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Petaluma Valentine’s Day dining guide

With all of the fabulous dining options in Petaluma, it won’t be hard to find a romantic spot for Valentine’s Day. Jamison’s Roaring Donkey, Pongo’s, the Shuckery, Della Fattoria and Seared are among the Petaluma favorites that will offer a special menu on Valentine’s Day, which is Tuesday, for those that might have forgotten.

Although I’m not a big fan of the overblown commercialism that has engulfed Valentine’s Day, I make an exception for special restaurant menus because dining out is an experience, which you’ll remember long after the cards have faded and the bouquets have wilted.

Jamison’s Roaring Donkey pays homage to the seven deadly sins from 4:30-9:30 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, with a seven-course sensory and interactive cocktail experience. JRD wants to keep the menu somewhat of a surprise, but will be posting hints and teasers to their Facebook and Instagram pages throughout the week. But with descriptions like Margarita Raviolis and Cosmopolitan Popcorn, the flavor and texture combos are sure to please. Tickets are $50 per person and seating is limited and by reservation only, so visit JRD in person or call 415-806-2664 to get your spot.

Pongo’s will have live music with Kevin Durkin and offer specials, including Thai Style Surf & Turf (prawns, lobster and thinly sliced steak marinated in lemongrass and garlic, grilled and served with house salad and steamed jasmine rice) and fresh salmon Panang curry, seared ahi salad with a ginger soy vinaigrette and a ribeye served with Pongo’s famous Jack Daniels whiskey peppercorn sauce. For dessert there is warm lava fudge cake a la mode and warm sweet sticky rice served with coconut ice cream. Pongo’s regular menu will also be available.

Della Fattoria will offer a five-course dinner for $95, starting with apple gelee (with shaved fennel and herb bouquet), served with a glass of bubbly from Gloria Ferrer. Next up is raviolo (of ranch egg yolk and ricotta, chanterelle mushrooms, topped with a brown butter-sage sauce), then seared scallops (with carnaroli risotto and English peas and carrots), followed by filet of beef (with cabernet reduction, blue cheese potato pave and asparagus), before landing at dessert of chocolate mousse cake (with raspberry coulis.) The first seating is at 5:30 p.m. and last seating is at 8:30 p.m.

The Shuckery still has Valentine’s Day reservations available, with part of the proceeds going to benefit Sonoma County’s YWCA Encore Program, a two-year supportive services initiative, aimed at helping victims of domestic violence.

Seared will run a prix fixe menu, starting with soup or salad and ending with either dark chocolate mousse or vanilla bean tres leches, which is one of the best desserts I have ever tasted. Prices are based on which main dish you choose from Surf ‘n Turf, McFarland Spring trout, shrimp and grits, day boat scallops, Liberty Farm duck Confit, butternut squash gnocchi, Flannery beef filet mignon, Akaushi Wagyu hanger steak, Akaushi Wagyu ribeye, and “Prime” prime rib.

Sax’s Joint may not be open for dinner, but the ladies at Sax’s Joint are still getting into the spirit with heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast, along with all their other great breakfast fare.

Valentine’s chocolate and wine

Keller Estates offers a romantic decadent sit-down chocolate and wine pairing experience Feb. 10 to 12, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sonoma Chocolatiers will bring custom chocolates, designed to compliment Keller’s wines. Tickets are $60 per couple, with discounts for wine club members, and are available at www.kellerestate.com.

Gluten-Free warehouse sale

On Saturday, Feb. 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Pizzio’s Gluten-Free Bakery, KaDea’s and Liberty 5 will hold another gluten-free warehouse sale at their 431 Payran Street location. I attended last time, picking up a lot of gluten-free treats for a co-worker and have heard back that everything was wonderful, especially the pre-cooked spaghetti packs, which she swears is as good as any she has had.

I also tried a few of the scones, muffins and cookies and can honestly say that the gap in flavor between gluten-free and gluten-full foods has become almost indistinguishable. Warehouse neighbor Mariposa Ice Cream will also be holding an event at the same time, in addition to being open on Friday.

Crab feeds

If you are like me, you still haven’t gotten your fill of the North Coast’s most delicious delight, the Dungeness crab. Thankfully, there are still a few local crab feeds left before the feed season is over.

Next up is the Petaluma Woman’s Club (www.petalumawomansclub.com) feed on Feb. 10. Yours truly will be in attendance, not only devouring tons of crustaceans, but will also be crying the raffles and live auction. The $50 ticket price includes beer, wine, soda and the outrageously delicious “Better than Sex” cake for dessert. They also provide melted butter, so you can leave your butter melting kit at home.

On Feb. 11, you have two feeds to choose from, one in Penngrove and one in Petaluma. The Penngrove Social Fireman’s (www.penngrovesocialfiremen.org) feed will be at the Penngrove Community Club House. Tickets are $45 and are available at JavaAmore Café, 10101 Main St, Penngrove, or by calling 794-1516.

On that same night, the Petaluma Sons of Italy will hold their feed at the Lucchesi Center. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased from Don DeCarli by calling 486-4085.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Rotary Club of Petaluma’s Feb. 24 feed at the Petaluma Vets Hall. Tickets are $65 and are available at www.petalumarotary.org. Along with the great food, they will have a raffle rumored to award huge cash prizes in excess of $10,000, plus a live auction to support the Miracle League North Bay.

Winning brew launch

TAPS will introduce the long anticipated Pow Pow Coffee Stout on Saturday, Feb. 11 at noon at their 54 East Washington St. riverside location. This beer was created by Rick Paauwe and Kyle Hebert and was brewed for the first time on a large scale with the help of 101 North Brewing Company.

Pow Pow Coffee Stout won last year’s Sonoma County Home Brewer’s Competition, which is sponsored by TAPS, the Petaluma Downtown Association, and 101 North Brewing Company. The 2016 runner up was Galaxy Double IPA (Jeff Kohl and Trevor Perry), followed by (in no particular order), Mid Night Black IPA (Darren Koop and Andrew Willis), Day Walker (James Patterson and Eric Theriot), and Tingley’s Double IPA (Daniel Tingley.) The 2017 Sonoma County Home Brewer’s Competition date and location should be announced shortly.

Petaluma Hills Canned

Petaluma Hills Brewing Company has completed their first canning. Six-packs of their 16-ounce cans of Line & Twine IPA are available at the taproom for $14, but will roll out to neighborhood shops in a week or two. Fans should check Petaluma Hill’s website for future cannings, as well as the next much anticipated Homebroots event, which will feature Bob Peak’s Dark Energy, which both Bob and JJ brewed side by side on their own homebrew equipment. Both will be available in the taproom later this month, with proceeds going to Peak’s non-profit of choice, Cinnabar Theater.

Beer pop-up party

101 North Brewing will host Austin Perkins Catering’s launch party on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 3-8 p.m. Perkins was the former executive chef at Nick’s Cove, where we recently spent a delightful late afternoon enjoying a wide array of excellent menu items, from oysters to chowder to fish and chips, in large part thanks to Perkins’ work over the past couple of years.

Perkins will be serving up some delicious food at the 101 North tap room, including a half-dozen barbecued or raw oysters and a beer of your choice for $16. There will also be three or four other small plates and beer pairing combos to choose from, including shrimp and Gouda quesadillas and short rib Banh Mi sandwiches.

(Contact Houston Porter at houston@avant-larde.com.)