Tuesday, December 1, 2015

My Perfect Fall Day

Moving across the county to a place where you know absolutely no one in your late 20s is a little jarring (to say the least).  We moved to California from Illinois two years ago and have lived in our current city a little over a year now. Exploring a new city can be fun, but also very overwhelming. What to do on a beautiful weekday morning or the ever elusive 'parents night out'? Where to start? Luckily in this age, we have the convince of technology and social media. Yelp has been a saving grace on days we can't be in the house any longer. But you can only go to the same places so many times. Que... Eventbrite. Eventbrite offers tons of options for creating and promoting events (if interested use their event management and planning page), but I love it for finding events! It's super easy to search for things that are going on in your area; good for planned day trips or impromptu nights out. I usually check it once a week and save events based on our schedule. We don't always make them, but I love knowing it is always there if we need something to do.   

As a somewhat newbie to the area, I thought it would be interesting to use this prompt from Eventbrite and share with you some of the awesome things we have found in Petaluma.

 One of the best things about visiting or moving to any new place it checking out the food! Mark and I pride ourselves on being (very) amateur local food connoisseurs. We make it a point to try to never eat the same place twice for our weekly date night. Out of all the places we've ate here in Petaluma, I have my top favorites for each meal. So, of course, I am starting out the day with: 

This place... there are no words, really.. I don't know how food critics write! The owners have their own farm and purchase from other local farmers to create amazing dishes with homegrown taste. The menu changes with seasons, but never disappoints! If you do anything in Petaluma go here.. and just stay for all 3 meals!

After the fulfilling meal, a walk downtown is a must. The streets are lined with locally owned quaint shops of many varieties. Downtown offers something for everyone (literally) with boutiques, toy stores, tons of resale, craft stores, coffee joints, salons all intermixed with parks and a river view. My two favorite places to stop are Copperfield's Bookstore and Powell's Sweet Shoppe

Copperfield's is a regional chain bookstore. They have about 7 locations in Sonoma County. I used to be a Barnes & Noble kinda gal, but when we moved I discovered the closest one was about 25 minutes away. So I thought I'd give this place a try. I have to say my favorite part about this store is the customer service. I would go as far as saying it is the best customer service I have had in a store ever. The staff is so knowledgeable, but not condescending. It is very laid back and inviting, with that corner bookstore feel. And for being just a local bookstore, they get a huge variety of nationally known authors to do events regularly. You could most definitely spend hours in this place and you should!

Powell's is a franchised candy shop with about 15 locations (mostly in California). I'm a bit of a candy freak (although I don't eat it much anymore because of sensitive teeth), so I have been to my fair share of candy stores. NOTHING compares to this place. They have everything you could ever want and more. Candies, old and new, sodas, specialty chocolates, and to-die-for gelato. My son loves picking out a couple of his own candies (he likes the gummies) and I have an affinity for the raspberry chocolate sorbeto mixed with the white chocolate strawberry gelato.  When I took my out-of-town parents here, I saw both of their faces light-up as they relived their childhoods' through their favorite old time candies. I'm not even joking when I say this is one of my favorites parts of living in Petaluma! 

After a couple hours of shopping, take a break and enjoy the beauty that is wine country. I'm not a big drinker, but being that Sonoma County is wine country, I have to add a winery into the list. Even if you aren't into drinking, experiencing a winery is a must in Petaluma and Kastania Vineyards is the one to experience. They offer tours and wine tasting on weekends and allow you to bring a lunch (grab sandwiches from Lucchesi's Deli) while you enjoy the views and test out wines. I love that it is family owned; their commitment and hard work is definitely shown in the quality of their wine.

By now you should be ready for dinner and if you're not, just one whiff of the smells coming from Sauced will get you ready for your newest addiction. If you know me, you know that I was super hesitant about going to this place. That is because I don't like barbecue. I have just never liked my meat drowned in sauce; way too overwhelming for me. So when we decided to give it a try, I wasn't expecting much; even reading the menu didn't change my mind. I just wasn't sure how the meat would be with all the sauce on it. BUT the awesome thing about this place is the meat comes dry and you put the sauce on it. They have 4 homemade sauces on the table and you choose what and how much to put on your meat. Oh and the meat.... sooo darn good! The chicken is so juicy you don't even need sauce and brisket is mouth-watering. And the sides are even better; the corn bread and sweet potato casserole are the best I've ever had by far. We've been to this place more times than any other in Petaluma and we have brought every out-of-town guest here as well. 
They also have a really fun event calendar with trivia, bingo, and live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
 Take it from a non-barbecue lover, go here; this place will change you! 

.After Hours.
End the night at the famous Lagunitas Brewing Company. This place has an awesome history here in Petaluma and recently opened another facility in Chicago. You get to hear the whole story when you take a free brewery TASTING tour. Like I said earlier, I am not a big drinker, but the tour alone is well worth the visit. When we moved here, Lagunitas was always the first suggestion everyone gave us when we asked for things to do. It has such a fun atmosphere with live music everyday and some unique special events throughout the year. 

It is the perfect place for a day date or end to your night. You are sure to leave with happy taste buds and a greater appreciation for the art of craft brewing.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my perfect Fall day in Petaluma. If it sparked your interest... good, come visit us!!!! 
***I'm talking to you family and friends!***

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