Last weekend I was made homeless for a day because my entire downstairs and yard were used to shoot a commercial – yes, even my home needs to earn its keep! As a result, and thankful for a bright sunny morning, I got to spend a few hours wandering around downtown Petaluma, which is just a stone’s throw from my front door, and I thought I would share some of my favorite spots.
If you haven’t been to Petaluma—a Victorian gem of a town that could be easily overlooked as you speed up Highway 101 en route to Healdsburg and the Russian River—it’s high time you checked it out. I know I keep saying this, but I can’t believe how the transformation of Petaluma continues at pace. New places to hangout, buy delicious food and take advantage of the phenomenal farming country around us, continue to pop up on an almost weekly basis.
1. It’s just Lunch(ette)
The newest “food kid” on the block is Lunchette – opened just a few days ago by Naomi Crawford and Joel Baecker, offering, in their own words: “carryout plant-based lunches made with seasonal, organic, local ingredients”. I plan to do a deeper review and interview soon, but in a quick chat with Naomi at their open house last week, she told me that they hope to fill a much-needed gap for, you guessed it, lunch. Aside from Wholefoods, which as she pointed out: only offers a food bar, “isn’t curated”, nor is it that good, the food options for a growling belly around the noon hour have been pretty limited. (Unless you like deli sandwiches, in which case head to Ray’s on Western.) You can see Lunchette’s yummy menu here. Salads and pizza al taglio (pictured up top) are the main featured items.
Lunchette is at 25, 4th Street, pretty much next door to Acre Coffee.
2. Acre Coffee pit stop
When I first moved to Petaluma in 2011, Acre Coffee had recently opened its first coffee shop on 4th Street and in hindsight, it was a glimpse of things to come for our little cow town. Among the first joints to put out a rustic yet stylish vibe, Acre has since grown to include a Roastery on Petaluma Blvd. North, and locations in Santa Rosa. My coffee choices invite derision from aficionados, but I can attest to the quality of their decaf almond lattes, although even then, I wimp out and ask for one shot.
Acre Downtown is at 21 4th Street, Petaluma.
3. Light up the Barbie! But first get thee to Thistle Meats
You can take the girl out of England, and even give her an American passport, but you can’t take England out of the girl. English barbecues are a “thing”. As in a special occasion, that can’t be planned in advance because of the terrible summer weather, although we have been known to grill in my dad’s garage on occasion. The other thing about an English barbie is that the Brits tend to grill everything in sight. So you can expect to eat lamb chops, steak, sausages and hamburgers all at one sitting. If such a feast is in mind, then the only place to go is Thistle Meats, the butcher and charcuterie which has become the locals favorite meatery. House-made sausages, cured meats and pâtés, make this the perfect place to pick up a picnic, or your Easter roast.
Thistle Meats is at 160 Petaluma Boulevard North
4. Grab elevenses at The Drawing Board’s new window
The Drawing Board is fast becoming my favorite bar hangout in town: perfect for a cocktail and appetizers, or a full-blown dinner. But Molly Best, who owns Thistle Meats, clued me into the fact that they have just started doing coffee and pastry service out of their window. I swung on by to check it out, only to find that the gluten-free goodies were long gone, but I will be back another day to sample these delicious looking goodies.
5. Don’t forget your four-legged friends: Petaluma Pet Company
I have a soft spot for the Petaluma Pet Company, because like me, it started its journey to Petaluma in Noe Valley (my old neighborhood of 13 years), with the Noe Valley Pet Company. Aware that my two furry companions were not really enjoying the fact that our house had been over-run with a film crew of 25+, I popped in to grab them a couple of marrow bones which they have now been proudly touting to anyone who cares to know, for the past week.
Petaluma Pet Co. is at 144 Petaluma Blvd North, Petaluma.