I knew I had to get to Stellina Alimentari, the new cafe from the owners of Stellina Pronto, as soon as chef Mark Malicki (who has a new project of his own — more on this next week) described the porchetta sandwich with such wistfulness it was almost heartbreaking. The Della Fattoria lemon rosemary bread, the salsa verde and the porchetta juice that runs down your wrists are heaven. Chefs always have a thing about porchetta — a boneless pork roast wrapped like a jelly roll with crispy skin inside and out.
At Stellina Alimentari, it didn’t disappoint. Called Il Michelangelo ($18) on the sandwich board inside the Italian-style cafe and deli, it’s brought, wrapped in paper, to whichever lucky seat (there are only about four in the whole place) you’ve grabbed. Other sandwiches like the La Bellucci ($16) with grilled artichoke relish, roasted mushrooms, truffle pecorino cream and mushroom pate come on the house-baked schiaccita (think focaccia).
There are tasty Italian-style salads, antipasti and charcuterie boards, along with fried risotto balls with chile aioli and the Panzarotti (little potato cakes with Parmesan, mozzarella and mint) as well. I’m not doing it justice, but until I can get back another three or 10 times, this little taste will have to suffice. 160 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma, stellinaalimentari.com. Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Nearby, chef Nick Ronan will be opening a new French restaurant called Brigitte Bistro at the former Wishbone location (841 Petaluma Blvd. N.). Costeaux Bakery has opened a new outpost in downtown Petaluma, too, at 110 Washington St.