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Wine Country Holiday Crawl: The Barlow in Sebastopol
If you’re looking for unique, artisanal and locally-made gifts this season to place under the tree, stuff stockings, or give a host or hostess, plan on heading to The Barlow in Sebastopol. In this community of makers, you’ll find a diverse range of art, décor, fashion and wine, plus plenty of cozy eateries to fuel your excursion.
At Tamarind, you’ll find highly-curated, beautiful fashions, jewelry and accessories handcrafted by local artisans. I especially loved the stunning leather handbags designed by Chantel Garayalde, like the clutch-turned-handbag below with iPad and iPod pockets inside. Each of the bags features a unique metal emblem, upcycled from handmade brass belt buckles ca. the 1970s, finished with pyrite, fresh water pearls, or stained glass. The bags represent owner Andrea Kenner's merchandising philosophy that all of her products "have a reason to exist. They're in style everywhere, but stilll grounded and humble." Be the first to own or gift these bags; the Garayalde brand doesn’t officially launch until January 2014.
At Tamarind, you’ll also find stocking stuffers for the men in your life - think color-block skinny ties and beard oil. Monday through Saturday (except Tuesday), 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., 180 Morris Street #170, Sebastopol.
At Tibetan Gallery & Studio, watch Tibetan master artist Tashi Dhargyal create a two-story high, 15 ft. x 20 ft. thanbhochi, a large-scale version of a thangka Buddhist scroll painting. Dhargyal uses hand ground mineral pigments and 24k gold to paint this epic work, estimated to take four more years to complete.
Another fascinating piece of traditional Tibetan art on display is an intricate Tara Sand Mandala, painstakingly created by the Monks of Drepung Gomang with millions of grains of multi-colored sand. These mandalas of benevolent deities confer positive energies to those who view it. Bring home the positive karma with smaller thangka scrolls or beautiful Fair Trade scarves available for sale. Open Wednesday through Sunday, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. 6770 McKinley Street #130, Sebastopol.
The Barlow includes top-notch artisanal wineries, brewers and spirits makers, most of whom are open to the public and offer tastings. Sebastopol is in the heart of food-friendly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir country and La Follette Wines and Miramar Estates represent some of the best producers of these wines. Greg La Follette’s respect for the land is exemplified in the portraits of growers that fill the tasting room and expressed most clearly in the purity of fruit of the 2011 La Follette Sangiacomo Pinot Noir ($40), an excellent gift wine. Open daily 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., 180 Morris Street #160, Sebastopol
You’ll spot Marimar Estate’s tasting room easily thanks to Patrick Amiot’s whimsical sculpture out front of Marimar Torres' English Springer Spaniel, Chico, riding a bike. Amiot’s sculpture of Chico represents the family’s boundless love of Wine Country, as well as its Spanish roots, with the colors of Spain woven into Chico’s shirt. The Torres family is one of Spain’s largest wine producers, widely recognized for leading quality innovations and for popularizing international varieties like Chardonnay, in Spain. Open daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., 6780 McKinley Street, Sebastopol.
For a warm cup of freshly brewed organic coffee during this cold December, cozy up in the rustic farmhouse space of Taylor Maid Farms. There’s plenty of room to lounge in this two-story space, with upstairs seating for a group of 30 at harvest tables or counters where one can watch - and smell - the coffee production in the back or catch up on messages. Great stocking stuffers include their seasonal Winter Harvest Roast, a full-bodied coffee with notes of blackberries, cocoa and spice, or their variety of organic loose-leaf teas. Monday through Thursday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., until 9 p.m. Friday through Saturday, Sunday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 6790 McKinley Street #130, Sebastopol.
Savor or Stash
Epitomizing local flavors and culinary values of “knowing the face that feeds you”, Duskie Estes and John Stewart can be found most days at Zazu Kitchen + Farm. Look for a flavorful range of starters, pastas and hearty mains, served up in relaxed ambiance.
For the pork lover on your list, pick up some delicious stocking stuffers like piggypops (bacon toffee lollipops), chicharrone peanut butter cups or heritage breed Black Pig Meat Co. bacon packs, house-cured on premise by salumist John Stewart, or Black Bacon logo gifts such as caps and t-shirts. Open for dinner on Monday, lunch and dinner Wednesday through Friday, and brunch through dinner on weekends, check website for hours. 6770 McKinley Street #150, Sebastopol
Woodfour Brewing Company is not only an on-site artisanal brewer, but a full restaurant offering an interesting, beer-friendly menu sectioned into bites, plants, animals and sweets. Consider braised pork belly with sunchokes and pickled mustard with the Sour Farmhouse Ale. If you’re looking for a break for beer tasting, Woodfour offers a tantalizing flight of five beers for $8 that you can sip leisurely at the bar while gazing at the brewmasters at work. Open daily, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. 6780 Depot Street, Sebastopol
For information on the full list of artisans open at The Barlow and to keep abreast of new openings, visit The Barlow website.