Petaluma, as known by Peanuts fans, was the birthplace of Snoopy. But more importantly, for me, it’s in the beautiful Sonoma County. Sonoma County is known for wine making and olive oil pressing, but at one time Petaluma was the egg producer in California. Alas, that went away a few decades ago, but cheese making is very big in that area, hence the Artisan Cheese Festival held at the Sheraton this recently.
Some fellow-foodie friends told me about it, thankfully, so I signed up Paul and myself for the grand tasting Saturday night. There were 20-something restaurants represented, all offering a bite of deliciousness incorporating cheese. Our faves were the appetizer with melted raclette and the goat cheese ice cream with cherries. Little tiny scoops on little tiny cones! We snagged 3 each over the course of the evening. I also learned that I like hard cider, at least the ones I tried.
There is a restaurant in Petaluma where we always stop: Giacomo’s. It’s on the southeast end of town, on Lakeville Rd. Paul claims their food is as good as any he’s had in Italy. Seems like an extravagant claim, but it really is wonderful. We shared the fried calamari steak and an appetizer and were stuffed and happy. I highly recommend Giacomo’s.
This was our first time spending the night in Petaluma, as we’re usually on the way to someplace else, and based on my online research for price and quality (equals value) I settled on Quality Inn. Paul is a highly veteran traveler and he doesn’t like Quality Inn but the reviews for this property were really good so we booked it. It was comfortable and clean with big rooms. And the breakfast – I always turn up my nose at motel breakfasts and insist that we go out. Well, you know why. It was actually decent, with scrambled eggs and sausage. So we saved some serious money there and I wasn’t pitching a fit! The coffee was awful but there are 2 Peet’s Coffee in Petaluma, so no harm, no foul.
We decided to do a drive around the area and visit some cheese places. We only managed to go to the Marin French Cheese Company outside of Petaluma, but it was a pretty place. They make soft cheeses like brie, and I love their Rouge et Noir brand of camembert. Paul bought one of their t-shirts only after going into the Cowgirl Creamery (love their cheese) in Point Arena and discovering their t-shirts are boring.
Our last day there we were looking for a great place for lunch. The Wild Goat Bistro popped up on our gps while downtown. We parked (parking in old downtown is a little challenging) and started walking. Well, we didn’t find it but had panini at the Corkscrew Wine Bar. That was really nice and we enjoyed the owner. He highly recommended the Wild Goat Bistro! After finding out exactly where it was, we walked over and it was busy. The menu looked really good, my kind of place. Go there and tell me what you think.
We accidentally found the Cottage Gardens of Petaluma; Paul saw a sign that said “vegetable starts” so I made a u-turn and drove up a little hill. And there was this lovely nursery. We bought a couple plants and I nabbed a gorgeous planter. Very happy we stopped in. Be sure you do too when you visit Petaluma.