Smoked maple-glazed bacon served with house-made pickles at Root 246. (Root 246)

On a recent girlfriends weekend, I had a wonderful experience at the chef's table at Root 246 in Solvang, Calif. For $88 each, we were treated to a multicourse chef-designed meal with wine (or beer) pairings. Chef Seth Nelson and his staff could not have been more welcoming. Dining in the kitchen was a fun first. The food and wine were excellent, and the experience was first rate.

Root 246, 420 Alisal Road, Solvang, Calif.; (805) 686-8681,

Jane Kimball

Ladera Ranch