Trip date: October 2022
The last time I went to Mendocino with my friend Aaron, it was during a pandemic, I had to drive 818 miles, and we ate outside on the deck at Michelin-starred Harbor House.
This time I flew down to Santa Rosa, had a house rental with friends Aaron and Albert, and ate inside at the Harbor House... twice!
I started off in the Alaska Lounge, which is so great for breakfast and a mimosa before flying out of SeaTac. I had checked my bag because I was bringing some cocktail makings so I didn't even realize until I was onboard that this wasn't the small prop plane I was used to for the flight to STS. This time I was on on new Max 737-800 and was even upgraded to Premium!
STS airport is going through some major renovations and at the time I was there baggage claim was outside under a tent! Aaron and Albert met me to wait for my bag to come off a small truck and then we headed to Unti Vineyard for a tasting.
I've been a big fan of Unti for years but I hadn't visited in a long time. They have a lovely new-to-me tasting room; no more sipping in the warehouse! We grabbed a picnic table outside, as the guys had picked up sandwiches from Loveski Deli for our lunch, and had a delicious time eating, drinking, and catching up.
It was a 2-hour drive from Sonoma to our Airbnb in tiny town of Manchester. But most of it is through gorgeous redwoods! Once the redwoods end, the road twists and turns along the stunning Mendocino County coastline. It's truly such a beautiful drive!
We had a big 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house, right on the cliffs overlooking the sea, with a full length deck and a hot tub. The house had a real 70s vibe (think paneling and bronze fixtures) but the views made up for the lack of modern decor.
Dinner that night was in the small town of Arena at Izakaya Gama, which is owned by some friend's of Aarons. Albert's and Aaron's friends from LA, Amy and Lena, met us and we basically ordered the entire menu. The food here is fantastic! If you are in the area, I'd say it is a do-not-miss. Trout sashimi, chawanmushi with the sweetest uni, karaage, and this amazing strawberry "shaved ice" dessert were highlights for me. But really, everything was awesome!
Back out the house we tried out the hot tub and took in the incredible sky full of stars. It had been a great first day!
The next morning was Monday and as this was a working trip we were all on our laptops for a while. Just before lunch, Aaron, Amy, Lena, and I went for a great walk on Irish Beach. It's a beautiful stretch of sand and no one else was there, except for a sea lion!