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Taste of Petaluma celebrates local flavors


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For the fourth year in a row, Sonoma Coast Spirits will pour perfect summer cocktails at the Taste of Petaluma, on Aug. 19, from noon to 3 p.m. at the wine and cocktail lounge, located at the Petaluma Historic Library. A huge hit at the recent Art & Garden Festival, Sonoma Coast Spirits will pour Spritz Cocktails and the Angry Mule, which uses their very own Jalapeno Lime Vodka to give their version of the Mule a bit of a kick.

Also added to the lineup, local food personality Laurie Figone, will be signing copies of her cookbooks alongside fellow Petaluma food author Frances Rivetti in the ballroom of Hotel Petaluma. Laurie Figone is currently ranked 68th on the World Food Championship rankings, and with sponsorship help from Door County Coffee, will return to this fall’s Championship to compete yet again.

My only ranking in regards to these two inspiring women is that I’m their number one fan, so when asked to joined them at the meet and greet, I jumped at the opportunity, because any time I get to spend with these two is like a little slice of paradise. So, please stop by and say hi during your ventures around the Taste of Petaluma map, and tell me about your most recent dining experience and which restaurants you think I should write about next.

Petaluma festival celebrates tripe

True Grass Farms, in conjunction with Petaluma Friends of the River, looks to revisit Petaluma’s rich culinary heritage with the first of what they hope will be many Old World celebrations of local food and music with a Sagra Della Trippa.

Sagra is a traditional Italian festival, usually revolving around a particular food that is local and in season, and will often include local sports, music, and inevitably, dancing. For those traveling in Italy, attending a Sagra is one of the best ways to not only sample great local cuisine but also to meet the townsfolk and learn about their traditions.

The August theme is tripe, which for the uninitiated is stomach lining. It is not only abundant this time of year, as many of our local cattle are being harvested, but is a protein that is celebrated from Poland to Peru, Morocco to Mexico, and Jamaica to Japan, for soups, sausages, and sometimes straight up grilled. Considering cows have four stomachs, it makes sense that cultures looking to avoid food waste would have found ways to incorporate tripe into their regular diet.

In fact, the main ingredient in traditional Andouille sausage is tripe, so even if you think you’ve never had it, you likely have. And with The Bodega – CA’s incredible Chef Matt Elias at the helm, the menu is certain to be a treat, and will feel less an experiment and more like exploring incredible new avenues of fine dining.

“We are trying to empower people to think of the local food system as it relates to this region’s culinary culture and our own family heritage,” says Guido Frosini, owner of True Grass Farms. “Sagra reminds us what foods are abundant during the year. We chose tripe as our first Sagra because of its abundance at the end of August, as we round out the area’s grass-finishing season for beef. With the slaughter house just up river, we want to connect the dots from farm to processing, to kitchen, to table. All cultures have some version of cooked tripe, so we want to show how it can be cooked in delicious ways so that people will see just how accessible it is.”

If successful, their goal is to put on more Sagre, including a couple of fall classics, such as a Sagra del Cinghiale (wild boar) and a Sagra dei Funghi (wild mushroom Sagra).

Tickets are reasonably priced, in order to get the hesitant to give tripe a try, but as mentioned already, it’s quite likely that you’ve actually eaten tripe before, but simply didn’t know it. For $20 (kids 10 and under are free), help celebrate our unique local culture by attending and enjoying Chef Elias’s new take on an old classic.

Taraf De Locos will build upon the theme with Balkan music that will get all of our feet moving on the dance floor as Old World meets new at this summer Barn Dance on Saturday, Aug. 26, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the David Yearsley River Heritage Center at Steamer Landing Park, friendsofthepetalumariver.org.

Stemple Creek BBQ

If you’d prefer to wander the grassy hills of West Marin than the streets of downtown Petaluma on Aug. 19, head out to Stemple Creek Ranch for their “Open House & BBQ” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This family friendly event at Stemple Creek’s beautiful West Marin property is both educational and delicious. The event starts with an informative ranch tour, where guests learn about more than just cows.

Stemple Creek is at the forefront of a food and ecological revolution where producing food goes hand in hand with caring for our farmlands. They are not only supplying locals with healthy meats, but are also helping sustain and nurture the land for future generations. A barbecue lunch featuring Stemple Creek’s juicy grass fed beef burgers will finish out the afternoon. Tickets must be purchased in advance as there are no sales on the day of the event. $25 for adults, $10 for kids 3-10, and free for kids 2 and under. Stemplecreek.com.

Cheese masters

Barber Cellars holds their biggest, but alas their last cheesemaker’s gala of the year on Friday, Sept. 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. at their tasting room, and spilling out into the neighboring lobby of the Hotel Petaluma. Four of the North Bay’s heaviest hitters will be on hand, offering everything from triple cream bries and legendary blues, to raw milk, aged classics and sheep’s milk delicacies. Along with Cowgirl Creamery, Point Reyes Farmstead, Bleating Heart and Bellwether Farms, Farm Chocolates will be sampling their local chocolates.

All cheesemakers will be on hand to answer questions and take guests through the journey of their cheeses. The $35 ticket price includes two glasses of Barber Cellars’ wine, and all the cheese, chocolate, crackers and salumi you can handle. There is a limited quantity of tickets so get yours soon at barbercellars.com.

On the road again

Road Butler has launched their new website, as well as a new pricing structure in order to cater more to a lunchtime crowd. Turning every restaurant into a delivery restaurant, now a lunchtime delivery is only $10, which makes ordering out a no-brainer if you are rushed for time. Whether ordering a couple salads from Lunchette, an excellent burger or two from Luma, or any of Juan’s spectacular menu items at Quinua, split between a couple of coworkers this lunchtime office delivery is easy. After 3 p.m. the price increases to a still reasonable $13, which for a family dinner delivery is next to nothing.

Road Butler has even started offering general delivery service. Add a second stop to your original order, such as a pickup from a second restaurant, a liquor store, or a convenience store, and it’s only an additional $5. Grocery service is also available for $15, although that’s limited to 10 items or less. And local in-town courier service, such as parcel deliveries, dry cleaning pick-up, bank deposits, post office or office supply runs are also available.

As an occasional user, I can attest to the accuracy of Road Butler’s 5-star rating on Yelp. Owner Mark Urenga’s customer service is phenomenal and is exactly what we like to support here in Petaluma. Visit www.deliverpetaluma.com for more info.

Bankers’ hours

The Seed Bank offers “The best place for the best seeds” and is currently looking for a new part-time employee. They’d like you to have gardening knowledge, along with some customer service experience. Not surprisingly, they’d also like you to be passionate about non-GMOs and organic gardening. Bonus points will be given if you are familiar with Baker Creek’s seeds and/or speak conversational Spanish. seedbank@rareseeds.com.

Pop-up party

TAPS hosts a pop-up party to benefit the Petaluma Education Foundation on Thursday, Aug. 10, from 6 to 9 p.m. If you haven’t had Chef Abe’s cooking in a while, you have been missing out, as I’ve seen their smoker puffing away on a regular basis.

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