Guerneville CA: Applewood Wine Country Inn & Pinoli Cucina Rustica
The Applewood Inn and Spa has a reputation for housing some of the best Michelin starred restaurants in Sonoma County! Nestled into the woodsy hillsides of Guerneville CA, just minutes from the Russian River and a direct turn off of Hwy 116, you can easily make your way to Applewood Inn. Just 1.5 hours from San Francisco or from the Napa Valley, this retreat feels luxurious and rewarding upon arrival. With only 20 guest rooms available, this magical spot is perfect for a weekend away with your honey, or rent a bunch of rooms for a weekend with friends and hit the Russian river to float the day away!
My husband and I were invited to come stay and check out their new restaurant on property, Pinoli Cucina Rustica and enjoy the luxurious one room suites! Upon arrival, we were greeted by Valerie one of the inn keepers on property. She was sweet, knowledgeable and gave us a complimentary glass of bubbles – what’s not to love? She then showed us around the property and ended with a tour of our room No. 19 “Michaelangelo,” one of the most luxurious rooms, with a balcony overlooking their courtyard, a personal fire pit and tempur pedic bed, we were in heaven! In addition to the amazing bed and fire pit, each room has a Jacuzzi tub, which I did take full advantage of!
We were so excited to try Pinoli Cucina Rustica, we quickly changed and headed over to the restaurant. You don’t have to travel far, as the restaurant is only 15 feet away from guest rooms (don’t worry, they close early at 9 p.m., so no noise issues here) and most of the diners during the week are hotel guests! Having tableside conversation with the chef about what he has prepared, that is truly special! The Napa Valley is a wonderful place and sure you get to see the chef every once in a great while, but rarely is he the one serving you your dinner. Pinoli opened the beginning of June and their chef/service concept is very innovative and fun to experience! Each employee who works in the front of the house, is also a chef who works in the back of the house! Head chef Christian Darcoli made his way originally from the San Remo region of Italy on the Northern Coast. The dishes served at the new restaurant rely heavily on the farm to table approach used in his home town of San Remo. Since joining the team at the Applewood Inn, Chef Darcoli has planted his own garden to source fruits and vegetables from for their menu and daily specials offered for both Breakfast and Dinner. They prepare a Two Course Pre-Fix Breakfast each morning, included in your nightly rate at the Applewood Inn and Spa.
When it came time to order dinner we let the Chef decide! He started us off with a delicious Octopus broth, which was light, full of beautiful acidity and had a piece of crusty sourdough bread floating in the bottom to give some texture to the broth. My palate was awake! We decided on a bottle of 2012 Kosta Browne Russian River Pinot Noir, it made us feel right at home in the middle of the Russian River Valley. Pinot Noir is also a perfect complement to most foods; fish, pasta, salad, steak etc. We knew we would be good with whatever he sent out!
Our next course was a salad of granny smith green apples, goat cheese, toasted pecans, arugula with a drizzle of balsamic and olive oil. This dish was so fresh and clean, I paired it with the Murphy Goode Fume Blanc on the list by the glass. The next course were homemade ravioli, meat filling, most importantly NO CHEESE, my husband is not a fan, so the fact that we were able to have ravioli was pretty rare! Thank you Chef! My favorite course pictured below; a piece of seared mackerel, roasted tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, on some crostini. This dish was the perfect pairing with our wine selection, the fruit forward aspects of the Pinot Noir, balanced all the acid of the capers, olives and oily/salty mackerel, it was delicious, I can still taste it! We finished with a sous vide Kobe hanger steak, marbled potatoes and rosemary, it was basically like eating butter and potatoes, the steak was perfect, you didn’t even need a knife!
We couldn’t do dessert right then (can you blame us?) so we ordered their soon to be famous beignets and headed back to the room! We cranked up the fire pit and planted ourselves to let the food and wine soak in. I couldn’t have asked for a better night away! Thank you to Applewood Inn for taking care of all my senses and providing a beautiful, relaxing backdrop to a night with my husband!
Make sure to check out their site for availability and get to Pinoli Cucina Rustica befor everyone else finds out about them!! www.applewoodinn.com Phone: 707-869-9093
THANK YOU APPLEWOOD INN FOR SPONSORING THIS POST!