Culinary Petaluma

I may look like a doddering old redneck, but i am still fully equipped with taste buds, educated taste buds.  So you can imagine my horror when on one of my reconnointering visits here i went into the très très upscale Della Fattoria, paid $6 for an eclair, and discovered when i bit into it that it was filled with chocolate flavored whipped cream.  Look, i quite like chocolate flavored whipped cream, but a real éclair is filled with (crème pâtissière), a rich French custard that for use in an éclair is flavored with chocolate.  Humpf.  Shoulda known that people who spell éclair without the acute accent couldn’t be bothered to make a custard filling.

Oh, and while i’m dishing Della Fattoria, i’ll point out that their website mentions their being in the building that formerly housed US Bakery.  Yes, that wonderful downscale bakery i made a point of visiting when i came here in the eighties, nineties, and oughts.  Thank goodness i got here before the gentrification was complete, so the old Bovine bakery is still open on Kentucky Street.  Tasty and not the least bit pretentious.

In my previous post i wrote of discovering the night i moved here Fourth and Sea, a fine fish and chips place.  That was the night of Wednesday the 16th.  Today, Sunday, i’ve just finished lunch at McNear’s, and it was the first meal i’ve had in Petaluma that was not at Fourth and Sea.  And since the first night there i’ve refrained from their superlative chips and had only one piece of their sublime fish with a little cup of their tartar sauce into which i’ve mixed the juice of a lemon slice.  Yes, i don’t eat breakfast, so that means every lunch and supper.  Yesterday at lunch i rolled up on the Segway and walked up to the takeout window, where my favorite clerk said, “Hi, Matte, one piece of fish with tartar sauce and lemon?”

So i kinda feel like i’m betraying them by eating elsewhere, but see, i wanted to write this post and they don’t have wifi.  I’ve stopped at McNear’s most nights and am working my way through their list of local draft beers while i go online.  But today i actually ate something.  Figured i’d just test ’em with the basic eggs Benedict, and omigod, i honestly do not recall eating a better.  The only down side was that their home fries were so delicious that i could not stop myself and ate every last one.

Which i guess is ok because before lunch i’d stopped in at 24 Hour Fitness across the street and turned myself in for my first visit to a gym in a couple of weeks, having been too occupied with moving to go in SF for a while.  I’d rather expected the local 24 Hour branch to be a smaller, dingier version of the sparkling new place in San Francisco, so i was astonished to discover that they’ve taken over both floors of the southern half of the Old US Post Office building, so the venue is enormous with lots of space between even more machines than in SF.  It’s also gorgeous inside, with big exposed wooden beams and rustic brick.  Well airconditioned, of course.

Petaluma is a sleepy little middle class town that has just been Discovered by upscalers like me, so it now has all the amenities but retains its charm.  Dear God, i’m in paradise and not even dead yet.  But wait, after i’m dead i’ll of course be somewhere else.

Meanwhile, here’s a delightful old grist mill in the 24 Hour Fitness lobby.  I’ll edit this post later with more information about that building, but chiseled into the stone in the front are the words, “US Post Office” even though the current post office is in a handsome old building on 4th Street.



OK, and a better shot of that pedestrian bridge.

pedestrian bridge over the Petaluma River


The problem with that bridge, even though i’d incorporated it into my favorite route home, is that after you’ve rolled across it you are pretty much forced to pass directly in front of a Baskin Robbins store.  I hadn’t eaten Baskin Robbins ice cream in decades, confining my ice cream to that made by local gourmet shops, but i have to say that BR’s Chocolate Mousse Delight, or whatever they call it, is every bit as good as any of that upscale stuff i’ve been raving about.

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  1. David Ogden
    Posted 24 September 2015 at 16:25 | Permalink

    Sorry about your Della Fattoria experience. They had no idea you were a gourmand rather than a redneck. Good bread though. But I’m stopping with my recommendations. You live there now, and know the place way better than I do.

    One of my fave buildings there is an antique store that started life off as a bank. Beautiful appointments and construction. You have to wonder why a bank in Petaluma would be three stories, full of marble and just over the top for a bank in a small town.

    • Posted 24 September 2015 at 16:48 | Permalink

      Well, hell, you didn’t need to confess that you’d recommended Della Fattoria, and to be fair i have to confess that other than the filling, their eclair was excellent. My real gripe with the place was that it just reeked as being over the top upscale, so i was mightily miffed when i bit into that eclair and found the second class filling. Do keep your recommendations coming, as that’s how we all learn about new places. And now i’m so embarrassed over dishing a place you’d recommended that i’ll have to keep going back there and trying other pastries.

      My favorite former Petaluma bank is the Seed Bank, a cavernous enmarbled confection now devoted to heirloom seeds and fine gardening supplies.

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