Petaluma Eats! at Vicci Moto Coffee Cart – First To Yelp Review

Vicci Moto-2Established recently, business owners Allan and Shelly Hermansen opened Vicci Moto Coffee cart. They realized that the auto-row industrial park was in dire need for a place to get coffee and they decided to anchor it with their motor sports apparel business.  We see them in social media and previously shared information about their Kickstarter campaign to open the coffee cart that raised over a few thousand to help them get started. While driving across town over the Corona St. bridge and needing a caffeine boost I started running through my mind ‘Where is the nearest place to get coffee?’  Bam! Vicci came to mind.  Had to stop and try it out.

Vicci Moto Coffee CartI first drove Industrial Avenue to the front side of their building and saw the small coffee signs with arrows navigating me to the Auto Center Drive side of the building and saw the roll-up doors and coffee cart. When I arrived Allan was talking to one of their regulars who worked at Kala Brand Music which is close by.   I ordered a double cappuccino and starting talking with Allan. He tells us that they not only saw the need for a place for the industrial park and auto row, but they also wanted a way to become more ingrained into the community.  They would rather be meeting the people from Petaluma than sitting behind a desk and computer all day trying to introduce people to their business.

Vicci Corsa PoloVicci Moto creates apparel for the racing industry.  They plan to have events for auto sport groups and to expand and accommodate their guests with a lounge like experience – – who can also enjoy a great ‘cup-of-joe’ during their visit.  They are also working on designing men’s racing apparel that is stylish and appropriate for off-track everyday wear like polo shirts.

If you are ever in the neighborhood, swing by and check them out.  They also have a menu of breakfast burritos, muffins and croissants. We were the first to Yelp review Vicci Moto Coffee Cart – I am sure they are going to get a lot more good reviews in the future.

Positively Petaluma First To Yelp Review Vicci Coffee Cart
Positively Petaluma First To Yelp Review Vicci Coffee Cart

Thank to Vicci also for their thank you tweet!

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.”

Petaluma Eats! at Secret Kitchen

Secret Kitchen5As the first one to post a Yelp reviewer for Secret Kitchen (back in May 2014), I knew Chef Brenda Anderson’s new restaurant would be popular, even though a bit hard to find.  Close to a year later and it comes as no surprise that her incredibly diverse and delicious menu chalked full of healthy, locally sourced ingredients didn’t stayed a secret for long.  At a recent fundraiser a “Chef’s Dinner for 6” at the Secret Kitchen blew all the other auction items out of the water even though the high bidder hadn’t tasted the food before.  This proves that around Petaluma people fall into one of two camps.  Either they have been to Secret Kitchen and loved it OR they have heard about Chef Brenda’s food and are dying to try it for themselves.

… the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Roald Dahl

Secret Kitchen2The quick five minute drive west of downtown Petaluma will take you past the very farms and fields where Chef Brenda sources the fresh ingredients for Secret Kitchen’s menu.  Primarily Asian-Latin fusion, her cuisine gives all those fancy San Francisco food trucks a run for their money, especially considering Secret Kitchen is a much shorter drive …and doesn’t require a Twitter account to find out where they will be parked that day.  Splashed with colors nearly as loud and bold as her flavorful menu, Secret Kitchen is hard to miss, even though it’s tucked in behind Aguis Market (at the corner of Bodega Avenue and Eucalyptus Road/Skillman Lane.)  And like so much about Petaluma, your smartphone will only get you so far, so don’t be afraid to ask a local for directions.  …that’s kind of the way we like it.

Petaluma Eats! at Sugo Trattoria

Although Petaluma has a lot of great restaurants, I always find myself returning to Sugo.  Whether visiting for a business lunch, dinner before the movies, or just for some after-dinner sweets and a glass of wine, you will love Sugo.

Having moved back to Petaluma in the mid-2000’s, I have tasted everything on Sugo’s menu, with the most memorable items being…well…everything.  In fact, I always arrive at Sugo knowing exactly what I want, only to find myself seduced by menu items I had forgotten about, or new specials.  It isn’t unusual for me to tell my partner to pick two things as I’m sure I’ll be happy with half of both.  Sugo’s food is simply that good.

Some personal favorites…

Bruschetta Trio

Sugo Trattoria Bruschetta TrioYou can’t go wrong starting out with the Bruschetta Trio…your choice of three different (and delicious) bruschetta combinations all for the very reasonable price of $7.  This price has never changed, and I hope it never will.  When I haven’t been in a while, or we are entertaining others, I order three different toppings.  Otherwise I simply order the phenomenal prosciutto/fig/brie for the entire Trio.

Sugo Trattoria GnocchiI get Gnocchi at every restaurant I can, and have had Sugo’s on many occasions.  The gnocchi pillows are light yet firm, made with ricotta instead of the American standard of making them from potatoes.  Sugo’s feel as if they are on the brink of melting in my mouth, holding their shape just long enough to be bitten into.  And the pesto crème sauce is so good that I asked for more bread so I could polish it off.  Although not on the menu, if you’re lucky, they will sprinkle crispy Pancetta over the top for you.  That’s call the “Sugo a la Houston” in our house and is punching up my taste buds just sitting here thinking about it.

Positively Petaluma Introduces Petaluma Eats! and Welcomes Houston Porter

NationalBestOfPatchLocalVoicesPositively Petaluma is one of the fastest growing websites and social media outlets in Petaluma. Since starting in June last year our stories have been sourced by local radio and covered on bay area TV news (not to mention thousands just like you sharing and retweeting). Last week we were listed in‘s National Best of Patch Featured Local Voices and feature our stories in their National Daily Voices.

With this growth we have notice a trend.  Petaluma loves food!  In August 2014 KRON 4 news and North Bay Yelp called our city a “culinary destination.”  From your great response to both our food industry and restaurants we are happy to introduce a new column called Petaluma Eats! In the coming months you will start seeing contributions from local “foodies.”   This leads us also to welcome Houston Porter to our team of contributors.

Porter is a self-proclaimed Petalumaholic.  If there is an event in our city you can bet he will be there especially when food is involved. He is a restaurant reviewer for Petaluma Argus Courier and an Elite Yelper. He calls Petaluma a nourishing place to live. His first featured post will be Petaluma Eats! at Sugo Trattoria.

Your feedback is important to us so if you have any comments or suggestions on things you would like to see on Positively Petaluma please send them to [email protected]



Video: KRON 4 News #Petaluma a Culinary Destination

River View From Taps: Photo By Wayne Dunbar
River View From Taps: Photo By Wayne Dunbar

Last night was a beautiful evening in Petaluma.  We had the pleasure of dining at Rosso Pizzeria & Mozzarella Bar.  The service is amazing and the food is excellent. Also there is no corkage fee when you bring your own wine.  We took advantage of this and brought our favorite bottle of Rombauer Chardonnay.  We enjoyed the salad and the Margherita pizza which is made with local ingredients including McEvoy Ranch extra virgin olive oil.  The theater district was bustling full of participants from the days 2014 Great Petaluma Treasure Hunt. We also enjoyed stops at Seared Restaurant and finished the evening out at Petaluma Taps with the incredible view of the river while enjoying a cold Petaluma Hills IPA.

I guess it was fitting to find a report this morning from KRON 4 News weekend anchor Marty Gonzalez who states that Petaluma has grown from a small quiet town to a culinary destination. Yelps north bay community manager Kevin Blum starts off talking about Rosso Pizzeria & Mozzarella Bar.  He goes on to tell about our other fantastic venues including Lagunitas Brewing Company, Lombardi’s Gourmet Deli, Central Market, and Powell’s Sweet Shoppe.  But Kevin says if you want to dive deep into the Petaluma culinary experience he recommends the Taste of Petaluma which is the best venue to journey through the Petaluma culinary experience on Saturday August 23, 2014 from 11:30AM to 4:00PM. 

Here is the video from this recently released report.


Pongo’s Restaurant, Consistently Good and Free Beer too!

Positively Petaluma usually does not blog on or review restaurants, but this small eastside neighborhood restaurant is worth our (and your) attention because they are consistently good.  Not just the food, but the service, atmosphere, and entertainment as well.  If you have not experienced Pongo’s Kitchen and Tap, located in the Leghorn Shopping Center, you don’t know what you are missing.

Pongo’s is a family-owned restaurant that believes every dish should be made to order with the freshest ingredients. They have a great menu specializing in Thai-inspired dishes as well as several options of salads, soups and burgers. For the Thai dishes you can request mild, medium, or really really hot!

Each time we go into Pongo’s we are greeted right away and seated with a smile. They are very attentive.  If you get a glass of wine, the pour is very generous. Their kitchen runs like clockwork and you don’t sit having to wait for your meal even when the restaurant is busy.  The service is excellent.  Your dinner can be served at the bar, or if you don’t feel like cooking and you want to eat in the comfort of your home they do take out as well.

One thing that Pongo’s has that no other restaurant offers is free beer. That’s right!  According to their sign they have free beer. However the free beer is always tomorrow.  We keep coming back the next day hoping for free beer, but they keeping pushing it to the next day.  Even though we don’t get free beer, being able to watch a Giants games on their large screen TVs while dining there is worth paying for a nice cold Lagunitas on tap.