My mom and I took a day trip to Sonoma County while I was home. One of the highlights of the visit was a delightful lunch at the cozy Wild Goat Bistro in Petaluma, a smallish city about 25 minutes north of San Francisco on Highway 101. The menu caught my eye online due to its organic salads and gluten-free options. We left full of delicious vegetables, fruits, and outstanding gluten-free sandwich bread.
The watermelon-arugula salad with feta cheese and balsamic dressing was fantastic; the flavors really popped. We shared that, and then each had a sandwich on locally-made gluten-free bread as well. It may have been the best gluten-free bread I’ve ever had! I’m not sure which bakery it came from, but it was filling, pleasingly chewy, and dotted with seeds and grains. My sandwich (below) was layered with wild mushrooms, Swiss chard, roasted red peppers, Fontina cheese, and black truffle salt. My mom said her tuna sandwich with olives, capers, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, celery, baby greens, and lemon juice was fabulous. Both arrived with little side salads of spring mix too.
The staff at the Wild Goat Bistro seemed friendly, welcoming, thrilled to spend their time at the restaurant, and proud of the food they served. Our waitress was energetic, cheery, conversational, and happy to recommend other eateries around town for dinner. I liked the pleasant atmosphere, wood-backed menus, and neighborhoody feeling. I would return without hesitation, and in fact look forward to doing so next time we find ourselves north of the Bay Area.
In case you’re curious, here are a couple of pictures of Petaluma and the surrounding rolling golden hills splotched with clumps of dark green trees. The town grew quickly during the California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century, and its Victorian homes and buildings (many of which still stand today, well-preserved) made it through the 1906 earthquake with little damage. (Petaluma sits on bedrock.) Agricultural industries were a big part of the city’s history and continue as local businesses and interests today; the town hosts a “Butter and Egg Days Parade” every April. The downtown area backs up to the Petaluma River, hence the “deck seating” at a coffee bar.
While walking around, we spotted a clock repair shop, as well as a GMO-free garden store and seed bank housed in- what else?- a stately 1920′s bank building. People were friendly in every store we popped into along the main streets. All in all, it was a nice town for a lunch stop and stroll.