dogs dining at restaurants

Dogs Welcome at Solbar in Calistoga

solbar in calistoga

Elizabeth Weintraub at Solbar in Calistoga, sipping a 2007 Sauvignon Blanc from Davis Family Vineyards.

Welcoming dogs at establishments is a trend that just won’t quit, not only at Solbar in Calistoga, but at an ever-growing number of restaurants and hotels. When I stayed at the Grand Hotel in Minneapolis last month to visit my brother before he kicked the bucket, the hotel allowed my sister to bring her dog. I was grateful she brought the little poodle-like dog and not the humongous pitbull with the giant head three sizes larger than my own.

Pets are welcome more places than one would expect. My hairdresser in Midtown Sacramento brings her dog to work, although he mostly just sleeps on a bed on the floor. If I didn’t work so much as a Sacramento Realtor that it would be entirely unfair to a dog to live with me, I would definitely keep a dog or two around the house. So, it’s not like I do not like dogs, I’ve been a mom to a wide assortment of dogs over the years, from tiny Yorkshire Terriers to a Great Pyrenees. What I don’t especially enjoy when I’m about to dip into my Hawaiian hamachi with watermelon radish drizzled with a shoyu vinaigrette is to catch a strong whiff of a pair of dogs who had just walked 3 miles to get here. The odor assault the senses.

Solbar in Calistoga

Adam Weintraub gives a thumbs up to 2007 Dusinberre Malbec at Solbar

But then, I glanced over at the table near the entrance and there sat a sad looking man, all by himself, with his hands clasped around a goldfish bowl. His eyes said he had once considered dropped it raw down his throat when it refused, in a goldfish stubborn way, to do backflips to amuse, but his mouth whispered “separation anxiety.” Hey, it’s OK to bring your goldfish to dinner at Solbar in Calistoga.

By the time our waiter delivered my 2012 Sauvignon blanc from Davis Family Vineyard, the pair of dogs next to our table had moved into the shade, thank goodness. But, then, at the table to my left sat a woman dressed in pink satin with her dark hair piled high on her head, cuddling her pet boa constrictor, which she proudly displayed around her neck. Its head rested on her shoulder, as though perhaps the snake had experienced too much excitement for one day or maybe he was intoxicated by that woman’s perfume. When he woke up, he must have accidentally strangled her, because his mistress had suddenly slipped from her chair and slid under the table. The waiters swiftly dragged her away before anybody else could notice.

Behind us sat a millennial couple. The male sported a turtle on his head, which he wore like a hat, and the female half of this couple petted the cockatoo on her shoulder, making sweet kissy noises at it until the bird bit her lip. She promptly waterboarded the bird. Didn’t think twice. Shocking to witness. I kid you not. Perfectly good waste of the 2007 Dusinberre Malbec; not to mention its inky color stained the poor thing’s feathers; I’m fairly certain it won’t wash out.

Solbar in Calistoga

Short haired wire fox terrier is welcome at Solbar in Calistoga

My favorite dog at dinner at Solbar in Calistoga by a long shot was the short haired wire fox terrier, who looked like a mix between a calico cat and Conan O’Brien. He was everybody’s favorite. Later we spotted this dog in front of  Mount View Hotel and Spa on Lincoln, where a long line of tourists had huddled in front of him.

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