Ribs at Charley’s, cheese festival, new menues and more food news

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Charley’s Wine Country Deli does a Ribs & a Pint Night every so often, and when they do, it is on par with the best you’ll find anywhere in the county. As luck would have it, one of those rare nights just happens to be tonight, Thursday, March 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. Their special ($12.99), includes four ribs, side of macaroni or coleslaw and a pint of beer; full rack ($24.99) or family meal ($34.99) includes a full rack of ribs, pint of macaroni salad or slaw and cheesy garlic bread.

La Dolce Vita will celebrate the first days of spring with an evening of great wine and reflections on love, through the poetry of Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet, mystic, scholar, theologian and jurist, best known for his poems about love. The celebration is Thursday, March 21, from 5 to 8 p.m., with a dialogue with Shadi Shamsavari, professional leadership and personal coach at Human Remedy.

101 North Brewing Co. is again hosting another Pints for Pups event this Saturday, from 1 to 4 p.m. You can adopt, donate towards or even just visit with furry friends from The Tiny Pitbull while enjoying beer from 101 and great tacos from F.A. Nino’s.

The following Tuesday, March 26, starting at 5:30 p.m., Lagunitas hosts Pints for Paws 2019 at the beer sanctuary. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door, with kids under 12 being $10. Guests will get entry into the event, dinner catered by Preferred Sonoma Caterers, plus great music by local legend “The DoRiaN Mode.” This fundraiser helps supports Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue.

This weekend is also the California Artisan Cheese Festival, which is now held at the Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa and still highlights plenty local Petaluma and Marin Coast cheesemakers. Although tickets for the ranch tours are surely sold out by now, there still may be tickets available for weekend events such as the Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace on Sunday, March 24. Check out www.artisancheesefestival.com for more info about the weekend event.

Fools for the River is Wednesday, April 3, and is a walking tour of downtown’s culinary scene, in support of the Petaluma Small Craft Center (PSCC), which works to improve access to the Petaluma River. This event is limited to 100 tickets, for $41 each, and entitles guests to four treats, somewhere between an appetizer and an entrée, from 10 participating restaurants. This year’s list includes TAPS, Brewsters, Sugo, Seared, Gator’s, Fourth & Sea, Red Brick, Riverfront Café, Dempsey’s and Water Street Bistro. Fools also works with local food purveyors, like Sonoma County Poultry, Clover Sonoma, Petaluma Poultry, and Caggiano Sausage who all donate in order to help cover some of the costs of the event. Visit www.petalumasmallcraftcenter.org or contact Greg Sabourin at gjsabourin@aol.com or Maggie Hohle at maggietext@comcast.net for tickets. We have attended all five past years and always have a great time.

Brewsters Beer Garden’s April beer-paired dinner is the first Thursday of the month, April 4, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. We attended last month’s Barrel Brothers dinner and it was truly spectacular, not only for the incredible food pairings but also because we got to learn so much about the beer offerings, as well as Chef Todd Shoberg’s reasons for why paired the way he did. This month’s brewery is Sonoma Springs. Seating is limited in order to retain an intimate vibe, which is part of what makes these dinners so special. Every guest has an opportunity to speak to the chef and the brewery team member in attendance.

This month’s menu starts with a little gem salad, with avocado, green olives, buttermilk goddess and Sonoma Springs’ Fries with Eyes kolsch. Next up is Nashville hot chicken legs with Pt. Reyes Blue, spring onions and radish, all paired with Wagging the Dog IPA. The main is pork tenderloin, bacon plank, chopped hog, charred asparagus and a soft egg, with Captain Save A’mo Imperial IPA. Dessert will be slightly warmed Nicasio squares of apple toast, maple Espelette peppers and barrel aged imperial stout.

The four-course dinner is $65 per person, which we found to be a bargain considering the five beers we tried (there is always a “welcome beer”), plus the food and education we received. Visit info@brewstersgarden.com for tickets!

Petaluma Golf and Country Club will play host to Starry, Starry Night, the Red Barn Montessori annual dinner and silent auction on Saturday, April 6, starting at 6 p.m. This event will be catered by none other than Marin’s Sol Food, which is still rumored to be looking into opening up an outlet here in Petaluma. Music will be provided by the Incubators. This is a 21 and over event, with tickets available through www.redbarnmontessori.org for $40 or $280 for a table of 8, with raffle and drink tickets for purchase.

Although the Sips & Bites event is still a few weeks away, you will want to get your tickets early as this event is likely to sell out, as all Petaluma Woman’s Club fundraisers do. We just received the list of “vendors” for this Sunday, April 7 event, to be held at the Petaluma Woman’s Club on B Street, and it is a who’s who of Petaluma eateries. Because of anticipated popularity, there will be two “servings”, one from 2 to 4 p.m. and one from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

This year’s participants include Stockhome, Sonoma Coast Spirits, Quinua Cocina Peruana Restaurant, Chili Joe’s, Mama G’s Kitchen, Red Brick Petaluma, Alfredo’s Italian Restaurant, Adobe Road Winery, Denman Ranch Wineries, McEvoy Ranch Winery, Lombardi’s Catering, Petaluma Pie Company, Bright Bear Bakery, Preferred Sonoma Caterers, Dunkin Donuts and many more.

Tickets are only $25 and are available at www.pwc-sips-and-bites.eventbrite.com or by calling (707) 799-0315, with proceeds going to support Mentor Me, as well as renovation for the PWC’s 106 year-old historic clubhouse. Limited tickets will be sold at the door.

Restaurant news

Stefano’s Pizza of Marin has opened up next to Gator’s and Sugo at 5 Petaluma Blvd S. Officially known as Stefano’s Solar Powered Pizza, they claim to be the only solar powered pizzeria in the U.S., although I do not know if the Petaluma location has any solar panels attached. Either way, folks on the Petaluma Foodies group on Facebook who are familiar with these pies seem to just love them, as well as the easy online ordering and delivery options. I’m always torn between my favorite deep-dish at Old Chicago Pizza and my favorite thin-crust at Wild Goat, so maybe I’ll find Stefano’s to be my favorite pizza in-between, both culinary and geographically.

Now, speaking of pizza, a co-worker was nice enough to order in some Little Caesar’s for Pi Day (March 14), which included something completely unique, as well as delicious. At first, I thought someone had salted the pizza I was picking up, but that didn’t seem quite right because the grains were bigger than what you’d normally find a salt shaker. What it ended up being was their pretzel crust pizza, which is along with mozzarella and muenster cheese and pepperonis, is also topped with a creamy cheddar cheese sauce, the kind you would normally dip pretzels in. As I’ve said, I love high quality handmade pizzas like those from Old Chicago and Wild Goat, just to name a few of my Petaluma favorites, but this pretzel crust pizza has had me craving more all week and for $6, is a heck of a bargain.

Brasil BBQ announced a brunch menu on the weekend, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting Saturday, March 23. The current menu includes classic, crab, and picanha (steak on cheese bread) benedicts, barbacoa hash, shrimp polenta, and biscuits and gravy, along with standards like eggs with your choice of bacon, steak and chicken apple or pork sausage.

Sunny Mediterranean Market is now open directly next to CVS, in the Plaza North Center. I have yet to visit, but their photos on Facebook show a wide array of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern wares, from spices to breads to rices to sweets and drinks. . Wide variety of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean ingredients are available. As part of their grand opening promotion, customers will get free tea pack of their choosing with the purchase of $30 or more of groceries.

Lunchette will re-open next week, after being closed this week, from the 18th through the 22nd. I just didn’t want there to be any rumors that they were closing for good, because that is both not true and would be a travesty as one of the few places in town that can actually tempt me to eat a salad.

Miscellaneous

My niece is an Irish dancer and her troop asked Kenny O’Donnell of McNear’s if they could perform for his guests on St. Patrick’s Day. Kenny, ever the giver, not only said yes, but when asked if they could also sell some baked goods to fund their trip to compete in Canadia, Kenny did them one better and directly donated $300 to their cause. Kenny has been quite the quiet community leader for the past three decades and deserves our praise and admiration, at least in part because it will annoy the heck out of him. However, at the least, we should show our support by picking McNear’s for some our meals out. Not only does that help support Kenny’s community efforts, but the setting is comfortable, and since Chef Joe O’Donnell has been tweaking the menu, the food quality is now as good as anything on the Petaluma restaurant scene. There is a reason they are usually highlighted front and center in articles such as my Petaluma fried chicken, fish taco and chicken fried steak restaurant guides.

Speaking of St. Paddy’s Day, Chef Abe over at TAPS really pulled out all the stops for a British Isle weekend, with the one-two punch of his Thursday special dinner of Scotch Eggs (soft-boiled eggs wrapped in sweet Italian sausage, breaded and deep fried and then topped with curried yogurt sauce) and Sunday’s St. Paddy’s Day beef stew, made with Almanac’s barrel aged imperial stout and corned beef sandwiches. If you ever get a chance to try one of Chef Abe’s stews, do it. They have so many layers of flavor that it is clear that he and his crew take stewing seriously and put in the time and effort to make sure theirs stand out.

Advance preview

Cowgirl Creamery’s March 20 Community Dinners at the Barn sold out quickly, so grab your tickets early for the last in this Spring’s series, which will be April 24. I had a chance to meet the featured speaker Tamara Hicks at Brewsters’ March beer paired dinner and she is a delight. She owns and operates Tomales Farmstead Cheese and Toluma Farm and will speak about her experiences. Tickets are $55, with a menu to be announced shortly for this family-style dinner. www.cowgirlcreamery.com

Mariposa Ice Creamery is getting ready to roll into their busy warm-weather catering seasons, so their upcoming April 19 and 20 warehouse is likely to be their last until the fall. Keep an eye on their Facebook page, or this column, for a list of flavors as we get closer to the sale date.

Petaluma Drinks was a huge success last year, helping to highlight all the great drink makers around Petaluma. This year’s event will be held June 15 and 16, in and around downtown Petaluma, with a couple of “add-on’s” available to your tickets. The first is a pre-event “Wet Your Whistle with the Whisper Sisters” on Friday, June 14 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Whisper Sisters, on the southeast corner of Washington and Kentucky for an additional $45. The second is the “Petaluma Drinks Paired Dinner” at Stockhome on Saturday, June 15, starting at 7:30 p.m., and including a four-course meal paired with Henhouse Brewing Co, Acre & Spade cider, Leghorn Wine Co., and Sonoma Portworks, with producers from each label in attendance. This add-on is $88. Tickets to Petaluma Drinks are $50 until April 1, and then $65 there after, or until they sell out. For tickets and info visit www.petalumadrinks.com.

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