Eating Out, Travel

A Midweek Escape at Singlethread Farm – Healdsburg, CA

What’s a perk of having two weddings? Two anniversaries! Since our two weddings were a month apart, it made sense to have a month long celebration!

Singlethread Farm was my original pick for my husband’s surprise birthday dinner in 2016, but due to opening delays it didn’t pan out. After 1.5 years of anticipation, we finally got to experience this acclaimed Michelin two-star restaurant, farm, and inn by the amazing chef/farmer duo, Kyle and Katina Connaughton.

We grabbed a mid-week, early season deal for the suite room, which included breakfast both mornings. From the service to the room, every detail was of the highest quality. I felt pampered and relaxed – this was seriously my favorite stay to date!

The Suite

The suite room set the standard for my future dream house. We are talking smart appliances (Teforia tea maker, fully automated Toto, Simple Human sensor mirror…to name a few), heated floors, and the nicest Matouk sheets I’ve ever slept on. I didn’t want to leave!

Upon check in, we found plentiful welcome treats, including house chocolate, wine, and ice cream. The chocolate flavors were fantastic – miso sesame, lavender, yuzu, caramel, and grapefruit mint. The 2013 Davis Family SingleThread Syrah was a bit thin for my taste, but not bad for a welcome bottle.

The complimentary minibar included Pliny the Elder(!) and delicious Revive Kombucha.

Singlethread Farm - Complimentary minibar with Pliny the Elder
Complimentary minibar with Pliny the Elder and Revive Kombucha

Breakfast, Day One

For our first breakfast, we opted for in-room service. I chose the Japanese Breakfast, and he got the French Omelette with Dungeness crab and caviar. We also added a side of toast, bacon, fresh squeezed satsuma juice, and iced almond milk matcha latte.

The presentation was lovely – by far the nicest in-room breakfast I’ve experienced. It reminded me of a Kyoto ryokan breakfast. The flavors were delicate and simple, focusing on the quality of ingredients. The salmon was perfectly cooked to highlight the texture, and the dashimaki tamago was impressive.

Having caviar with the French omelette was such a treat, though I didn’t think the potato added to the dish. The toast was a little burnt for our taste, but the accompanying huckleberry compote and butter were fantastic.

Singlethread Farm - Japanese Breakfast
French Omelette with Dungeness Crab, farm greens, rösti potato, crème fraîche, Passmore Ranch Caviar. Toast with Jams. Journey Man Barrel Smoked Bacon. Fresh squeezed Satsuma Juice. Japanese Breakfast: Misozuke King Salmon, Dashimaki Tamago, Tencha Donabe Rice, Vegetable Salad in Sesame Dressing, Fresh Yuba with Barrel Aged Ponzu, House made Tsukemono, Miso Soup, Winter Fruit. Iced Almond Milk Matcha Latte.
Singlethread Farm - In Room Breakfast
Enjoying the in-room Japanese breakfast in a very comfortable robe

Tasting Menu Dinner

We chose to enjoy the tasting menu dinner our second night. An alternative for multi-night stays was an in-room hot pot service, which we sadly didn’t know about until mid-tasting dinner. The hot pot required more advance notice (though we tried our best to get them to serve it after the tasting menu!).

The impressive open kitchen greeted us upon arrival, along with two green tea drinks.

Singlethread Farm - Green tea welcome drink and view of the kitchen upon arrival
Green tea welcome drink and view of the kitchen upon arrival

Since it was a rainy day, they skipped the rooftop bites and took us straight to the seated first course. We were given the center table with the best view of the kitchen – amazing! The lovely woodsy presentation was a show stopper and set the tone for the meal. This course was very Japanese in nature – again with light flavors, many small dishes, and delicate presentation. The individual items were not too memorable other than the oyster, but together it was all enjoyable.

Singlethread Farm - Early Spring in Sonoma
Early Spring in Sonoma
Singlethread Farm - More of Early Spring in Sonoma
Additional small bites served with Early Spring in Sonoma

Next was a series of small seafood dishes. The citrus jelly with the yellowtail was unique, but the overall dish was underwhelming. The crab and salmon courses had more depth of flavor and umami. I especially loved the shio koji vinaigrette with the tender salmon.

Singlethread Farm - Yellow Tail
Yellow Tail – jelly of charred local citrus, daikon radish, imperial miso, komatsuna
Singlethread Farm - Dungeness Crab
Dungeness Crab – Kohlrabi, Kani Miso, Makrut Lime, Fermented Turnip
Singlethread Farm - King Salmon "Ibushi-gin"
King Salmon “Ibushi-gin” – Shio Koji Vinaigrette, Steelhead Roe, Myoga

Then came a Foie Gras dish hidden as a salad. I’m extra sensitive about foie (most of it is too gamey for me), and I loved this foie! It was served like a decadent paste, with all the richness of foie, but none of that overpowering taste. The greens were a nice contrast.

Singlethread Farm - Poached Foie Gras
Poached Foie Gras – Dried and Fermented Beets, Wild Spring Greens, Roasted Chicken Broth

The Black Cod cooked in a Fukkura-san donabe clay pot was my favorite dish of the night. The texture of the tender cod was heavenly! The accompanying cod bone broth provided more rich cod flavor, and the green sauce added brightness. Amazing.

Singlethread Farm - Black Cod "Fukkura-san"
Black Cod “Fukkura-san” – Broth of Ember Grilled Cod Bones, Saikyo Miso

Before the Wagyu courses, we were presented with a box of Bloodroot Knives for us to pick from.

SingleThread Farm - Pick your own Bloodroot knife
Pick your own Bloodroot knife

The American Wagyu was delicious, though it didn’t resonate with me as much as the seafood courses. I did enjoy the Sonoma Grains and felt that the rich umami from the shiitake and beef broth could have stood alone without the wagyu.

Singlethread Farm - American Wagyu
American Wagyu – Flowering Komatsuna, Nettle, Sunchoke. Photo by Andre.
Singlethread Farm - Sonoma Grains
Sonoma Grains – Braised Wagyu Short Rib, Pickled Vegetables, Shittake Tea, Ice Filtered Beef Broth

And with that, it was time for the sweet courses. The presentation for all three were beautiful, especially the final Wagashi course that reiterated the woodsy theme. The desserts all had an element of crunchy texture contrast – which I particularly loved. The flavors were well-balanced.

Singlethread Farm - Interlude between savory and sweet
Interlude between savory and sweet
Singlethread Farm - Buttermilk and Rosemary Sherbet
Buttermilk and Rosemary Sherbet – Rhubarb, Sumac, Sablé Breton
Singlethread Farm - Pecan Ice Cream
Pecan Ice Cream – Cara Cara Orange, Pecan Financier, and Beet
Singlethread Farm - Wagashi
Wagashi – Lavender Chocolate, Japanese Cheesecake, Pineapple Sage

The drink pairings throughout the meal were a variety of whites, light reds, and sake. All the pairings were quite good, with a few being harmonious.

I enjoyed the leisurely pace of the 11-course meal, with total meal time just over three hours. The portions were such that I didn’t feel uncomfortably stuffed like most tasting menus. Though completely unnecessary, we were even able to indulge in the in-room popcorn afterwards (in a special non-toxic popping bag, of course)!

After the meal, we each received a personalized menu, with a different handwritten note from Chef Kyle and Katina. The different notes also reflected the meticulously detailed and warm service that we experienced throughout our meal and stay. SingleThread Farm is an early contender for my top meal of 2018!

Dinner and Drinks Pairing Menu, April 2018

Singlethread Farm - Front row view of the kitchen
Front row view of the kitchen

Breakfast, Day Two

I wasn’t hungry for breakfast the next day (maybe a good thing we didn’t get that hot pot!), but I couldn’t turn down the special spread. This time, we selected the study for our breakfast. Though the decor was a nice change, I preferred the in-room option.

As for the food, I also much preferred the prior days selections. My husband got the English Breakfast – a whimsical, Alice in Wonderful themed homage to Heston Blumenthal. The fluffy scrambled eggs even came out in an iSi canister. Other than the sweet bakewell tart, the food wasn’t my style. The black (blood) pudding was especially not my scene, but I still tried a bite to confirm this.

Singlethread Farm - English Breakfast
English Breakfast – Homage to Heston Blumenthal – Mad Hatter’s Toad in the Hole, Rancho Gordo Beans with Preserved Tomato, Mangalitsa Pork Jowl “Rashers”, Wild Mushrooms, Black Pudding, Alice’s Bakewell Tart, “Drink Me” drink

For my own meal, I chose the Sonoma Breakfast. This was more agreeable, though nothing was standout other than the soft, extra buttery Koji bread. The cheeses were stinky in a way I didn’t appreciate, the granola tasted oxidized, and the yogurt/salad were forgettable. I did enjoy the bright pistachio hummus and the winter fruit.

Singlethread Farm - Sonoma Breakfast
Sonoma Breakfast – Beet and Rhubarb Salad, Slow Boiled Egg, Sonoma Cheeses and Charcuterie, Pistachio Hummus, Pickles, House made Yogurt and Granola, Winter Fruit, Honey from our Farm, and Koji Bread
Singlethread Farm - Breakfast Menu, April 2018
Breakfast Menu, April 2018

Final Thoughts

Though the last meal was the weakest, I left my stay feeling thoroughly impressed and satisfied. I felt that SingleThread Farm excelled as both a restaurant and inn – something I hadn’t felt before at other establishments. We suggested that they open up the farm and R&D for tours. Hopefully we can also experience the farm part of the vision in the future!

I highly recommend the overnight SingleThread Farm experience as a special treat. Kudos to the amazing staff, especially Haley, and to Chef Connaughton for taking time away from meal prep to chat when he saw us checking out. I’m looking forward to a return visit – this time with that hot pot!

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