Katina Connaughton is the farmer; her husband, Kyle Connaughton, is the chef, preparing eleven courses for guests. Kyle had worked in Japan for several years before running Hester Blumenthal’s Experimental Kitchen at the Fat Duck. In Healdsburg, the couple has woven the aesthetics of a Japanese inn with the over-the-top indulgences of wine country—and you can stay upstairs if you don’t want to drive after dinner. Relax into the kind of theatrical performance that high-level food has become in the age of the one percent. Oshibori trays made from the burls of bay trees appear with an arrangement of charcuterie, flowers, custards and caviar, with cups of cold soups and tiny plates of sashimi arriving to complete an amuse bouche that would serve as a complete meal in most restaurants. The sommelier team opens exceptional bottles to pair through the meal, or you can vet the pairings yourself with a wide-ranging list of sparkling wines (try a grower Champagne with an English Brut), chenins from the Loire (the 2005 Baumard was a great accompaniment to fish smoked in donabe), or local pinot noirs and cabernets. Go hungry, prepared for a four-hour dinner event.
photo by Eric Wolfinger