Taste of Petaluma

Just in time for this weekend’s Taste of Petaluma (this Saturday, Sept. 29 from noon to 4), several new Theater Square (along Petaluma Blvd. south, in downtown Petaluma) restaurants have swung open their doors. Here’s a quick sneak preview of the menus-

Tres Hombres officially opened yesterday. The interior is much more luxe than your standard taco bar restaurant, with cozy booths, lots of wood and an extra long bar for tequila tasting flights. There’s a separate margarita menu, featuring everything from blended fruit sippers to traditional shaken margaritas made with their premium tequilas. The menu ranges from quick bites at the taco bar to Tex-Mex classics (nachos, quesadillas, burritos), to more intriguing entrees like the Mojito Chicken (a marinated chicken breast topped with mint and lim glaze) and Argentine Hangar steak. Expect a casual, but refined vibe at this newcomer. BiteClub was actually pleasantly surprised that the feel was less Chico State (their other outpost is in the bustling party town) and more, well, the carefully cultivated urban feel of Theater Square. They’ll be featuring tastes from the taco bar this weekend.

La Dolce Vita: Also recently opened, this starkly modern wine bar specializes in a number of Petaluma Gap wines along with small-production gems from the rest of California and Italy. The menu stays simple, featuring antipasti (right now an artisan cheese plate); upscale salads and panini. There are likely to be a few changes to the menu as things get ironed out, so we’ll check back seeon. Don’t miss the tantalizing flight and by-the-glass menu. The bar will stay open late on Friday and Saturday nights–a great post-movie destination.

I mentioned the addition of Jennie Low’s last week. The menu is pretty classic, with the usual Chinese-American favorites. However, Low has included some lighter dishes worth trying, in addition to her signature lemon chicken.

I’ve become an Oteao bubble tea addict. Hand-shaken, the mango version is worth the trip alone. They’ll be serving up samples at this weekend’s event. Get more details on other bites around town, maps and ticket info at TasteofPetaluma.org.

Aliens among us?
If you head down to P-town for Taste, don’t miss a stop into Hiro’s for a bottle of Xtreme Alien soda. About as much fun as you can have with a bottle of orange pop, it’s teen-focused screamer created by Hiro (a former Coca-Cola exec) that requires some serious hands-on interaction. The funky glass bottle requires drinkers to punch down a glass marble into the neck, steer clear of the resulting carbon explosion, then carefully guzzle from the correct side of the bottle (where the alien’s eyes are) to get all the soda down. Trust me, your kids will love it even if you don’t get it. Though this interactive bottle style has been around in Asia for years, it’s a surprisingly novel idea in the US, and currently only available in Sonoma County.