Petaluma with friends…

And yes… it’s another non-cooking post. Still walking with a cane, still not all that interested in standing for hours in the kitchen, still missing it terribly. There has been some improvement on the injury front, but it’s a super slow process. I’ve been trying not to let it get to me, so I’ve filled my weekends with friendship and fun.

My latest adventure out was a day trip to Petaluma, CA –  followed by a get together with more friends in Napa, CA.

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Our first stop was Stanly Lane Marketplace, located just off Highway 12/121 at 3100 Golden Gate Drive in Napa, CA. Aaron and Carolyn have made this a regular stop on previous day trips. Coffee, donuts, local products, Napa style gifts and produce… sign me up!

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As soon as you walk in, you are greeted with tables full of local products. Olives, jams, artisan olive oils, spice rubs, BBQ sauces, wines, teas and a whole lot more. I had to refrain just a bit. My Mom would have been in rooster heaven – she’s had a collection for some time now.

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I loved the bar display and chandelier lighting off to the left of the entrance. Lots of flavored olive oil samples set out for tasting.

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The dish towels made me laugh…

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I decided on a crumb donut and then headed over to the D&S Produce Stand to explore fruits and veggies.

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The shallots, tomatoes and avocados looked amazing. They made me crave fresh guacamole and thankfully that craving was later satisfied in Napa.

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The property was so cute. It would be cool to get picnic supplies in the store if you had kids or pets with you.

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Aaron and Carolyn ended up getting some gorgeous pluots, green onions, avocados and a flat of ripe peaches for delicious pie making.

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Our next stop was Petaluma. I had read on a couple of food blogs that Taste of Petaluma was going on, but we decided to brave the crowds anyway. Parking was a challenge, but Aaron was a champ and we scored a spot in the parking garage. Cane in hand… we started walking through downtown and were surrounded by dozens of one-of-a-kind boutiques, galleries and restaurants.

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One of our first stops was Paperwhite – a card and stationary store. The shelves and tables were full of amazing letterpress cards, gorgeous wrap, spools of pretty ribbon and gift ideas. I snapped quick photos for my girlfriend Kindra… she owns an amazing party prop business with a friend (Pinwheels & Polka Dots) and they’ve decorated similar “back-to-school” store front windows and have recently been featured on Good Day Sacramento.

I just loved the use of maps, throw some of my vintage suitcases into the mix and I’d be good to go! It really made me wish I was hosting a travel themed party soon.

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Our next stop was the Petaluma Pie Company, a farm-to-table bakery cafe specializing in sweet and savory pies made with local and organic ingredients. I had heard so much about the place, I couldn’t wait to try a pie.

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The line for Taste of Petaluma participants was long. I had to strategically wait to get a photo without anyone in it.

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I decided that my iPhone was it for the day. Juggling shopping, my purse, my cane and everything else made it impossible to crate around my bigger camera.

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This above photo was taken for Deede… she is the queen of pies and I could see her actually putting one of these pie tin snake sculptures in her house. 🙂

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The nectarine/blackberry pie oozed with bubbling fruit goodness and the pear, ginger and cardamom mini pie sounded interesting too. Heck, they all looked wonderful. Aaron and Carolyn had sampled different items on previous visits, so I ended up going with a savory pre-lunch appetizer pie based on their recommendation.

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Carolyn and I split a cheeseburger hand pie. Notice the pin – it’s the pie company’s slogan… and Carolyn snapped one up. I wanted a T-shirt, but got distracted.

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Seasoned grass-fed ground beef with melted Spring Hill Dairy’s aged organic cheddar = PURE DELIGHT! Wish I would have gotten a few of the fruit pies to go – Dan does too!

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Our next stop was Copperfield’s Books. Two end caps, a giant table and this entire wall of cookbooks. Yes, please! This little side trip really made me miss cooking. I thumbed through some cookbooks I’ve been interested in and then I moved on to the magazine room.

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Over 10 wall to wall display shelves of magazines… I get most of my subscriptions on the iPad now, but I do love to thumb through actual pages.

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I did find one of my favorite magazines “Flea Market Style” and I took it as the perfect opportunity to rest and read while Aaron and Carolyn filled their baskets with books. I also purchased some cards. No books this trip.

We ventured into some antique stores and other vintage find shops and the prices were well beyond my comfort zone. Fun to browse though.

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Lunch was next on our agenda. We had passed by Avatar’s Punjabi Burrito on our way out of the parking garage and decided we’d give it a try. They also have locations in Sausalito, Mill Valley, Larkspur and Fairfax.

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The place was pretty dead since everyone was more interested in trading in their Taste of Petaluma tickets for samples elsewhere.

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“Purveyors of Ethnic Confusions” – Awesome… apparently a journalist used the phrase “Ethic Confusions” when describing Avatar’s food and it stuck.

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I knew I either wanted a burrito or a rice plate. I ended up going with a burrito on the recommendation of our server.

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I ordered their curried sweet potato with chicken burrito.

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I apologize for the not so appetizing photos, oh well, photos aside…  I loved this burrito and at least I’m blogging. My burrito was filled with fresh curried sweet potato, chicken and garbanzo beans, basmati rice, herb salsa, a pineapple fruit chutney, pickled carrots, non-fat yogurt and tamarind sauce. The burrito was huge – I ate a little less than 1/2 and was full. If we didn’t have plans and if it wasn’t going to be “curry sitting in a hot car” all day – I would have gotten it “to go” – it was hard to say goodbye to what would have been incredible leftovers, but I’m sure Aaron appreciated my decision to not “curry up” his car.

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I also had the opportunity to try the lightly curried fresh button mushroom appetizer – thanks Aaron! As I was eating it, I pictured myself making a batch to serve over pasta. It paired well with the Indian bread, but I thought it might also work as an alternative to traditional pasta and marinara sauce.

The rest of the afternoon was spent hanging out with Dan and additional friends in Napa. Wine, margaritas, a nacho bar, grilled sausage, salads, birthday cupcakes (chocolate, cheesecake, red velvet and vanilla) and lots of laughter. It was a great weekend and for a minute there,  I actually felt pretty normal – injury and all.   

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