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Tip of My Tongue: Make a game plan for Taste of Petaluma

I’ll start this week with port, because port is how I try to start everything. Sonoma Portworks and Three Twins Ice Cream are joining forces to offer ice cream and port pairings throughout the month of August. Stop by Sonoma Portworks’ 613 Second St. location any Saturday or Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. to revel in the wonderful flavors of port floats.

Food Events

Chef and author Miyoko Schinner will be at Jamison’s Roaring Donkey on Aug. 17 at 5:30 p.m., signing her newest book, “The Homemade Vegan Pantry.” A devout fan of meats and sweets, I would not normally commit space on something vegan, but thanks to Maggie H., I was recently able to try Schinner’s vegan cheesecake. I must admit that it was better than the normal “passable” ranking I give most vegan ’zerts. Jamison’s will also offer tapas and drink specials during the book event.

Speaking of JRD, they will celebrate their one-year anniversary by hosting the beer garden and after party at this year’s Taste of Petaluma on Aug 22. A culinary walking tour of downtown Petaluma, TOP is the must-attend food event of the year because it gives us the opportunity to try all the new places in town, as well as revisit our old favorites.

My advice? Create a game plan the night before the event because there are too many great menu items to decide on while on the fly. I always print out the map and menu the night before and craft my plan, so that during the event I do not miss anything. For the drinkers, a wine bar will be at the Petaluma Museum and Historic Library at 20 4th St., and a cider and spirits house at Riverfront Art Gallery, 132 Petaluma Blvd. North.

A couple of locations that I never miss are: Everest Indian (yes, I’ll even eat their veggie offerings — vegetarian, apricot or chicken tandoori); McNear’s (great tacos with a flight of three micro brews); Sugo Trattoria (chianti-braised short ribs over Parmesan-sage polenta); and Twisted 2 (Brazilian black bean cassoulet with a sweet potato biscuit. After spending time in Portugal, I always go for a cassoulet).

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Restaurant News

Fourchette has closed its doors. With great breakfasts, delicious and healthy lunches and a wonderful event space, this is quite a loss to the Petaluma food scene, especially to those who live or work on the north side of town. We wish owners/chef Heidi Overman and Melita Reyff all the best and hope to be dining on their food again in the near future.

Wishbone no longer offers normal dinner service, instead choosing to concentrate on farm dinners, special events and classes. But do not worry because Josh and Miriam will still offer the delicious and ultra-locally sourced breakfasts, lunches and weekend brunch service that Petaluma has fallen in love with over the past two years. (Thanks to Don F. for the heads up on these items).

Free Range — Provisions and Eats will conclude its food service later this month. Owner Suzanne will concentrate her food energies more in line with what she loves, which is putting on specialty dinners and the like.

Nothing gives a food purveyor more local street cred than regularly bumping into Molly, the owner of Thistle Meats, when I visit Free Range for lunch. So get over to Free Range right now to experience Suzanne’s flavorful and textural culinary creations, before they are gone. I do not often eat salads, but when I do, it is the silo and seed salad from Free Range. Conversely, I do often eat cookies, but when I do not, it is because Suzanne’s baking sheets were stripped by sweet-toothed customers prior to my arrival.

(You can reach Houston Porter at houston@avant-larde.com with any comments or food related news for upcoming columns.)