Boozy gift options from Petaluma producers

Tip of my tongue: Houston Porter’s weekly round up of food and restaurant news|

Sonoma Coast Spirits has introduced several new holiday libations, including Pumpkin Spice Vodka, Peppermint Vodka and Peanut Butter Whiskey. I recently had the opportunity to try these and as always with SCS’s spirits, found them to be smoother than I was expecting. I am not much of a spirit drinker, but was able to sample these straight from the bottle off a room temperature counter top (from a glass, of course) without even making a face, which is rare for me when it comes to booze sampling. They have also expanded their olive oil, adding bacon olive oil alongside Meyers lemon and Persian lime infused olive oils.

In collaboration, Mariposa Ice Creamery has joined forces with Sonoma Coast Spirits to introduce a fun holiday two-pack of boozy-flavored ice creams. For this “Holiday Boozy Pint Duos,” which come in a gift box, choose from peanut butter whiskey, dark chocolate peppermint vodka, chocolate cherry cordial (brandy) and one of their stalwarts since day one, brandy caramel. Mariposa is offering curbside pick-up but encourages opting for home delivery as it is safer for everyone and you don’t run the risk of forgetting you have ice cream in your car and possibly running your errands in the wrong order. Flavors are online for order. And along with pints and quarts, Mariposa will have the ever popular, but only seasonally available, chocolate-dipped peppermint bars. Delivers can be scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday of Thanksgiving week, as well as on Thanksgiving itself, until noon.

Wine pairings

Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance released its final three Thanksgiving recipes paired with local pinot noirs over the weekend. At the beginning of the month PGap posted recipes submitted directly from the winemakers along with that winery’s suggested pairing. The list came out in alphabetical order and included Adobe Road Wines’ Mrs. B’s Lemon Thyme Roasted Turkey; Bruliam Wines’ tangy cranberry relish; Dutton-Goldfield Winery’s leek and mushroom croquettes; Ernest Vineyards’ tray-baked ratatouille and roast beef tenderloin; Keller Estate’s turkey breast roulade stuffed with cranberries and pecans and the braised turkey thigh with caramelized leeks, carrots and celery; McEvoy Ranch’s artichoke spinach dip and Ron Noble Wines’ Yun’s chanterelles, done two ways. For the wine-pairings, check the Facebook page or head to and sign up for the newsletter. The final three recipes are Sangiacomo Family Wine’s Nonni Maria Julia's Raviolli and Short Rib Gravy paired with their 2017 Robert Road pinot noir; Thirty-Seven Wines’ Wild Mushroom, Sausage and Parmesan Sourdough Stuffing paired with the 2016 Reserve pinot noir; and Trombetta Family Wines’ Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta paired with the 2016 Gap's Crown pinot noir.

While on this topic, here is a great example of why it is doubly rewarding to support our local wineries. Sure, we get great wine, but these wineries then turn around and give back whenever and wherever they can. Through Dec. 5, Keller Estate is holding its annual coat drive, collecting clean, likely used winter coats to benefit the Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco. Visitors who participate will receive a two for the price of one tasting. Reservations are required for visits to the winery and can be done at under the “visit” tab.

Barber Cellars is currently offering one-off custom label printing for its 2018 Gray Haven pinot noir, an excellent wine that we enjoyed recently when paired with Street Social for a collaboration dinner. And I am not talking here about having to order an entire case with identical messages on each bottle. You can order a single bottle with whatever personal message you would like, so long as it fits. Never short on humor, an example listed on the website reads, “Glad you’re on the team! See you at the Christmas Party. -Nakatomi Corp.,” a reference to the original “Die Hard” movie, which many consider an unsung hero of Christmas movies.

Thanksgiving add-ons

For those that missed last week’s Thanksgiving dinner article, you may be running out of time. Several eateries have already sold out, which in a way is great news. Over on Petaluma Foodies we had a few grinches who claimed Thanksgiving was absolutely ruined because they didn’t get their order placed in time, but the majority of the crowd immediately pointed out that if you can afford a fancy Thanksgiving dinner from a restaurant or caterer you already have a lot to be thankful for. But also we should be happy to see so much great support for our local restaurants and caterers. Holiday meals like Thanksgiving and Christmas are about all they have to make up for all those holiday party cancellations.

New baker in town

That said, a late-comer to this year’s list is brand new Petaluma home bakery, Pane di Vero. Although I’m sure the name refers to the owner, Veronica Herico, the direct translations leaves a bit to the imagination. “Pane di” means “bread of”, and so presumably the name stands for Bread of Veronica or Veronica’s Bread. However, I did a quick Google translate search of “vero” and found that it means “true.” I haven’t gotten a chance to ask Veronica directly, but knowing her passion for baking and her penchant for using quality ingredients, “bread of truth” or “true bread” would be appropriate names too. Veronica’s production is limited at present, offering only bi-monthly orders with a nice variety of breads, bagels, pizza dough, pretzels and a few sweets. However she is currently offering a special pre-order Thanksgiving special menu available with day-before-Thanksgiving deliveries in Sonoma, Marin and San Francisco counties. So, if you want to leave the baking to Veronica, check our here great menu of rolls, breads and desserts at If not sold out yet, in the savory category Veronica offers rolls by the half and full dozen in spelt and rye, flaky Levain and Bavarian pretzel. And for sweets, there are apple pecan galettes, sweet potato pie galettes with almond streusel, chocolate babka and (one of my favorites) apple cider donuts, in both cinnamon sugar and apple glaze.

Baking discounts

While on the topic of baking, Veronica’s alma matter, so to speak, is holding a fall baking sale for all of us home bakers. When shopping online at Petaluma’s Central Milling, which is part of the same family with Keith Giusto Bakery Supply and the Artisan Baking Center, enter “FALLBAKING” and receive 25% off all flours and grains.

Little Hill Italian Restaurant

Thanks to Petaluma Good Egg Lyndi Brown for the heads up on the passing of Peter Charles Musso. Peter was born in Petaluma in the twenties to Italian immigrants and after returning from his service during WWII, opened the Little Hill Italian Restaurant and Supper Club in downtown Petaluma. Although that was before my time, I know it was very popular during its time, drawing guests from all over the Bay Area. Find the full obituary in the Press Democrat online.

Donors beware

Also from the Press Democrat, by way of Lyndi Brown, was a disturbing story in the Monday, Nov. 11 edition by Phil Barber detailing some of the trouble that local nonprofits are having with the ticket vendor Brown Paper Tickets. Our very own Penngrove Social Fireman had a very successful July 5 barbecue fundraiser and has yet to see the nearly $850 owed to them. I do not know what the solution is but for the time being, if you can buy your fundraiser tickets directly from the organization, I recommend that you do.

New newsletter

Speaking of local nonprofits doing their darndest to help those in need, Una-Vida has an announcement and a request. Their announcement is that they have grown to a size, thanks to all you volunteers and donors, that they felt it was appropriate to put out a newsletter so that everyone could stay on top of things. Those who are interest can sign up at To those who don’t know this name yet, it is the organization that Lynne Gordon Moquete started two decades ago in order to help those in need, both in our community and in the Dominican Republic.

For a quick insight into the organization, here is something from their website. “A few weeks ago a little boy and his mother came to Una Vida’s Emergency Garage Pantry. The boy, not more than 7 years old, opened up the refrigerator in the garage and proclaimed, in the most surprised and sincere voice, ‘Look mama, this refrigerator has food!’ With that, the mom and I started crying, both taken back with his most genuine observation. With our Garage Pantry I always orient people to the food available and then leave them alone to ‘shop.’ About 20 minutes later I was surprised to hear a small knock at the door. The little boy had asked his mom if he could give the stone heart that his grandmother gave to him to me — to say thank you for the food. That is what we do at Una Vida — one of the things I am most proud of — our person to person love and care for one another. Of course, none of this would be possible without the team of people that volunteer to make the magic happen.”

And while on the topic of Una-Vida, they have been offered and incredible donation of 200 free roast beefs, but need our help to get them delivered from Sonora to Petaluma either next Monday, Nov. 23, or Tuesday, Nov. 24, in time for Una-Vida’s afternoon free food pickup. If you or anyone you know can help, please let Una-Vida know. It is roughly two pallets in size. And if it is a matter of simply needing gas money, I am sure the community can take care of that. If you have the truck and the time, the Petaluma Foodies group on Facebook will take care of your fuel bill.

Artsy brunch

April Pantry Café is holding a pop art and brunch event this weekend on both Saturday, Nov. 21, and Sunday, Nov. 22, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. This will be youth artist Kaya Rose’s first public art show and will showcase her “fine art oil portraits of inspiring figures from popular culture” alongside some delicious April Pantry comfort food. The menu will include many regulars as well as specials of fried chicken and black-pepper-champagne waffles; whole grain HenHouse beer pancakes with grilled apples, walnuts and bourbon maple syrup; California Benedict with pan-fried potatoes and sour cream and chives; and quinoa breakfast bowl (fried eggs, billionaire's bacon, green onions and sautéed kale and heritage pork sausages). They also announced their new winter hours starting Nov. 21. They will be open Saturdays and Sunday for brunch from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mondays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesdays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

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