Petaluma’s winter menus, distillary event, Stemple creek dinner and more

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Mark the calendar

The Block — Petaluma will host a “vertical” tasting of Lagunitas’ Willettized Imperial Stout, today, Jan. 24, starting at 4 p.m. and lasting as long as the supply lasts. What makes this stout special is that it was aged in bourbon barrels from Willett Distillery. This is called a vertical because it includes all three years of production, 2016, 2017 and 2018. This is likely your only chance to try this vertical, as it is rare to find the complete line of specialty brews like this in one place and at one time.

The Aquarium has scheduled their annual crab feed for Saturday, Jan. 26, with tickets available at the bar for $50. According to those close to owner Dennis, he has either recently sold the Aquarium, or is nearly through the process, so this will be his last feed.

Griffo Distillery’s second comedy night of 2019 is Friday, Feb 1, with doors opening at 7 p.m. Brooke Heinichen will host, with Bay Area talent Kaseem Bentley opening for the main act, Ryan Sickler, of the “HoneyDew” podcast, “The CrabFeast” and “The Late Late Show.” Signature cocktails or premium flights will be available before the show. Visit for tickets.

In other exciting Griffo news, its Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur took home first place in their category at the 2019 Good Food Awards in San Francisco. (This was also named Top 100 Spirit by Wine Enthusiast.) In its ninth year, the Good Food Awards celebrates both food and drink makers who improve our nation’s food industry through their commitment to socially and environmentally high standards.

Griffo will also participate in this year’s Wine Country Distillery Festival, held at Rohnert Park’s Sally Tomatoes on Saturday, Feb. 9, from noon to 4 p.m. Along with a who’s-who of North Coast distillers and food vendors, Petaluma’s Monarch Bitters will also be on-hand. Visit for tickets.

Beyond the Glory is looking to make the Super Bowl (Sunday, Feb. 3) extra special with reserved seating, an appetizer buffet, drink tickets and raffle tickets for $50. The bar will only be open to ticket holders from 2 p.m. until the end of the game. (The rest of the dining room will be open to walk in guests for normal table service.) BTG is also a drop-off location for anyone looking to help out Coast Guard families during the government shutdown.

Industry news

Thai River should have reopened by Tuesday, Jan. 22, or so says PG&E, which had left the restaurant first without power and then without gas while performing building repairs.

The Big Easy is reaching out to their fans, asking for help to bring back the music to this venue after the city slapped on a bunch of new permit requirements. Even though the Big Easy went through a lengthy and expensive permit process in order to open for years, the city shut them down instead of letting the business continue to operate while making the necessary upgrades, which would have allowed them to continue to bring in the necessary income to pay for said repairs. As one of Petaluma’s only dedicated music venues, and a unique underground back-alley speakeasy type venue at that, it would be a shame for the Petaluma arts and entertainment scene to lose such a special spot. To help the Big Easy reopen, visit and search, “Help reopen The Big Easy & bring back the music!”

Small bites

Petaluma Toffee Company has introduced a new flavor for the New Year — Bailey’s Irish Cream Toffee. This is a test product and is only available at Charley’s Wine Country Deli in limited quantities and for a limited time. If you like what you taste, please let them know so they’ll add this to their already great line-up of handmade local toffees.

The New Year has also brought about several special menu items around our favorite dining spots. Simply Strudels has added fresh-baked bagels to the menu and has updated the hours to Tuesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. WakeUp Coffeehouse shares space and hours with Simply Strudels and features Petaluma Coffee Company’s single origin, fair-trade coffee, tea and other beverages. Taps has teamed up with Nicasio Valley Cheese to create a baked formaggio, which is topped with sundried tomato, pesto, fig preserve and served with grilled bread. Brewsters has added a winter special of chicken pot pie from house made puff pastry, chicken, celery, onion, carrot and béchamel. Not to be outdone, Lunchette has the special menu addition of Moroccan-spiced turkey meatballs in tomato sauce, quinoa, roasted cauliflower, olives, spinach, pickled raisins, Marcona almonds and herb yogurt sauce. Lastly, Ulia’s Deli is offer seasonal espresso drink specials of English toffee latte and Mayan mocha, made with Taylor Lane organic coffee.

Advance preview

Stemple Creek Ranch will hold its annual dinner on Saturday, March 30, but tickets sell our early, so I wanted to give you a heads up. This is a true farm-to-table dining experience because the guest chef will be using meats directly from the ranch. This dinner is doubly special because Chef Matt Elias and partner Laine Ayre, of the Bodega – CA food truck will partner with Barber Cellar wines for an updated repeat of the first Stemple Creek Ranch dinner we attended, which was spectacular, both for the food and wine, but also for the great new friends we met in the communal seating. Held in the Poncia’s historic barn, guest will get an update on the ranch’s carbon farming practices.

The Shuckery has big plans for both singles and couples with the “Addicted to Love” party in honor of Valentine’s Day. From 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16, head to the ballroom at the Hotel Petaluma for appetizers, great local raffle prizes and your “dating bingo card.” There will also be live music and dancing to CA Soul. In other tasty news, the Shuckery now carries Mariposa Ice Creamery on the dessert menu.

S.F. Beer Week runs Feb. 1 to 10, with plenty of great food and drink events all over the Bay Area. For more info, visit For a lineup of local brewery events to celebrate the occassion, as well as local beers participating in not-so-far-away events, stay tuned for Andrea Pierotti’s Beer Week preview article in the Jan. 31 Argus-Courier.

Upcoming crab feeds

This Saturday, Jan 26, Petaluma has four crab feeds (Dunham School, Sonoma Marin Italian Club, Rancho Adobe Firefighters and the Boys & Girls Club), followed by two feed on Saturday, Feb 2 (Petaluma High School Athletic Boosters Club and Pacific Empire Chorus). The next weekend starts with the Petaluma Woman’s Club feed on Friday, Feb. 8, where yours truly will be crying the auction and raffle. The weekend continues with two more crab feeds on Saturday, Feb. 9 (Sons and Daughters of Italy and Shoreline Acres Preschool.) For more info, see my “Ultimate Petaluma Crab Feed Guide” at

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