LIKE SO MANY SPRING BUDS: The ice-melting-iest, leaf-growing-iest of all the seasons is one often described as "making the blood run" or "raising one's temperature and spirit." However you term it, springtime is very much about the notion of awakening, again, for another year, after the somnolent, stay-in, hibernate-plenty days of winter (even in California where "wintertime" is sometimes just a suggestion). Much of that awakening involves seeing new things popping up. Not just buds and little lime-green leaves and furry cones and baby animals, though those are all plenty springy. More outings mean more chances to see fresh stuff in the places you love, and one of those lovable places is getting a lot of fresh stuff, at least in terms of its restaurant scene. It's Healdsburg we speak of, and, yes, we did assume it's among the places you love, because, hey, Healdsburg. A stroll through town is a temperature-raising, spirit-coaxing event, and more so in the spring when you see a clutch of new eateries (like a clutch of new roses on a hillside). Where will you be eating now that the warmer weather is nearly here? Try these new-to-the-town spots, spots like...
VALETTE: If you know Dry Creek Kitchen, you know Chef Dustin Valette. His newest outing is just a quick walk from the plaza and is co-helmed by Aaron Garzini, Mr. Valette's brother. On the menu? Crispy skin local sable fish, a chocolate dessert featuring mousse and broken meringue, and a "trust me" tasting menu (that's what it is, in fact, cheekily called).
WILD FLOWERS SALOON: If you need live tunes and a chillaxable space (surely chillaxable is a Healdsburg-appropriate word), then make for the fresh spot from spousal team Vivian and Howard Flowers. Shall there be ribs, burgers, and other hearty Americana-type grub? There shall be and is (plus a nice line-up of fancy cocktails, too.
THE TEA LOUNGE: A recently debuted lounge at The Taste of Tea means that if you need a little liquid pick-me-up before driving home -- always a fine idea after a lazy-day idyll 'round Healdsburg -- you can get it in hot cup form. And relax, too, while sipping an Emerald, which is "matcha shaken with coconut milk and Sonoma mint" complete with a mint sugar rim. Yum.