My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Fine Dining in a Sonoma Farmhouse

2010/05/06by Donna Hull

russian-river-valley-farmhouse-restaurantAfter a hike in Armstrong Woods, paddling along the Russian River or biking the Healdsburg Loop with stops at area wineries, baby boomer travelers visiting Sonoma’s Russian River Valley will have worked up an appetite. Before leaving on your active boomer adventure to California wine country, plan ahead. Make a dinner reservation at the Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant on River Road in Forestville.

The yellow clapboard, unassuming farmhouse sits in a glade of trees with a wide lawn edged by flowering perennials. Inside you’ll appreciate the understated decor combined with a quiet ambiance which has gone missing in most of our modern eateries. Although you don’t have to stay at the Farmhouse Inn to dine at the Michelin-starred restaurant, Alan and I highly recommend the complete experience.

On our visit to the Russian River Valley, we enjoyed a Thursday night dinner at the farm to table restaurant where Chef Steve Litke works his magic with locally sustained, organically grown food products. From our table by the window, we looked out onto the front lawn, green from spring rains, while we studied the menu.

The wine steward helped us choose a before dinner glass of wine from the extensive selection. Alan enjoyed an Albariño, Iberian Remix, Central Coast – 2008, while I chose a Syrah, Scherrer, Russian River Valley – 2006.

Since we’re careful about how much we eat, Alan and I decided to share an appetizer of roasted Delta asparagus and Auracana egg accompanied by La Quercia prosciutto chip, fava bean, ramp, and chive blossom. It was like spring on a plate.

Alan claimed that his main course, grilled ribeye, was the most tender cut of beef he had ever experienced. For me, the wild Alaskan halibut topped with green garlic Dungeness crab legs and surrounded by preserved lemon-green olive sauce was the perfect blending of taste. Both of us appreciated the moderate portions. Quality versus quantity wins in our book.

The wait staff provided smooth, unassuming service that rivaled any we have experienced on luxury cruise ships. They knew just when to clear, what questions to ask and how to serve us without hovering. Maitre d’, Christopher Fohner, has trained them well.

When dessert arrived, the chocolate souffle puffed up slightly as the server poured in the brandy cream sauce. That was the moment I regretted my sharing arrangement with Alan. I wanted this chocolate experience all to myself.

At Farmhouse Restaurant, the ambiance, service and cuisine combined into one of our most unforgettable dinners. It was so special that photographing the food would have ruined the experience for us and for those guests sitting around us. We’ll leave you with a photo of the building and grounds. You’ll have to visit yourself to view the wonderfully prepared food.

Have you dined at Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant? Post a comment to share your experience. Someday we’ll return for another meal.

Disclosure: Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant provided this travel experience.
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A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of New Mexico Backroads Weekend Adventure.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine May 6, 2010 at 11:25 pm

Wow – how delicious – I feel like I was right there eating that fabulous meal alongside you!


Sandy2118 May 6, 2010 at 11:30 pm

I have never dined there but sure wish I had. My dad was born in St. Petersburg, and I hope to make it out to the Russian River area some day to see where so many Russians settled when they came to America.


marthaandme May 6, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Wow. This sounds absolutely stupendous. I would love to dine here some day!


Sheryl May 6, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Sounds heavenly. I love this area of the country – among my very favorites. Next time I visit, I'll have to make sure to go to this special restaurant!


Jesaka May 7, 2010 at 12:00 am

Sounds amazing! I haven't dined at Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant, but your post certainly made me want to change that.


Susan May 7, 2010 at 1:26 pm

“It was spring on a plate.”

I love that description in particular. This definitely makes me want to dine at Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant.


Mark H May 7, 2010 at 10:28 pm

I love the Sonoma Valley area with its greenery. This place sounds like a piece of heaven.


ruthpennebaker May 8, 2010 at 1:50 pm

You're a saint, Donna. I never share desserts with my husband.


Kristen May 8, 2010 at 7:38 pm

I've never done much exploration in California, but you're making me want to. Your meal sounds just amazing–my mouth was already watering after the mention of the appetizer. I love, love roasted asparagus (maybe even more than the chocolate souffle).


May 8, 2010 at 10:51 pm

You should have put a warning at the beginning – don't read this if you are hungry!!
Ok – I have to head to dinner now…thanks for wetting my appetite!


heatheronhertravels May 9, 2010 at 6:38 pm

It sounds perfect – but I do wish you'd taken a discreet photo or two – I'd love to see what spring on a plate looks like.


Meredith May 9, 2010 at 7:07 pm

I'm putting this place on our to-go-to list. We travel to NoCal on occasion and are always looking for this type of place to eat.


Sarah Chambers May 10, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Wow Donna, this sounds delicious and that picture could be straight off a chocolate box – perfect! If you're ever in London, for a similar 'gate to plate' experience check out Platform in London Bridge (SE1). I haven't been but I read about it recently and I'm planning an imminent trip!

Also, you may be interested in checking out and entering this month's writing competition on GrantourismoTravels, as the theme is 'Food & Travel'. There are great prizes on offer and we'd love you to submit and entry! Here's the link to the post on the comp for more info:




Donna May 11, 2010 at 6:33 pm

This is practice


BigIslandCheap May 11, 2010 at 6:43 pm

I grew up in Sonoma County and remember driving by the Farmhouse quite often. My folks still live just miles from there. I've never stayed there, but your description of the chocolate souffle makes me regret that!


Donna Hull
May 17, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Thanks, Susan. I liked “spring on a plate,” too.


Donna Hull
May 17, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Sorry. I just couldn't bring myself to intrude with a camera. Spring on a plate was lovely though.


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