8 food-and-drink events to wrap up summer in Petaluma

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After its huge success the first time around, the Bruschetta Bar will return to The Block – Petaluma this Friday, Aug. 23, from 4 to 9 p.m. as part of a special vendor food pop-up event. The menu is $13 for a choice of any three mix-and-match bruschettas, which include original tomato, bacon apple, artichoke, apple brie, roasted pepper and prosciutto. Bacon can be added to any for an additional $1. They also offer a grub bowl of crispy Brussel sprouts and fried potatoes with aioli for $8. The Block is at 20 Grey St.

This weekend, Aug. 24-25, will be your last chance to sample Sonoma Portworks’ “boozy milkshakes,” made by mixing their DECO port and DUET sherry. Mixed with local ice cream, the DECO has essences of dark chocolate while the DUET has hints of hazelnut. Tasting are complimentary at their 613 2nd St. tasting room, which is open from noon to 5 p.m., Thursday through Monday.

Leghorn Wines of Petaluma will host a wine tasting at Riverfront Café this Saturday, Aug. 24, and on upcoming Saturdays, weather permitting. Tasting start at 11 a.m. and run through the evening, featuring their sauvignon blanc, rose, chardonnay and pinot noir.

Wind & Rye Kitchen of Penngrove has announced some late fall cooking classes, as well as the annual Fall Equinox Farm Dinner. Thursday, Sept. 5, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. is the “Food & Nutrition for Mood Management” cooking class, offering to help you, “Take control over your mood and anxiety levels in approachable, easy to execute and most importantly delicious ways.” Sunday, Sept. 8 is “Homemade Pizza Like a Pro” from 3-6:30 p.m. and the following Sunday is “Mastering Fried Chicken.” Their big farm dinner is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 22, starting at 5 p.m. with cocktails, snacks and yard games, followed at 6 p.m. by a four-course, family-style dinner featuring Davis Family Vineyards and Chef Daniel Kedan, owner of Backyard Restaurant in Forestville, which has been recognized by the Michelin Guide for its excellent food.

Stemple Creek Ranch, in collaboration with Futurewell, will host the inaugural Wellness Summit on Friday, Sept. 6. This all-day event (overnight camping is an option) is a “fully immersive and elevated experience supporting a consumer-driven movement to help tip the balance towards ensuring better products, practices, and policies in the food system and beyond.” The list of two dozen speakers is a who’s who in the fields of food mindfulness and health and includes Alice Walker and Dr. Regina Benjamin, the former Surgeon General of the United States. Currently, there is a 50% discount for farmers and nonprofit organizations. For more info visit (not .com)

Restaurant news

Wine or Lose Board Game Café has softly opened and the initial reviews are great. They haven’t made any announcements yet regarding a grand opening, wanting the staff to get their feet under them prior to a big hoopla, but are serving food and drink, with standouts like mashed potato spring roll, chicken and waffles and corn fritters. With over 200 board games, Wine or Lose is shooting to be Sonoma County’s premier board game café. They will feature, “American comfort food in a shared tapas-style, with specialty sodas, wine, beer and a vast library of board games. We believe food doesn’t have to be complicated to be good, and great memories are made sharing great food and a fun board game.” The hours, location and menu are at

The North Bay Café, located at 25 Petaluma Blvd. S., next to Peet’s Coffee, has applied for a liquor license and in conjunction with that, has announced that they will now be open for dinner. According to their Facebook page, it is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, and the signs in front of the shop state that kids eat free on Thursdays and seniors get a buy-one-get-one-free on Fridays starting at 3 p.m. The initial menu posted in the window is simple but classic, with each item served with soup or salad and garlic cheese bread. The entrees are chicken parm fettucine alfredo ($15) (can sub shrimp for $2 more), steak and shrimp scampi ($18), breaded chicken parm spaghetti ($14) and grilled salmon ($16).

Butcher Crown Roadhouse has had a few mechanical glitches over the past week so definitely give them a call before heading over to try one of the new burgers, or the very popular piri piri chicken dishes, street corn and Mariposa ice cream. We stopped in for a relaxing evening on their back patio last week and were able to sample through an excellent beer menu, which is constantly changing to bring in fresh seasonal brews, as well as two of their three new burgers. We have had their burger several times and it is so good that when we heard they were expanding with three more burgers – the Crown, the Roadhouse and the Pancho and Lefty, we knew we had to try them.

All the burgers start with all-natural Angus brisket and chuck, are topped with a house cheese blend of American, cheddar and jack and are wrapped in a delicious bun. The Crown is then additionally topped with griddled Black Forest ham, “chopped ‘n’ grilled peppers and onions” and pickles. The Roadhouse comes with bacon, barbecue sauce and crispy onions. The Pancho and Lefty features Mexican chorizo, grilled and pickled onions, jalapeños, crumbled goat cheese and “Vaquero” sauce. We had tried the Roadhouse and the Pancho and Lefty and would have a hard time choosing between them again because they were both so good. Our vegetarian even raved about the veggie burger, which uses a FieldBurger patty made of barley, carrots, celery and plenty of other healthy ingredients. I took a bite and must admit that it was actually pretty good for being meatless. For the new menu, hours and location, visit

Sonoma Pho had an innovative “Lunar” special last Wednesday and Thursday to celebrate the full moon. I am unfamiliar with the possible holiday they were referencing when they listed it as “Vegetarian Days for Prayers for the Good of Health and Life” but all vegetarian meals were 15% off. Additionally, Sonoma Pho has updated their menu to better reflect all the veggie and vegan options they offer. They do not appear to have a website but are active on Facebook, promptly posting new menu items and special events at the Theatre Square location.

The Bagel Mill has been a huge hit since opening a month ago and has finally dialed in their production numbers in order to make sure they aren’t running out within hours of opening, which happened during their first few weeks open. Thankfully, Petalumans are a supportive bunch. However, the Bagel Mill had no idea how many of us kids at heart would jump at the opportunity to try their latest creation, the sourdough bagel dog. It was no wonder that they almost immediately sold out. Not a regular menu item as of yet, owner Glenda Dougherty tells me that she will bring this back as a weekend special in the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out on the Bagel Mill Facebook page.

New hours

Della Fattoria not only has new hours but has reopened their original bakery space between the café and dining room, at 141 Petaluma Blvd. The bakery will now open at 6 a.m. for you early birds, and will offer all the great coffee drinks, pastries and other baked goods that Della is so well known for. Grab-and-go salads and sandwiches will also be available when they open at 6 a.m. You can also now pick your own dessert from the pastry case while enjoying lunch or dinner in the café or dining room, as well as shop for jam, granola, cookies and bread while waiting for your food to arrive at your table.

Sarah’s Eats & Sweets is changing up their hours just in time for the new school year. Instead of being opened all weekend, but closed on Mondays, Sarah’s will now offer their tasty sandwiches, salads, soups and dessert treats Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will be closed on Saturday and Sunday. Also check out their website for catering and other specials, like the special menus they offer prior to most major holidays.

Café Zazzle has also announced new hours, which are Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Another sign in their window announces that they are looking to hire, which might help explain why they are no longer open on Sunday and Monday. Editor’s Note: The Argus-Courier incorrectly reported that Cafe Zazzle is closed for lunch; the restaurant remains open for lunch. We regret the error.

Sneak peek

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 returns to Penngrove Park on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 12:30-5:30 p.m. “In addition to whole pigs being roasted, there will be a multi-category barbecue contest with baby back ribs, pulled pork, a bacon side dishes and bacon desserts.” Yours truly will again be officially judging the various competitions alongside a bevy of Petaluma pork fans. This barbecue extravaganza is put on by a collaboration of Active 20-30 clubs, including Active 20-30 Petaluma, Active 20-30 Sebastopol and Active 20-30 North Bay. With the Active 20-30’s main goal being to help serve the needs of children in our communities in an effort to build the leaders of tomorrow, it is no surprise that like most of their events, Burning Ham is a family event with plenty of kids activities along with games, music, beer and more for the adults. To compete as a barbecue team or simply purchase tickets to attend, visit

Keep an eye out in the future for Pearl’s special pop-up dinners because they seem to sell out almost immediately. Unfortunately, we weren’t quick enough to get in this Sunday’s pop-up dinner, which will be an homage to a San Francisco favorite – Nettie’s Crab Shack. This was the first restaurant venture of Pearl’s owners Annette and Brian and was open from 2008 to 2013. It was a favorite then and clearly is still on people’s minds because it sold out before we even heard about it. Pearl is not on Facebook so look for these announcements either on Instagram or their website

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