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Celebrate Valentine’s Day with breakfast, the ultimate love language

I love breakfast. Love it. It’s the olfactory experience of it that gets to me first; the hickory scents of coffee and bacon dancing with the sweetness of maple syrup.

There’s nothing quite like waking up to the smell of breakfast or walking in through a door and – whoosh – getting hit by a draft of breakfast aroma.

I have a confession though: I rarely actually breakfast. I’m more of a break slow kind of person. My oldest daughter called me out on it recently.

“Do you even eat breakfast?” she asked.

I stared into her marbly blue eyes, giving her my best mom look.

If she only knew.

Because, after my husband and I shuffle our kiddos off to school (Thank you, Teachers!), we finally have a moment to breathe and realize how hungry we are.

The tell-tale signs kick in: The dog’s cuteness is now annoying; the record player’s loop sounds like a hangnail – both of us too enthralled with work and calorie deficient to get up and fix the problem –and any hiccup of frustration either of us experiences is very verbal.

“Oh, COME on!” my husband grunts from the office.

“Harumph,” I respond.

“Ya wanna get breakfast?” we jinx each other.

Here in Sonoma County, we’re fortunate enough to be surrounded by a bounty of farms, vineyards and restaurants to help us kick off our days right. After all, breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day (like my oldest reminded me).

Our go-to spot when we have no food or children in the house is Sebastopol Sunshine Café. The Main Street diner is a 10-minute stroll from our Sebastopol home, so it happens to be a post-payday favorite.

Why do we like it? It’s your no-frills diner fare: bacon, eggs, coffee, fresh squeezed orange juice and the hashed browns…oh, the hashed browns. We recently splurged on the A-frame specials: the morning T-bone and red chilaquiles (extra side of hashed browns). Both were bigger portions than either of us could manage in one sitting (even in our hangry states), but that just meant we got to-go boxes for later that day (and a treat for the dog when he became cute, once again).

Of course, we can’t always go out (have we mentioned we’re raising two kids here in Sonoma County?). But the weekends are for breakfast and Sonoma County empowers us to go big while staying home. Thanks to grocery stores like Oliver’s Market, CSA’s and weekly farmers markets, Sonoma County residents have access to fresh produce, dairy and breakfast meat.

In Windsor, you can get eggs from a vending machine thanks to Wise Acre Farms (though they’re currently waiting on some parts, so they’re selling by person). If you’re a West County resident, you can find someone between Graton and Petaluma selling eggs by the half dozen in front of their house. Farmers’ Markets are another great option for local, farm-fresh eggs.

We enjoy scouring local Farmers’ Markets for produce, of course. At our local market here in Sebastopol we’ve been introduced to the Cara Cara orange, a breakfast staple in the Windsor household. We’re known to snag berries, potatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers and anything intrigues our curiosity.

To bring home the bacon is really a treat these days. Local bacon purveyors include Victorian Farmstead Meat Company, which can be found at Community Market; Sonoma County Meat Co.; Panizzera Meat Co., available at Andy’s Market; and Flugger’s Bacon. We’ve also dreamed of Portland-style breakfasts (ie; those with cured meats and salumis), we opt for Healdsburg-based Journeyman Meat Company (according to a window in the Barlow, it looks like they’re opening a Sebastopol location!).

And then there’s coffee. I admit; I’m a fully-bred Portland coffee snob. I will spend $18 on a bag of beans because sometimes it is worth it (other times its hogwash marketing). Here in Sonoma County, we’re lucky enough to get to choose between a handful of local roasters: Taylor Lane, Acre-now-Avid, Retrograde, Black Oak, Bella Rosa, Crooks, Roasters, Bad Ass, Kuksa,’s kind of hard to go wrong.

However you decide to spend Valentine’s Day, make sure to start the day with a good tuck in.

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