A possible Starbucks downtown? Plus butchery classes, pie contests and fundraising meals
Una Vida’s fifth annual Lagunitas fundraiser is Tuesday, Jan. 22, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. You can expect music, a raffle and silent auction, and dinner from El Coqui. The Casa Grande High School Culinary Arts program will handle dessert, with the help of Three Twins Ice Cream. If you aren’t yet familiar with Casa’s culinary program, they are doing an excellent job training our chefs of tomorrow. In fact, I judged the “Chefs of Tomorrow” fundraiser competition at John Ash’s Vintner’s Inn in Santa Rosa a couple of years ago and Casa took home the gold, ahead of a dozen other well-qualified local culinary programs. Tickets are $20 pre-sale on Brown Paper Tickets, or $25 at the door. Proceeds will help fund Una Vida’s upcoming trip to the Dominican Republic.
Una Vida is a nonprofit that leads high school, university, community and church groups to volunteer in rural Dominican Republic and Haiti in an effort to teach cross-cultural awareness and highlight each person’s role in the local and global community. Una Vida was founded by Lynne Moquete M.P.H., who has been part of the Petaluma community since 1996. I met Lynne through email when she let me know about several local restaurants that were letting her have their leftovers in order to offer meals to underprivileged kids at Casa Grande. The more incredible story is Lynne, who is a returned Peace Corps volunteer and a high school teacher in Petaluma who continues to share her passion and experience with poverty amongst students and community members. una-vida.org
Tamara Wilder will hold a pig processing workshop, in an effort to help people “get in touch with the food on your plate” titled, “Using the Whole Animal.” It takes place this Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 12 and 13, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a potluck dinner on Saturday evening. Cost of entry is on a sliding scale, from $300-$400. Contact Cole for more info – 364-4462 or email@example.com.
The Penngrove Social Firemen presents a “Taste of Italy” with their upcoming Penngrove Italian Dinner on Saturday, Jan. 19, with cocktails at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Enjoy live accordion music alongside a menu of pork scaloppini, Little Hill chicken, ravioli, salad and French bread. Tickets are $25, and are available at JavAmore Café (794-1516) at 10101 Main St. Proceeds support improvements to Penngrove Park and the Clubhouse at 385 Woodward St., which is where the “Taste of Italy” will be held.
Petaluma Pie Company will honor National Pie Day on Jan. 23. To celebrate, the shop will host a fill-in-the-blank contest. Just head down to the location in Putnam Plaza and write down your answer to “______ is easy as one-two-three.” They will have index cards and pens available. Prizes will be awarded in the categories of “most sensible,” “most wise” and “most funny.” Entries will be accepted from Jan. 10-22. All participants will get 10 percent off their order when submitting a card, and winners will get $20 gift cards. Entries will be posted to the walls of Petaluma Pie Company. Stay tuned for more pie news, specials and contests for the upcoming National Pie Month (February) and Pi-day (March 14).
Pizza Politana will pop-up at Pearl for an evening of paired perfection on Thursday, Jan. 24, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Pearl will offer salads, sides and some great drinks to go along with Politana’s perfect pizzas. Reservations will go fast so call for yours now – 559-5187.
Taps has an ever-changing food menu to go along with its around-the-world tour de force of beers on tap. Often mistakenly written off as simple pub grub, Chef Abe and staff come up with new specials each Thursday night, which usually only last two or three days, so that ingredients are fresh and don’t go to waste. All are creative and often include suggested beer pairings, sometimes even incorporating beer as an ingredient, such as the Scotch broth and chocolate pudding from last year’s Robert Burns Dinner, both of which incorporated Traquair House Ale. Or the Berry Beer Float, highlighting Allagash’s Pick Your Own Berry Wild Ale, topped with ice cream and fresh berries.
Chef Abe also has the chops to put together dishes that give white-tablecloth restaurants a run for their money. One such dish was the recent duck confit (a duck-fat braised duck leg and thigh served over a polenta cake, topped with brown butter asparagus, fried parsnips and cara cara orange demi-glaze), which at $18, blew us away for both flavor and value.
The current main menu changes have and excellent smoked brisket sandwich replacing the pulled pork, and shredded chicken sliders taking over for the pesto chicken sandwich.