Bagel Mill, Juice House Co. and more open in Petaluma

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In a town with a food scene as bustling as Petaluma, there is always something new to try. This past Sunday, I made my way through as many of our city’s newest offerings as the Mrs. and I could muster. Come along on our day.

Divine Mother Tea & Coffee – Sunday, 10 a.m.

While walking toward the soft-opening party at the Bagel Mill, we found that the coffee kiosk at the Mail Depot at 4th and C streets is back open and under new ownership. Peter and Neil have been offering up a signature nitro cold-brew coffee, along with pour-over coffees from Thanksgiving Coffee at farmers markets, fairs, and other special events for some time now. They operate as Devine Mother Tea & Coffee, which is also the name of the new coffee spot. We only had time for a brief chat but will report back on the coffee, teas and other goodies as soon as we try them, although Thanksgiving Coffee never disappoints. They are currently open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Bagel Mill – Sunday, 10:30 a.m.

The Bagel Mill will be opening soon on Western, just around the corner from Petaluma Market. Chef Glenda Doughtery, co-founder of Red Dog Baking Co, which has been a farmers market favorite since 2017, invited friends, family and media to a soft opening party while she awaits final permit approval, which she hopes to have by the first week of July. Doughtery mills her own flour, which makes for a more controlled and fresher product, but also makes her bagels more digestible than other wheat products, she says. She will also have gluten-free products available from Mama Mel’s, another local baker.

As far as the bagels, Glenda’s are made in the East Coast-style and are delicious. Both breakfast and lunch sandwiches are also available on the menu, sandwiched in bagels, of course. Seeing Golden State Pickle Works jars in the cooler, I immediately gravitated to the Reuben, which was made with Hobbs’ pastrami, a well-respected brand and topped with GSPW’s kraut. I also enjoyed a chocolate chip and sea salt cookie, which I later learned was actually made with whole wheat. According to Glenda, when freshly ground, it is more moist and so the cookies do not have that chalky texture that is often found with whole wheat products.

The space itself is big, clean and comfortable and clearly so much more than just a simply bagel shop. There is even a display window at the back of the room where customers can watch grain being ground. I definitely can see this becoming a downtown hangout, especially with the big menu of drink items, such as Ritual Coffee from San Francisco, plus a well-balanced beer and wine menu. In fact, the goal is to offer wines that will also be available for purchase at Petaluma Market next door, so as to help connect with and support the surrounding businesses. And speaking of support, while brunching through my Reuben and cookie, I saw both Andrea Sundell (Stockhome) and Jaz Lalicker (The Shuckery and Oyster Girls) enjoying the food. As I have reported before, both are well-established restaurateurs and are the first to offer help to any new restaurant opening in the area. This really is a community town and our restaurant owners see each other as friends and colleagues, not competition. It’s one of the many things that makes Petaluma special.

Wicked Slush – Sunday, 11 a.m.

I first reported the coming of Wicked Slush back in early May, when the Pokorny family reached out to me with this exciting news. Started in Healdsburg by Amy Covin, a Boston transplant (hence the “wicked”), people travel from all over the Bay Area to enjoy Wicked Slush. The Pokorny’s are deeply rooted in the Petaluma community, made apparent by the huge line waiting down American Alley even before they opened on Sunday. This is due in large part to the help of their staff, which includes both daughters, Miranda and Alexis, who both recently returned home after completing college. As Juliet Pokorny told me months ago, the whole Pokorny family was looking forward to “serving happiness” and from the looks on patrons’ faces, they are doing just that.

Now, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical of Wicked Slush because their specialty is mixing soft serve with slushes, neither of which are my favorite. As you know, I love ice cream – the creamier the better. However, soft serve is not ice cream. To be called “ice cream,” a frozen dairy treat must have at least 10% butter fat, which soft serve does not. This means soft serve is often not as creamy or flavorful as ice cream. And when it comes to slushes, all I can remember is huge granules of left-over ice after drinking all the syrup dry.

Wicked Slush is something completely different and after tasting just one, which come in a plethora of flavor combos, including tributes to colors of all our local schools, I can see what all the fuss is about.

I do not know their secrets, but noticed a few thing that set Wicked Slush above the standard soft serve and slushies. First off, the soft serve is actually creamy and flavorful. I did not get a chance to ask, but can only imagine they are using some fancy equipment and pouring in some high-quality milk to make that soft serve. And the ice of their slushies is so fine that it retains the flavor syrup to the not-at-all-bitter end. Additionally, they are not shy with the syrup. And just as I was getting concerned about whether I had proportioned properly in order to make sure I had slushy in every bit of soft serve, I found an additional layer of slushy in the bottom of the cup — well played Wicked Slush.

I went simply with just cherry slush over (and under) cheesecake soft serve, but the flavor combos are endless and innovative.

Find it at 122 American Alley, where Wicked Slush is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Juice House Co. – Sunday, noon

Juice House Co. is located on 2nd Street, between F and G streets, and is run by sisters Tiana and Kelsey. The idea started out of Tiana’s yoga studio in Benicia, where her students were always asking for her homemade kombucha. The sisters would go on to create a whole line of fresh-squeezed juices, nut mylks and kombuchas. They also offer cleanse packages, with a real bottle deposit of 50-cents for each returned bottled. The production facility is in Benicia but with so many friends in Petaluma, they decided to open a retail space in town. I was particularly drawn to colors of the drinks which are vibrant like a rainbow. From alternative milks, made from nuts and other healthy ingredients to juice combos, everything was delicious. I look forward to going back and trying more, maybe even giving one of the cleanses a try.

The address is 421 Second St., and the shop is open daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Back to Bagel Mill – Sunday, 12:30 p.m.

On my travels, I linked up with a coffee-drinking cohort and headed back to Bagel Mill, since I, myself, don’t drink coffee. She is familiar with Ritual Coffee and said it is as good as anything in the area. At the suggestion of staff, we tried a smoke trout salad sandwich based on the promise that it had the perfect amount of smokiness without being overbearing. The description was spot on. It was an excellent sandwich and had so much filling that we shared it as two open-face halves and even had some to take home for later.

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