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Of Note: March Mustard Season Madness (and More)

by Trevor Felch

These final days of winter are the perfect time for a Wine Country trip to catch the splendid mustard blooms in Napa Valley or a fascinating audio tour of a vineyard in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. And if you need a little pre-spring-break break, then take note of a new luxury jet service from SFO to Cabo or Aspen.

Photo courtesy of John Troxell.

Very Starry Night

It’s pretty rare to enjoy a dinner with fiveMichelin stars involved—but that’s the case in Healdsburg on Thursday, March 31. Chefs JP and Ellia Park of New York’s two-star, modern Korean stalwart Atomix will collaborate with chefs Kyle and Katina Connaughton of threestar SingleThread for a 10-course tasting menu featuring dishes from both restaurants.

Mustard-Lover Must

Napa Valley’s natural scenery shines this time of year because it’s peak mustard season, which typically runs from January through March. Visit Napa Valley as well as Carneros Resort and Spa created a very helpful map for finding the best spots to view the spectacular yellow blooms. And if you stay at the resort during mustard season, there are several specials and events, like the charcuterie board class on Saturday, March 5, held in its culinary gardens.

For the Jet Set

Whether you’re in the mood for Cabo sun or Aspen slopes, there’s a new semi-private jet option to get you from San Francisco to both destinations. Aero’s 16-seat, all-first-class flights leave from a private SFO terminal. A concierge team helps ensure the experience is seamless, from pre-trip planning to your preferred cocktail in the air.

Listen to the Vines: Skip the typical sit-down wine tasting and head to Medlock Ames winery’s bucolic Bell Mountain Ranch for its recently unveiled 90-minute Immersive Sound Experience. Guests explore the Alexander Valley vineyard, olive tree grove, woodlands and garden on a self-guided tour narrated by local sound artist Hugh Livingston. The experience concludes with a tasting of five wines paired with regional cheeses.

Friendly Dinner Competition: After a pandemic hiatus, the InterContinental San Francisco will hold its 11th annual Culinary Clash on the final three Mondays of the month at its restaurant, Luce. The competition, which serves as a scholarship fundraiser, features Bay Area culinary students creating three-course menus.

Making Waves in a Legendary Venue: It’s been a tough two pandemic years for Union Square. But there’s some good news thanks to the recent opening of Ula in the iconic underwater-themed Art Deco space that previously housed Farallon. Ula’s chef Ryan Simas — who previously cooked at Farallon and L.A.’s Spago — serves a seafood-heavy Mediterranean menu.

A Traditional Taste of Mexico: For the rest of the month, SoMa’s charming Merkado is the rare San Francisco restaurant offering one of the most festive, historic dishes of Mexico’s cuisine: chiles en nogada. The presentation — in the colors of the Mexican flag — features a poblano chile filled with Impossible chorizo “meat,” in a pool of walnut cream sauce with a generous garnish of pomegranate seeds.

Eat, Drink, Fundraise in Sonoma: March 31 through April 3, the V Foundation for Cancer Research will host its inaugural Sonoma Epicurean weekend — complete with elaborate dinners, unique local food and wine experiences, and lavish evening afterparties. Guests can purchase tickets for the long weekend or individual days.

A Not-So-Secret Peninsula Speakeasy: Reservation-only Wunderbar is a cozy, underground establishment — complete with built-in bookcases and tufted banquette seating, as well as a semi-private room called The Nook — that focuses on classic cocktails, along with fresh interpretations of them. Although situated beneath Wursthall restaurant, the bar has no food menu — just complimentary popcorn.

Toast to a Good Cause: The Napa Valley Vintners replaced its annual Auction Napa Valley fundraiser with a new initiative, Collective Napa Valley. The year-round concept — which means more charitable opportunities — merges a passion for wine with philanthropy that benefits the Napa community. The debut event, called “Welcome to the Collective,” takes place on Thursday, March 24, and features a virtual wine tasting during a live 60-minute program.

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