Summer’s best food events

You may just be lucky enough to nab one of the remaining spaces for tonight’s “A Midsummer’s Night Picnic” at Pearl, located at 1st and G streets. A paired dinner affair with HenHouse Brewing, this is a unique opportunity to either try Pearl for the first time, or for those that are already fans, see what their dinner menu looks like when they extend their hours into the evening, which is quite rare.

With dishes coming from both the indoor wood oven and outdoor grill, paired with either beer or wine, A Midsummer’s Night Picnic is the perfect title. Tickets are $55 and are available at, although with such short notice, I would recommend calling to make sure they can accommodate you.

Elks anniversary

Petaluma Elks Lodge No. 901 is celebrating their 115 year anniversary, having been instituted in Petaluma in July of 1904. Although we’ve already missed their July 20 Birthday Bash, the Elks are putting on a special Prime Rib Dinner to the benefit the Elks National Foundation on Friday, July 26, starting at 7 p.m., although I’d venture to guess they’ll be open a little earlier for cocktail hour.

Chef Rob Ferrando will be at the helm, with tickets running just $25 per person, with limited seating, so reservations are required. Visit for more info and to purchase tickets.

Wilmar BBQ

The Wilmar Volunteer Fire Department will hold its 53rd Annual Chicken BBQ Fundraiser on Sunday, July 28, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Holy Ghost Hall (also known to locals at Portuguese Hall) at the corner of Bodega and Eucalyptus Avenue. Dinner includes barbecue chicken, salad, beans, a roll and milk.

For those that prefer an adult beverage, there will be a no-host bar for beer and wine, as well as sodas and water. Along with live music, there will be plenty of kids’ activities, including fire engine rides, along with silent auctions and multiple major prize and cash raffles. If you can’t stay, you can pick your order up to go, which we have done regularly as these dinners make for great leftovers.

Tickets are $15 for adults, and $12 for kids 12 and under. Credit cards accepted. Visit for more info.

Alice Waters dinner

The Farmer’s Guild Summer Soiree is Sunday, July 8, starting at 4 p.m. with happy hour, followed at 5 p.m. by dinner. Along with dinner and drinks, there will be a silent auction as well as tours of 5 Springs Farm on Adobe Road, which is this year’s host. For tickets and info visit

Since last column’s announcement, the Farmer’s Guild Summer Soiree has added more info, including the announcement of Chef Jodie Rubin, from Bodega Bay, as the main chef for the evening and musical guests Jules Broussard Trio. The biggest news is that the evening’s special guest will be none other than Alice Waters of Chez Panisse fame.

Corda dinner

Another great event put on by our local Elks Lodge is the yearly Corda Dinner, which this year falls on Friday, Aug. 2,?with dinner starting at 6 p.m. Talk to anyone who has been and they will tell you, this is a meal not to be missed. This family style Italian sausage dinner is only $15 per person but again, with limited seating, reservations are required.

This year’s dinner is also extra special as proceeds will go to the recently created scholarship funds for the children of the Corda and Nunes families who lost their fathers Joey Corda and Nick Nunes this spring in a tragic vehicle accident. Visit for more info and to purchase tickets. Another upcoming Elks 901 event is their Hawaiian Luau on Aug. 24.

Bodega BBQ

The Bodega Volunteer Fire Department has announced their Big Event BBQ for Sunday, Aug. 4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Bodega. The event itself is free, with free parking, and a parade starting at 10:30 a.m., however the BBQ chicken and tritip, drinks and raffles will require a donation. There will also be live music and crafts. Visit

Rotary pasta dinner

Petaluma’s three Rotary clubs will co-host their second annual “For the Children” pasta dinner at Brewsters Beer Garden on at Monday, Aug. 5, from 5 to 8 p.m. Proceeds will help Petaluma Sunrise Rotary, Petaluma Valley Rotary and Petaluma Rotary fund projects for both local and international children in need.

Along with live music and dance performance put on by some of our local children’s groups, Mariposa Ice Creamery will be on hand with desserts. Tickets are $20 in advance ($10 for kids 6 to 12) at or for $25 at the door. This is not only a worthwhile fundraiser but is a great way to meet your local Rotarians and find out what the organization is all about.

Apéro on the Patio

The Shuckery’s next “Apéro on the Patio” is Thursday, Aug. 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Hotel Petaluma courtyard and will feature local winemakers Kenny and Lynn from Hobo Wine Company, Banyan Wines, Folk Machine and Elizabeth from Revel Wine. “Apéro” is a French evening favorite which combines food, drinks and friends.

The tasting is $10 dollars and includes live music as well as an extended oyster happy hour until 8 p.m. RSVPs are appreciated at

Daily Acts dinner

Soil to Supper 2019 is Daily Acts’ summer fundraising dinner and will be held on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Hermman Sons’ Hall. Dinner will be sourced entirely from regional ranches, farms and wineries. There will be an open bar and live music, along with an online, silent and live auction, all to help support Daily Acts’ continued work on our community.

The online auction can be viewed prior to the event, with the silent and live auction happening on-site. Auction items will feature “unique products, tastings, experiences and services that showcase the richness of Sonoma & Marin County businesses.”

The menu is Mediterranean inspired but defined by Sonoma County’s unique cuisine. Guests will be treated to a “Mezze” style feast, which is similar to Spanish style tapas. There will be an assortment of ten different appetizers, from clams in wine sauce to Kofta meatballs with wild rice pilaf to seasonal vegetables. Dessert is a “silky” panna cotta, “bejeweled with a fruit mélange.” Other than the fresh bread, dinner is wheat-free and vegetarian and vegan dinners will be available upon request.

Tickets are $85 at, along with a schedule of workshops and fieldtrips aimed at creating, “more nourishing, connected, and resilient communities.” Local businesses are encouraged to contact Daily Acts if they would like to be a sponsor.

Oyster Fest

Tickets are still available for the Petaluma Oyster Fest, which is Saturday, Aug. 17, from noon to 3:30 p.m. at the Bodega Bay Oyster Company at 12830 Valley Ford Road, just past Bloomfield. Tickets include up to 18 fresh or barbecued oysters, as well as fresh pasta, bread, salad, dessert and refreshments. Additional oysters can be purchased, but honestly, even as a huge oyster fan, we always end up really enjoying the pasta, bread and desserts so 18 oysters will be more than enough for each of us. Adult tickets also get you three drink tickets for HenHouse beer and local wines with additional drink tickets for purchase.

There will also be live music by Willow and Hound as well as raffle tickets for a variety of locally donated prizes. This event is a fundraiser for Petaluma Sunrise Rotary and sells out every year, so get your tickets at $60 for adult drinkers and $45 for youth under 21. Children under 6 are free.

Restaurant news

Before getting into the openings and closing this month, I would like to extend a big congrats to the Sonoma Spice Queen who just received her “Certificate According to National Organic Program.” That’s just a fancy of way of saying that the Sonoma Spice Queen is now USDA Certified Organic.

If you haven’t visited her yet, Wind McAlister has been offering both raw and mixed spices, as well as cooking classes and other locally sourced gifts at her 407 C St. location for some time now. Visit for more info.

Petaluma has three impending openings including Wine or Lose, Black Knight Vineyards, and Ambrosia Indian Restaurant.

Wine or Lose is the board game/wine bar opening in the space recently vacated by Topsy’s on Kentucky Street. They are in the final stage of permits and hope to be open shortly.

Black Knight Vineyards, also tagged as BkV has a sign announcing “Coming in June” at 155 Petaluma Blvd. North near Della Fattoria. No harm in wishful thinking, but opening up a restaurant or store often takes longer than expected. When they do open, their tasting room, the third wine tasting room in downtown Petaluma, will offer sparkling, chardonnay, pinot noir and gamay noir wines from their vineyard, located off of Grange Road, just up the hill from Crane Creek in Rohnert Park/Penngrove.

A sign recently appeared on the Mike’s Burgers old location, across the Boulevard from Wishbone at the intersection of Payran/Magnolia for Ambrosia Indian Restaurant. We were down to just one Indian restaurant, Everest, so this will be a welcome addition after Namaste closed a couple of years ago up in the OSH shopping center. Everest is focused more on northern Indian, Himalayan and Tibetan cuisine so here’s to hoping Ambrosia brings us something from the central or southern parts of India.

Although not directly food-related, Fish Heads bait and tackle shop has closed, while Craig’s Party Store has announced it will close soon. Fish Heads has been known by many names, including Gilardi’s and Petaluma Bait and Tackle but has been a staple at it Bodega Avenue location for decades.

It has always been our regular stop for snacks and bait before heading out to the coast and will be sorely missed by many. Apparently, Scotty, the former owner, wanted to retire and sold to a new owner. But according to customer reports, the new owners never refreshed the inventory, instead liquidating everything and then shutting down.

Craig’s Party Store did not sell food, but was the go-to place for party and event supplies at its location kitty-corner from the Police Station for over 20 years. They announced their July 6 closing on their Facebook page.

Best of Sonoma County

Currently, the Press Democrat’s “Best of Sonoma County” is open for voting with several categories highlighting Petaluma establishments. Of course, there is always a bit of a divide at the Cotati Grade, which explains why some categories, such as best local chef, outdoor dining and dive bar are sans a Petaluma contestant, but that just means you all have to get in on the initial write-in balloting next year in order to vote for your Petaluma favorites.

Categories where you can vote for Petaluma area purveyors include Artisan Cheese (four out of five nominees are in the Petaluma area), Bakery (Della), Bar (Whisper Sisters), Bartender (Danielle Peters – Whisper Sisters), Butcher (Thistle Meats), Craft Cocktails (Whisper Sisters), Distillery (Griffo), Food Truck (El Roy’s), Italian (Cucina Paradiso), Late Night Eats (Speakeasy), Latin (Quinua Cocina Peruana), Pie (Petaluma Pie), Pizza (Old Chicago), Taproom (Lagunitas), and Best New Restaurand (Whisper Sisters.)

Visit and click on “Best of Sonoma County” in the secondary header for all four categories, which along with Best Dine and Drink, also includes “Fun Living,” “Real Life” and “So Sonoma County.”

COTS dinner

The Committee on the Shelterless (COTS) has offered free lunches to anyone in need for decades now, and has just expanded into offering dinner. These meals are free to anyone who is running short of funds and required no applications. There are no questions asked. COTS’ Mary Issak Center invites everyone to stop in, whether you are need, would like information for a friend or family member or would like to learn more about volunteering. Visit or email Eileen Morris at for more information.

Bloomfield honey

Buddy’s Farm announced they would be releasing their Sebastopol Bloom Honey shortly for those looking for a honey that is light and sweet and sourced from the Bloomfield area. Visit their Facebook page for updates and to get on the list. Buddy’s Farm is a family affair that also offers fresh eggs and depending on the season, local delivery.

Otherwise, they will schedule a pick-up/drop-off location that is convenient to you. Husband and father at Buddy’s, Gerald Leuschen is a local boy who went to St. Vincent’s. Gerald has spent the last couple years cultivating more than just eggs and honey. He also has an impressive gray beard which when matched with his soft and jovial disposition, makes him a perfect Santa, which is another one of his gigs.

It’s never too early to book him through his Facebook page – Sonoma County Santa. I have seen him in action and he’s the real deal. So is Buddy’s honey, which we have been enjoying for some time now.

Advance preview

What could be better than beer, bacon and bands, all in the bucolic setting of Penngrove Park? This is what Burning Ham is all about and they are currently welcoming barbecue teams to sign up to compete. Visit to sign up and to learn more about this September fundraiser put on by a collaboration of Active 20-30 clubs, including Active 20-30 Petaluma, Active 20-30 Sebastopol and Active 20-30 Northbay to raise funds to help them support local underprivileged children grown into the leaders of tomorrow. I will be an official judge again this year.

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