The Real Deal is this Saturday!
There's a lot of good food and drink happening in Petaluma now, and the upcoming annual Taste of Petaluma event not only helps keep local theatre arts alive, but provides us all with a special opportunity to have a lot of fun while tasting our way around the town. A few days ago I was invited to join a small group of other food writers for a mini taste tour around some of this year's participants to preview samples, meet the chefs and report back to my readers. Having participated myself in previous years as one of the chefs making up those hundreds of portions to pass out, it was a real treat to be on the other side of the table. And I came home feeling once again impressed, invigorated and proud that all this delicious food, renewing energy, hard work and clarity of purpose was happening in our own historic town...
"Taste of Petaluma Preview", continued:
...Tireless organizer, Laura Sunday, met up with us at Sugo Trattoria, where chef-owners Peter and Annette White both generously provided not only the Bresaola and Coppa Carpaccio, Arugula and Fennel Salad they will be offering on the big taste day, but also an expanded taste of their other housemade salumi and signature bruschetta, along with an additional helping of their full attention. We learned a lot about their extensive salumi making projects and dreams for the future, and it was obvious how much they love what they're doing. The salad was light and beautifully balanced with appropriately see-through slices of the richly flavored beef and pork carpaccio, just enough dressing on the nutty greens, and a scattering of capers for a piquant accent. And by the time we worked our way through the boards of meat and bruschetta, which inlcuded tasty layers of fig jam, olive tapenade, goat cheese and the classic tomato with basil, I felt satisfied enough to call it a wrap. But that was just the first stop on our tour.
In fact, Annette joined us as we rounded the corner for our next stop at Cordoza's Deli, where Bonnie Cordoza enthusiastically brought us out a round of Meatball and Marinara Sauce sliders with a side of Pasta Salad. Even in the mini size, the moist meatballs were a substantial helping inside soft little Artisan Bakery buns, and the al dente pasta salad was unusually bright and refreshing. Bonnie said they never wanted anyone to go away hungry. We didn't. We were also served Mango Iced Tea from Petaluma Coffee and Tea Company (thank you for supporting yet another local cause, Sheila!), as well as a dessert trio of little Cheesecakes from Sinful Delights. Amber had selected her New York Raspberry, Chocolate Mint and Caramel Macchiato creations for us to delight in. And light and creamy they were indeed.
Then we moved on from Italian to Japanese cuisine for sushi at Hiro's Restaurant right in the heart of downtown, where Hiro's has been a fixture on the boulevard for the past nine years. On taste day they will be passing out their widely adored California Roll wrapped in sticky rice-covered seaweed with fresh crab, avocado and cucumber inside. Yum. And then dipping into either side of the long, red compartmented box they brought each one of us, we also got to gobble up a poke of sweet Ahi tuna with pine nuts and chili oil, and then a crispy seafood and mushroom spring roll with chipotle mayonnaise. Such a parade of flavors and textures. Are we there yet?
Not quite. And neither are they. Even though the Social Club Restaurant and Bar isn't scheduled to open until September 5, they asked us in for a sneak preview of the construction site and a lot of information about their plans. It's definitely an ambitious project. Sitting around the table they had set up for us on the sidewalk, we got to hear all about the fresh, seasonal cocktails their mixologist will layer, blend, and shake up for customers from ingredients gathered at the farmers' market. As an homage to the location's original owners, these cocktails will come under the bar menu heading of "Tuttle's Elixirs". A complete listing of drinks and bar bites will be served continously from 4:00 in the afternoon until 1:30 am, with a full dinner menu of both small and large plate options available in the middle hours. We were brought espresso cups of the summery Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with a Dungeness Crab and Avocado Salad Croute balanced on top, just like you'll get to taste on tour day. General manager, Damion Wallace, described their excitement about pairing a decade of serious San Francisco city experience with the authentic country living that irresistably drew them here to Petaluma. They hope to offer an "open, warm, welcoming and cozy" place for people to hang out and meet in. We welcome and wish them well in return.
There are a lot of great places to have fun eating out in Petaluma, and we are all bound to have our regular favorites. But the Taste of Petaluma on August 25 gives us the chance to see what's going on and discover new favorites. To be reminded of all the community-minded, innovative people and amazing opportunites that surround and enrich our lives here every day. It's true. We do live in paradise. So come make the most of it! Discounted advance tickets are available until 3pm, August 24.
Bon Appetit! Kay
Kay serving up Heirloom Tomato and Bread Soup with Basil Pesto at a previous Taste of Petaluma.
For more information about the businesses that hosted us for this mini taste, please see Sugo Trattoria, Cordoza's Deli, Petaluma Coffee and Tea Company, Sinful Delights, Hiro's Restaurant, and the Social Club Restaurant and Bar.
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