Now that the Olympics are over, the real training can begin. The Taste of Petaluma offers a chance to eat at 10 restaurants in half a day, and, much like an Olympic athlete's, diners' caloric intake should be steadily rising in preparation for the main event. Let the gastro-gymnastics begin.
"We have more participants this year than ever," says organizer Laura Sunday. There are almost 60 options for food and drink in the walking culinary tour, and each taster gets 10 tickets. "We usually recommend going to the website," she adds, "and planning ahead." In the spirit of preparedness, here are 10 stops that will not disappoint.
1. Sugo, the crown jewel of the Theater District, offers up house-made bresaola and coppa carpaccio with dressed arugula and fennel salad. This might make the other options on the tour jealous, so if any of them ask, pretend you haven't been to Sugo.
2. Hiro's offers up California rolls, as it has each of the past four years. This might be to showcase its mastery of the basics, demonstrating that its sushi rice can elevate even the most pedestrian sushi to a higher level, even if the boast of "fresh crab" may or may not be 100 percent accurate.
3. To purists, myself included, chicken on pizza is a crime against nature. But Brixx somehow makes it work on the Sweet Heater: chicken breast, bacon, jalapeno, smoked gouda, mozzarella and barbecue sauce. It's not really pizza at this point, but it is damn good. (Please don't tell the foodies I said that.)
4. Cordoza's Deli defies the current trend and makes a meatball with only one meat. The all-beef meatball slider is wonderful, with good texture and just enough excitement to cut through the fat slice of provolone smothering it.
5. Santa Rosa's Rosso has expanded to include the train stop to the south, but this location focuses on house-made buffalo mozzarella. Try the burrata on bruschetta with prosciutto and olive pesto here, and you might forget they even make pizza.
6. Halfway through, it might be getting tough to cram anything else down that gullet. Champion eaters always have liquid to wash down all that chow. Dempsey's carnitas slider and lime cabbage slaw comes with a taster of beer, so it's a must have. (Though dipping a carnitas slider into a glass of beer is not recommended.)
7. Something small should help now. How about a decadent snack of Point Reyes blue cheese? Crackers and grapes help you pretend it's healthy. There are two spots hosting this tasting, I Leoni and Mayfield & Co.
8. Vegetables! We need 200 cc's of vegetables, stat! All this meat and cheese is probably clogging up the works at this point, so stop by Everest Indian Restaurant for a veggie tikka kabob.
9. More sliders, you say? Taps offers beer-braised barbecue pork sliders with orange cream slaw. Probably tastes really good with Anderson Valley Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema.
10. Stumble to Viva Cocolat to finish your delicious decathlon with chocolate fondue. Hopefully, there will be bacon available. America takes the gold again—this time for most weight gained in a single day.