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Healdsburg Highlights - February 2017


Healdsburg Highlights - February 2017

When reading this you have finished all the fun of the holidays and may be getting ready either to party in the New Year or start the first of the resolutions… which usually begin with shedding all that holiday weight. Motion Fitness on North Street is a good place to start. At a reasonable $50 a month, the gym is relaxed and open 24 hours a day for those 4am treadmill runs. Love their classes, too, and training with Thoma!

As the entire country deals with the results of an election that has created a true love-hate-fear-victory emotional roller coaster, here in Healdsburg we had our own recount for city council. Incumbent Gary Plass was not re-elected and newcomer Joe Najoukas was, in reality, elected to this first term. I have to give it to him that he was tireless in his outreach to local voters with daily meet-n-greets which appear to have paid off.

In other news, the much-anticipated Singlethread restaurant opened in mid-December to excellent reviews by those lucky enough to be invited to soft opening weeks or those able to afford the minimal menu price of $295 per person before wine. Kyle Connaughton’s elevation of cuisine in the Japanese kaiseki fashion is unique and incredibly memorable in addition to being beautiful. The Connaughtons grow what they need for the restaurant at their five-acre Russian River farm and the rooftop farm on top of the building at North and Center streets (the former post office location). Singlethread also had luxurious accommodations where they anticipate guests’ needs in the Japanese tradition of Omotenashi hospitality.

The best thing you can do in January is to explore the wineries of the Russian River Wine Road at my favorite event of the year, Winter WINEland, over the weekend of January 14-15, 2017. At only $45 for the weekend, the food and wines and values these wineries offer makes Winter WINEland one of the few remaining bargains in our corner of wine country. Sometimes we forget to look in our own backyard to discover new wineries or rediscover the classics. Hats off to Winter WINEland for their 25th Anniversary and Beth Costa who has been helming the Wine Road activities for as long as I can remember. Buy tickets before it sells out at

Tourism remains strong in Healdsburg but I will be interested in seeing how the new 16% TOT tax will affect hotel and bed-n-breakfast stays. Healdbsurg’s TOT is now one of the highest in the nation, even surpassing New York City’s. Say you have a two night stay at a hotel for a rate of $700…you will now spend an additional $112 for TOT and the support of ongoing tourism. That is enough for two pizzas and a bottle of wine moderate wine at Scopa.

And the continuing expansion of Healdsburg is affecting businesses that have thrived and given back to this town for decades. The roundabout construction has meant a very negative turn for businesses in the area like Singletree Inn which is now practically unreachable on foot without sidewalks and a continuously confused traffic pattern. Please patronize these businesses and keep them in our town.

Singletree is the ultimate locals’ breakfast but other favorites with locals includes the hour long dollar oyster hour every weekday at Café Lucia. Order all you need because they sell out fast! Spoonbar is continuing their $6 Encanto Pisco (shout-out to local Walter Moore) cocktails with some yummy bites while Chalkboard has an Italian happy hour menu now from 4:30-6:30. Love the pasta and Italian Mule for a $12 dinner! And Bravas Tapas continues their 420 hours when selected items are $4.20 including a special cocktail and the daily flatbread. Yes, it has a cannabis significance but 420 is also the restaurant’s address on Center Street.

Other highlights of the local holiday offerings was the annual Open House for Brush Studio (go by and meet new owner Emma) in collaboration with Elements on the Plaza Salon and several stunning art galleries including Andy Katz whose son, Jessie Katz, made the spectacular wine being served, Aperture. Jessie is winemaker at Lancaster and imagery runs in the family. Photo attached is my delight at winning an array of great products from the Elements drawing. A great night.