Petaluma Eats! And Drinks at Jamison’s Roaring Donkey

Jamisons Roaring Donkey Co-Owner Brian Tatko & Shot Counter
Jamison’s Roaring Donkey Co-Owner Brian Tatko and Shot Counter

My first foray into Jamison’s Roaring Donkey came one warm and sleepy August afternoon.  Barkeep Justin knew his stuff and suggested a Petaluma Hills Porterluma…which scored huge points as it is one of my favorites.  But what to call this place?  …Jamison’s, JRD, The Roaring Donkey, or maybe just the Donkey?  In time, it has become affectionately known as either Roaring Donkey…or to the regulars among my drinking crowd, simply as the Donkey, because nothing piques the curiosity of bystanders more than say, “Who wants to grab a drink at the Donkey?”

Jamison's Roaring Donkey Bling Box
Jamison’s Roaring Donkey “Bling Box”

Although pleasant and comfortable, when I first looked around I had trouble figuring out what kind of bar Roaring Donkey was trying to be.  There are big screens, like a sports bar, but there is also a separate room for hosting bands, open mic nights, or a DJ, like a club.  There is a booth in the back, like a lounge, but there are also darts and a pool table, like a pub or tavern.  The dual-station bar has a massive list of hip cocktails, serves Jameson’s Whiskey on tap, and has a “shot” counter on the wall, kind of like a college bar, but is complemented by an impressive tap station, like a brewpub taproom, even sporting multiple nitrous taps…one of which is always pushing out Guinness.  Topping it all off, the bar has a diverse list of libations, including a “Bling Box” for displaying a variety of top of the line elixirs that are not usually available by the glass, like a classy gin joint.  “We will offer shots at our cost,” says co-owner Brian Tatko.  “We want to make it easy for people to celebrate their special occasions with us.”

5 Tips For Homebrewers Entering The Sonoma County Home Brewer’s Competition

We collected some of the best tips from top local breweries to help homebrewers prepare for the 2015 1st Annual Sonoma County Home Brewers Competition. Here are some tips for creating a winning brew.

1. Beer Hygiene

No Rinse SanitizerIt is imperative that you always be neat and clean.  Don’t use bleaches on your equipment because it can cause a chemical reaction with the maltose molecules and end in a nasty flavor.  Even a slight drop of bleach can destroy an entire batch of a perfect brew.  There are so many cleaners and sanitizers available in the market, but you can purchase an inexpensive  vodka which does the job just fine as a sanitizer.  You can also use vodka in your airlock instead of water.  Keep some vodka handy in a spray mist bottle so you can also use it on your equipment on the fly.

To keep your bottles clean use a large cooler that can hold as many as 48 beer bottles.  Fill it with 6 – 7 gallons of water with the plug near a drain or sink.  Add some no-rinse sanitizer.  Sink your bottles neck up until they fill with water to the point they stop floating. You may need to add more water and sanitizer to get larger sized bottles submerged. Leave them there until you are ready for bottling process.  Pull the plug to discard the water.

Russian River Brewing Company LogoVinnie Cilurzo, Owner/Brewer for Russian River Brewing Company  “At the end of the day sanitation is everything, without good sanitation a brewer cannot make good beer, clean, clean clean.  For the advance brewer, don’t overlook how much hop bitterness you will pick up from late kettle and whirlpool hop additions as the wort potentially sits for a while before being cooled down.”

Petaluma Hills Brewery 2JJ Jay is the master brewer for Petaluma Hills Brewery.  My advice is: “A solid recipe, reasonable brewing procedures, and clean and sanitary space and equipment will produce an awesome beer every time!”

Bonus tip on bottling from Bob Peak at The Beverage People Santa Rosa: When using a bottle filler without a spring in the tip, put a wooden spoon under your bottling bucket with the handle sticking out over the edge of the counter. Loop the hose over it, hanging the filler in the “off” position while capping a few bottles or getting a new case.


What’s Going On In #Petaluma This Week?

Rocky Horror Picture ShowRocky Horror Picture Show – Fri., Mar. 27, 11:30pm: Tickets: $10. Call 762-3565 for details. Held at the Phoenix Theater, 201 Washington St.

Petaluma Garden Club Plant SalePetaluma Garden Club Plant Sale – Sat., Mar. 28, 9am-1pm: at 488 Casa Verde Circle. Call 762-4148 for more information.

10th Annual Great Petaluma Egg Hunt – Sat., Mar.28, 10-Noon:  Egg Hunt, Face painting  & more. Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, 175 Fairgrounds Dr.  For more information call: 773-2273 or visit

Salvation Army Car Show at Casa Grande High SchoolSalvation Army 3rd Annual Car Show – Sat., Mar. 28, 10am to 2pm: Food, music and silent auction. Free. At Casa Grande High School, 333 Casa Grande Road.

Boating at the BarnSundays, 10am-1pm: Pick a rowboat, canoe, kayak or sailboat. River Heritage Center in Steamer Landing Park. Call 769-0910 for information.

East-Side Farmers’ MarketTuesdays, 10am-1:30pm: Year-round, rain or shine! In the Petaluma Community Center Parking Lot, 320 N. McDowell Blvd. For info call 415-999-5635.

Petaluma Film Alliance Cinema Series – Wed., Apr. 1: Alexander Payne’s 1999 film “Election.” Pre-film lecture at 6pm; film at 7pm. Carole L. Ellis Auditorium, SRJC, 680 Sonoma Mtn. Pkwy.

Barnett-John-Slide_0Copperfield’s Books: Meet the AuthorsWed., Apr. 1: Jacob Rubin, author of “The Poser,” 6pm. Free. Jamison’s Roaring Donkey, 146 Kentucky St. Also, Mac Barnett and Jory John, authors of “The Terrible Two,” 7pm at Copperfields, 140 Kentucky St. 762-0563.

20th Annual Children’s Easter Fair at Outlets – Sat., Apr. 4, 12- 3pm: Children’s crafts, games, face-painting, balloon animals, a strolling Easter Bunny and more! Petaluma Village Premium Outlets, 2200 Pet. Blvd. North.

Which Came First—the Butter or the Egg?

Picture Girl Riding ChickenMost Petalumans have either heard of or been to Petaluma’s annual Butter and Egg Days Parade. Many of us have even participated in it and some have grown up going to it every year. But how many of us know the full history behind Butter and Egg Days?

Drawing nearly 25,000 attendees each year, the parade celebrates the city’s long history of producing eggs and dairy. Since the early 1900’s, Petaluma’s economy has depended heavily on the production of the local agricultural community. Petaluma was home to the largest chicken hatchery in the world by 1906 and by 1923 housed the only chicken pharmacy in the nation.

Butter & Egg Days HistoryIn order to promote Petaluma and the consumption of eggs, Petaluma Chamber of Commerce Secretary, H.W (Bert) Kerrigan began National Egg Days in 1918. The first National Egg Day parade brought in four newsreel companies who then made films of the parades, which were shown across the nation. Petaluma celebrated National Egg Days through the 1920s with much enthusiasm and support from the local community.

Clo The Cow Leading The Butter & Egg Days ParadeWhile the tradition of National Egg Days ended in the late 1920s, the idea carried on and inspired Alice Forsyth and Linda Buffo to establish Petaluma’s Butter and Egg Days in 1981. The original egg theme was used, although the egg industry was no longer as prominent as it had been in the 1920s, while the dairy industry had grown. For that reason, the 1983 committee decided to ask local dairies to participate, thus creating Petaluma’s annual Butter and Egg Days.

The parade was brought back in order to celebrate the town’s culture, history, and heritage. This year is our 34th celebration of Petaluma and the farmers whose contributions have made our town possible.

The Petaluma Butter and Egg Days parade and festival is a community event that brings everyone together and displays the best that Petaluma has to offer. The parade and festival celebrate Petaluma’s rich culture and history, bringing together the past and the present, as we join together to look forward with hope.


World Food Champs Chow Down in #Petaluma

A Table Set For World Food Champions Positively PetalumaThis week the World Dessert Champion, Petaluma’s very own Laurie Figone, hosted a dinner for her friends and family, other World Food Champs, and the CEO of World Food Championships, Mike McCloud.

Pictured with Laurie is Kelli Fairchild-Cochran World Sandwich Champion and The Bacon Babe with husband and Sous Chef
Pictured with Laurie is Kelli Fairchild-Cochran World Sandwich Champion and The Bacon Babe with husband and Sous Chef

The night was a celebration of friendship and food, as well as a reunion for the some of World Food Champs. On the menu for the night were two of Laurie’s recipes, PETE’S Grilled Corn Potato Salad and Crowd Pleasing Slaw, Figone’s husband’s prawn risotto, and a whole roasted pig, donated by Pete Langley.

Pete Langley Prepares The Pig, Photo By Ashley Collingwood
Pete Langley Prepares The Pig, Photo By Ashley Collingwood

After toasts were given and plates were cleared of food, the guests gathered to see a sneak preview of the reality TV show Pete Stringfellow filmed of Figone and her cousin, Dawn Bettinelli in Las Vegas during the 2014 World Food Championships (WFC). The show features Figone as head chef, with Bettinelli as her sous-chef, and takes viewers behind the scenes of the WFC to see the chaos and humor of cooking competitions.A Dinner Fit for Food Champions Positively Petaluma

Sneak Peak of Laurie Figones New Cookbook Positively PetalumaGuests also had the chance to see a prototype of Figone’s upcoming cookbook, Cooking with Laurie Figone. The cookbook will feature around 30 of Figone’s recipes as well as gorgeous photos of her food and a special interactive element. For those with smart phones, each individual recipe will contain images that can be used to bring up short videos of Figone giving tips for that particular recipe, making it easier to follow along.


What’s Going On In #Petaluma? Week of March 22

Cheese9th Annual Artisan Cheese Festival – Mar. 20-22: Explore & learn about hand-crafted cheese & more. Tickets available at: . Held at the Petaluma Sheraton, 745 Baywood Drive.  For March 22, 9:30 am -12:00pm Cooking Demo and Brunch and 12:00pm – 4:00 pm Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace (Grand Tasting Tent, Sheraton – Sonoma County)

Comrades-and-Chicken-Ranchers “A Home on the Range: The Jewish Chicken Ranchers of Petaluma” – Sat. Mar. 21, 3pm: Screening of local film by Bonnie Burt. Petaluma Historical Library & Museum, 20 Fourth St.   778-4398.

Improve your Luck Workshop – Sun., Mar. 22, 10 –Noon: Includes materials & refreshments. For more information visit:

Boating at the BarnSundays, 10am-1pm: Pick a rowboat, canoe, kayak or sailboat. River Heritage Center in Steamer Landing Park. Call 769-0910 for information.

Portuguese Heritage CelebrationSun., Mar. 22, 2:30pm: A festive afternoon of history, customs, dance, music, food & more. Petaluma Historical Library & Museum, 20 Fourth St.  778-4398.

Mentor Me Mad Hatters BallEast-Side Farmers’ MarketTuesdays, 10am-1:30pm: Year-round, rain or shine! In the Petaluma Community Center Parking Lot, 320 N. McDowell Blvd. For info call 415-999-5635.

Petaluma Garden Club Plant Sale – Sat., Mar. 28, 9am-1pm: at 488 Casa Verde Circle. Call for details: 762-4148.

10th Annual Mad Hatter Ball – Sat., Mar. 28, 5:30pm: Dinner, dessert, wine room, beer garden, dancing to The Grooveline, silent & live auctions & hat contest! Cavanaugh Recreation Center, 426 8th St. 778-4798

Petaluma Author Reading: ‘The Gentleman Bat’ and ‘Too Many Tables’ by Abraham Schroeder

Don’t miss the reading of The Gentleman Bat and Too Many Tables by Abraham Schroeder.

Petaluma Regional LibrarySaturday, April 4, 2015 – 2:00pm

Petaluma, CA 94952

Local author Abraham Schroeder will be reading from his first children’s book, The Gentleman Bat, followed by a discussion of bats and some of the hidden details in and inspiration for the book.

Enjoy the story and beautiful watercolor paintings, filled with fun details in a Victorian setting, with an ever-so-slight slight dusting of steampunk.

Too Many Tables By Abraham Schroeder
Too Many Tables By Abraham Schroeder

There will also be a sneak preview reading of Abraham’s second book, Too Many Tables, which will be in bookstores April 28th. However, for this special event, Copperfield’s Books will have BOTH books for sale, and available to be signed by the author at the event.

The target age range for the event is around 3-10, but children and adults of all ages will enjoy the story and beautiful watercolor paintings.

More information about the book can be found at

More information about the event can be found at

Petaluma Author Abraham SchroederAbraham Schroeder is an artist, designer, and writer, currently living in Petaluma, California with his wife and son, after residing in a dozen other places, including Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Minnesota, Alaska, and Japan. He worked for 7 years in the Asian Art Department at the Museum of Fine Arts, and during that time managed a massive 5-year project to catalog, digitize, and rehouse the MFA’s spectacular collection of 50,000+ Japanese prints. An 1880’s woodblock print of bats by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi in the MFA collection was the seed of inspiration for his first published children’s book, The Gentleman Bat, which tells a heartwarming story in rhyme, and features gorgeous watercolor and ink paintings by Piotr Parda.His second book, Too Many Tables, also from Ripple Grove Press, is a silly and comical story with fun, colorful illustrations by Micah Chambers-Goldberg. It will be available early 2015.

VIDEO: World War II Vet, #Petaluma’s Arthur Wedel, On The Price Is Right Show

Petaluma resident Arthur Wedel, a USMC WWII Veteran, was on the game show the The Price is Right. They released this short video of host Drew Carey calling him up as a contestant on the show.  The crowd gave stand-up applause cheering USA! USA! USA!  As he approach his game panel he shouts “United States Marine Corp!”

The Price is Right YouTube post says “We’re so proud to have fans like Arthur — a 92-year-old WWII veteran! What an honor to have him in our audience!”

Petaluma is a Purple Heart City and celebrates our veterans in our annual Veterans Day Parade which is the largest parade of its kind north of the golden gate.  For more information about that event see our previous post #Petaluma’s Veteran’s Day Parade: Schedule, Highlights, History & Video

#Petaluma’s CamelBak® chooses Yingo Yango to power its extensive health & wellness program

CamelBak's Cafeteria, Photo by Terray Sylvester / The Chronicle
CamelBak’s Cafeteria, Photo by Terray Sylvester / The Chronicle

Yingo Yango, a white-label mobile platform for care management and health & wellness program delivery, announced today a new relationship with CamelBak, the world’s leader in hydration products, headquartered in Petaluma, California. CamelBak will use Yingo Yango to power its employee health & wellness program, “Bak to Health,” for all mobile devices, making it more interactive and engaging on a real-time basis.  See also our post just a few weeks ago on Camelbak Water, water everywhere! An Inside Look at CamelBak in #Petaluma

Richard Braddock, Yingo Yango’s Chairman, says: “CamelBak and Yingo Yango share the goal of using simple technology to bring content and data together in ways that are intuitive to the user and repeatedly actionable. Yingo Yango is a customer-centric, disease-focused platform—interoperable and consistent with the evolution of healthcare. We are proud to support CamelBak as they bring the best in healthcare solutions to their employees. Together we will ensure smarter actions and healthier outcomes.”

camelbak best places to workGiven its innovative and outdoors-friendly culture, Camelbak has long been recognized as an exceptional place to work. When it comes to employee wellbeing, the founders of the “Hydration Revolution” have thought of nearly everything, from a fully stocked fitness facility with on-site trainers and healthy snack stations to a fleet of bikes that can be taken to a nearby park. Yet CamelBak recognizes that perks are just one piece of ensuring positive health and morale and are looking to do a lot more for their employees this year with the help of Yingo Yango’s platform.

“Our Bak to Health program is about building a community within our company,” explains Trevor Cherr, HR Analyst at CamelBak. “Yingo Yango makes custom deployment of challenges, communication, individual goal setting and other engaging programming really easy. It’s our brand and our schedule, pushed out to our very own app on every employee’s smartphone. Yingo Yango provides the flexible and customizable technology we need to easily deliver our resources how we want.”

For more information see more via PR Newswire

“I Drink Beer For A Living”: An Interview with Petaluma’s Ken Weaver

President & Publisher Chris Rice "All About Beer"
President & Publisher Chris Rice “All About Beer”

Ken Weaver was recently named editor at ‘All About Beer’ Magazine. All About Beer president & publisher Chris Rice said “Ken has his finger on the pulse of today’s beer releases,” and Weaver admits he’s tasted many versions of the sudsy beverage.

Before he earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland, Weaver earned an undergraduate degree in physics from Carnegie-Mellon and then a master’s in physics from Cornell University. It’s at Cornell where Ken met his wife, a Nicasio native, Anneliese Schmidt.

According to their website:

Ken-Weaver-BIOWeaver, who is based in Petaluma, CA, previously served as editor in chief of RateBeer Weekly. He also serves as a regular contributor to FSR Magazine, focusing on improving beer’s presence in the full-service restaurant industry; columnist and reviewer for the Rare Beer Club; and publisher of his beer release newsletter 3 Beer Island. His first book, The Northern California Craft Beer Guide, was named a finalist for an NCIBA Book of the Year Award. In 2013, Weaver earned first-place honors in the North American Guild of Beer Writers’ (earned a total of 3 awards from the NAGB) contest in the Best Beer and Food Writing category.

Petaluma Craft GuildPetaluma (and Sonoma County) is fast becoming a player in the craft brew industry with companies like Lagunitas, Petaluma Hills, 101 North, Hen House, and Dempseys.  Petaluma also has its own wine and spirits association called the Petaluma Craft Guild.  They are brewers, distillers & vintners of Petaluma who come together to promote the craft spirit of the city. Each year Petaluma is host to the Petaluma River Craft Beer Festival (mark your calendars for this year its on September 12, 2015).  Also Petaluma will host its 1st annual Sonoma County Home Brewer’s Competition (so keep your eyes open for potential new talent coming our way) and that will be held on May 23rd at the Veterans Memorial Building. So naturally after we learned that Ken became editor of a national beer magazine, we had to learn more. We thought you would like to as well so here is what Ken had to say: