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Taste of Petaluma coming this month


The 12th annual Taste of Petaluma will be held on Saturday, Aug. 19 from noon to 3 p.m. around downtown Petaluma. A culinary walking tour of the downtown, with non-downtown restaurants and caterers hosted at various galleries and shops, TOP has several new features this year.

Guests will be able to hop on and off a free trolley that will ferry partygoers between four stops around the downtown. Water Street will host this year’s Beer Garden, which will feature food, beer, and spirit tasting. The Petaluma Historic Library & Museum will again host the dedicated wine garden, with wine, cheese and chocolate.

Live entertainment will abound all around the event, along with kids activities, as well as chair massages at Theater Square. Local author Frances Rivetti will host a meet and greet at Hotel Petaluma, where she will be signing copies of her Fog Valley Crush and Fog Valley Winter books. If you follow my column, you know that I highly recommend these books, both for locals and visitors alike. In fact, this is a great opportunity to get a few books signed to send out to the foodie friends and relatives on your holiday list. Hotel Petaluma will also host the “Caterers Showcase” where guests can sample an array of local caterers.

Tickets are available at www.tasteofpetaluma.org for $40 apiece.

Carnival for a cure

Join the Walk to End Alzheimer folks for an evening of food, music, face painting, a photo booth, and carnival games, like the beer walk and the wine ring toss at Lagunitas Beer Sanctuary, on Tuesday, Aug. 1, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. All beer sales will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. Music by the Pat Jordan Band. Visit Eventbrite for tickets.

Pedal 4 Polio

Rotary International’s Northern California District 5130, which includes the counties of Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Sonoma, Lake and Napa, are hosting a non-competitive 332-mile bike ride, starting in Crescent City on Aug. 14 and ending in Petaluma on Aug. 19. Participants are invited to ride whatever length they are comfortable, or to sponsor a rider if cycling isn’t your thing.

The final leg starts in Cloverdale on Saturday morning and after a relatively flat 50-mile ride through Sonoma County’s pastoral backdrop, ends at Lucchesi Park with festivities for all ages, including food available from two of my favorite food trucks – The Bodega CA, and Gator’s Rustic Burgers. If you can’t join one of the many Petalumans who will be riding the final leg, visit their website to learn how you can donate to the cause by sponsoring a rider. The world is 99.9 percent polio free and with your help, Rotary aims to make it 100 percent. For more info visit www.rotary5130.org/pedal-polio.

Art Night

Barber Cellars tasting room and gallery will host two young Petaluma artists for an evening of wine and art on Tuesday, Aug. 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. Maxfield Bala is a renowned muralist whose graffiti influenced style has catapulted him to national awareness, while Alex Whitehurts is best known for his illustrations and paper art, “whose hand crafted, pop-culture influenced cut outs evoke a shared American experience with precision and style.”

This show is free, and will include wine tasting and bites. All art purchased at the show will be 10 percent off.

Oyster Fest 2017

Petaluma Sunrise Rotary Club announces their second annual Oyster Fest for Saturday, Sept. 30 from noon to 4 p.m., at and in collaboration with Bodega Bay Oyster Company on Valley Ford Road. The event is limited to just 100 tickets, which just went on sale at Eventbrite.com, so slurp them up before they are gone.

Rotarians are known for their great cooking, and Petaluma Sunrise is no exception. Along with all-you-can-eat raw and BBQ Tomales Bay oysters, last year’s menu included pasta with two incredible steamed clam sauces, one white and one red. I am a huge fan of oysters, but it was the pasta that kept me going back for more. This year in addition to oysters, lunch will include a “low country” boil, infused with shrimp, andouille sausage, potatoes and corn.

Tickets are $50 and include live entertainment and your first beverage, with additional drinks available for purchase. Proceeds fund local Rotary projects including Lend a Hand to teachers grants, 5th Tuesday food distribution, COTS bicycle repairs and Rotary’s 3rd Grade dictionary program.

Yanni’s Sausages

There’s big news at Yanni’s this month. First off, the August sausage sandwich is a first-timer, and second, it was created by newcomer Chris Adams-Albrecht, who comes to Yanni’s grill by way of the kitchens at Lagunitas and Wishbone. So, while Johnny is out getting Yanni’s Sausages into restaurants and grocery stores, Chris came up with the Greek Capri for the August special. He starts with Yanni’s Greek Sausage, served on Sweet Italian bread, ten topped with fresh mozzarella and sliced red tomatoes, before receiving a drizzle of balsamic reduction and basil infused olive oil. I can’t think of a better sounding sausage sandwich for the hot temps of August, and can’t believe I’ll have to wait a full week before trying it myself.

Restaurant changes

Joe and Laurie Shea have sold FoodBar. Their last day will be Sunday, July 31, so stop in to wish them a happy retirement. This dynamic duo is responsible for launching so many restaurants throughout Marin and Petaluma, that I’ve lost track, but several of Petaluma’s favorites, both past and present, include Sugo Trattoria, which is still run by the Shea’s daughter and son-in-law, Café Giostra, Blu, and New York Subs. Stay tuned for more info about the new owner(s.)

Dickie’s BBQ is gone. Sure, they were a franchise, owned by a couple out of Vacaville, if I recall correctly, so weren’t super local, but, when we weren’t ducking into Simmer Vietnamese, Pub Republic, Palms or Lemongrass Thai for a quick lunch while running errands or visiting family on the East Side, we would stop into Dickie’s and always enjoyed it.

They even won a third-place trophy from the judges at the Great Petaluma Chili Cook-off, so chain or not, they had some decent food. They smoked their meats in-house, and were supportive of the community through donations to local fundraisers, which is always important to Petalumans. They were also one of the only places with Petaluma Hills Brewing Company’s Red Tag Ale on tap, but they too are gone, so maybe this is simply serendipity.

Traxx is still going strong, contrary to rumors. I have not been in for a while, but hear from readers that they are still serving up good burgers in a pleasant homey environment.

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