andrew’s data.

Here are some pics of our journey…

We stopped for lunch in the middle of the Redwood forest – which was amazing.  Can I tell you though… it was freezing in there.  It’s completely in shadow for most of the day – so you can imagine that it can’t warm up, because the sun never gets to it.  It would be gloriously cool in summer!

As we were riding, we kept chasing down any patches of sunshine – and joked that we would cycle slower in those patches so we could enjoy the sun on our backs!

Our Duvine guides, Ashley & Ryan set up a beautiful picnic lunch in the forest for us…

Our beautiful buffet lunch…

 …and the dessert platter.

Lunch was turkey and pesto rolls, green salad, caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes and baby bocconcini, and corn chips with home made salsa.  There was also wine and cider to choose from. And then there was dessert – chocolate fudge brownies, berry slice and fresh strawberries.  No wonder I called it a day after lunch and opted to hop in the team bus!!  I had to rest up for dinner!!!

At lunchtime, we also got to enjoy a couple of squirrels playing what we thought was “hide and seek” on the tree ahead of us!!  They were amazing.  They flew up these huge trees chasing each other!!  Very cute!!

This is our guide Ryan hugging one of the trees near our picnic area.
Just to show you how big the trees are!  And that he’s so in tune with nature – yeah man!

After lunch we went for a walk through the Redwood forest – this was the area used for the filming of Star Wars IV – Return of the Jedi – as the forest on Endor.  We tried to imagine the Ewoks around every corner – or at least flying through with a commandeered flying thingy (what were they called – I’m not geek enough to know… Andrew??).

How amazing are the trees…

Oops – this one’s fallen down – I’ll just try to help it up…

There – got it back up!!

Hee hee… not really.  But I appreciate you all believing in my sheer brute strength!   This is me standing in front of the tree assessed to be the oldest in the forest.

 Andrew took a photo looking straight up!  And you still can’t see the top…

Back on the road – in the bus for me, and on the bike for Andrew – my gladiator husband with freakish stamina.

We had to stop at a couple of wineries before we got to our hotel – part of the Duvine policy. The things I have to do…

The first stop was the Hop Kiln Winery.

Oooooh… Andrew’s not here yet – I’ll just do the reconnaissance ahead of time.  That’s me with Janet and Ray (who also opted for the bus).  I know we look a bit cheeky… but it was the first tasting of the tour!!  I’m sure there was a requirement somewhere about us being cheeky….

Meanwhile, on the bike…

From the forest…

To the vine…

Aaah… there he is. He’s finally arrived.
I’ll let him know what the good wines are….

After Hop Kiln Winery, we went next door to the Rachioli Vineyard to check out their great pinot noir…  What do you mean you’ve sold out???!!!   Well – that’s what happens when the wine is that good.  Apparently, we have to come back in January to taste the next vintage… oh. .. OK…

I guess we’ll just settle for a picture…

But we weren’t to be together for long – Andrew continued on the journey with Jean-Guy and Ryan – and we headed to the Hotel Healdsburg where we’ll be staying for 2 nights.

Dry Creek Kitchen at Hotel Healdsburg

317 Healdsburg Avenue
Healdsburg, CA 95448
707.431.0330
Open: Lunch  Fri – Sun  12pm – 2:30pm
Dinner:  Sun – Thu  5:30 – 9:30pm;  Fri – Sat  5:30 – 10pm
Website

Dinner tonight was at the Dry Creek Kitchen – formerly a Michelin starred restaurant (2008-2011) – but apparently they recently lost their star.  The restaurant is part of Charlie Palmer’s portfolio.  On his website, his signature style is described as “Progressive American Cuisine, a style built on rambunctious flavors and unexpected combinations with a deep and lasting infusion of classical French technique“.  He has his flagship restaurant in New York – Aureole, so I must put that on the list to visit next time (it still has its Michelin star).  The food was pretty good anyway….

Diver Scallops on croute – caramelised onion, celery root batons, black truffle beurre blanc.

 

They poked a hole in the top and poured in the truffle beurre blanc – then you had to rip the pastry off to get to the scallopy goodness. And my, it was pretty good.  Scallops are huge here in the States, and tender and sweet … why are ours so piddly???

Andrew had the seasonal soup of the day –
Pumpkin veloute, served with toasted pumpkin seeds and pepitas.

For main I had the duo of Duroc pork–
On the left was the loin which had been brined in honey and served with a
fresh corn succotash, and on the right, grilled spice crusted pork belly.

 Andrew had the Rocky Junior Chicken Cassoulet – not the normal cassoulet – it was deconstructed – and came with a white bean croquette and chicken thigh garlic sausage.

Dessert for me was Chocolate and Peanut Butter bar – dark chocolate marquise,
peanut butter mousse, and chocolate sorbet!  Killer!!!  In a good way!!

Andrew had the Valrhona Bittersweet Chocolate Cremeux –
chocolate “rice crispy”, white coffee icecream, espresso – cocoa nib tuile.

Very noice… I had to have a taste of course…  in the interests of research….

Phew – a good reward after a good day’s riding!  Then off to bed – more vines and wines tomorrow…

Dry Creek Kitchen on Urbanspoon