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<strong>Tasting Petaluma:</strong> On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the eighth annual Taste of Petaluma offers an opportunity to wander one of Sonoma County's loveliest downtown areas while nibbling and sipping all manner of good things.

More than 50 purveyors are involved this year.

Highlights include meatballs with arrabbiata sauce and iced tea at Wild Goat Bistro; muffaletta with house-made coppa and salami at Sugo Trattoria; smoked pork shoulder and heirloom tomato salad at Social Club Restaurant and Bar; rock cod ceviche by Nick's Cove at Ooh La Loft; shepherd's pie at Maguire's Pub; and a signature salad with smoked salmon, farro, lentils, kale, arugula, walnuts, apples and lemon vinaigrette at Free Range Provisions and Eats. And so much more.

Here's how it works. Buy an advance ticket package before 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, for $35, or pony up $40 starting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Packages include 10 tasting tickets, a map with all sampling locations, a menu and a plastic glass. Guests are welcome to bring their own glass if they prefer.

The first 1,000 attendees will also receive a Petaluma tote bag.

All tastes are $4 each. You can buy additional tasting tickets once you've purchased a ticket package.

All ticket packages, including those purchased in advance, must be picked up at Helen Putnam Plaza (129 Petaluma Blvd. N.) after 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

There will be musicians and other entertainment throughout the day.

For full details, visit <a href="http://tasteofpetaluma.org" target="_blank">tasteofpetaluma.org</a>.

<strong>Dinner With "The Birds":</strong> Next Saturday, Aug. 31, the Inn at the Tides hosts a very special benefit dinner celebrating the 50th anniversary of the classic Alfred Hitchcock film "The Birds."

Tippi Hedren, star of the movie, will be the evening's special guest and proceeds will benefit the Roar Foundation Shambala Preserve, her long-term project that educates the public about the dangers of private ownership of exotic animals. (For more information, visit shambala.org.)

The menu has an exotic flair, too.

The first course features "Paupiette of Petrale Sole Tippi Hedron," with a delicate blonde sauce and Ferrari Carano chardonnay alongside.

Next comes "Bird's Nest," with quail eggs nestled into pasta with wild mushroom sauce, paired with Trecini Cellars pinot noir.

"Tournedo of Beef Hitchcock" features beef tenderloin stuffed with Dungeness crab with Madeira and a bearnaise sauce. Kendall-Jackson cabernet sauvignon will accompany the beef.

For dessert, can't you guess? It's "Love Birds," of course, featuring amaretto and chocolate mousse with Mondavi Moscato d'Oro.

The evening begins with a no-host reception, followed by an interview with Hedren, a trivia contest, a screening of the film, and dinner.

Cost is $190 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

For more information and for reservations, call 875-2751.

<strong>Les Blank Film Screening:</strong> Beloved documentary filmmaker Les Blank died at his Berkeley home in April.

Blank was a friend to many in Sonoma County, and over the last several decades, there have been several screenings of his films — going all the way back to the early 1980s, when he released "Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers," his evocative ode to the world's favorite allium.

Back then, the film was shown at Sonoma State University and it was an extravaganza, with Blank and an assistant roasting garlic in toaster ovens on the sides of the stage during the screening.

Afterward, there was a huge garlic feast in the Student Union, with everything from roasted garlic and chevre to chocolate-dipped garlic cloves.

The Sonoma Film Institute is screening the iconic film this Friday and Sunday at Warren Auditorium in Ives Hall.

Both the garlic film and the remarkable "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe" will be shown, beginning at 7 p.m. Friday evening and 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.

Cost is $7 for the general public; $6 for non-SSU students and senior citizens; $5 for members of the institute and for children under 12.

SSU students are admitted free.

There is also a $5 parking fee in all SSU lots.

The campus is located on East Cotati Avenue at Pleasant Hill Road in Rohnert Park.

Blank's "Always For Pleasure" and "Yum! Yum! Yum!" will be shown later this year; stay tuned for details.

For more information about the Sonoma Film Institute, visit <a href="http://sonoma.edu/sfi" target="_blank">sonoma.edu/sfi</a> or call 664-2606.

<strong>DaVero's Vegan Dinner:</strong> DaVero's August Sunset Supper, taking place next Friday, Aug.30, celebrates the season, the garden and the vineyard, with guest chef Matteo Silverman of Chalk Hill Cookery.

Chef Silverman, along with Chef Colleen McGlynn of DaVero, will prepare a vegan feast, featuring watermelon radish ravioli with thyme-scented cashew "cheese" and basil puree; chilled celery root soup with DaVero Tuscan olive oil and pickled celery; summer squash al pomodoro with fresh herbs and almond "Parmigiano"; grape leaves stuffed with rye berry pilaf, Meyer lemon olive oil and chervil creme fraiche; fricassee of eggplant, corn, okra, polenta and heirloom tomato sauce; and, for dessert, flourless chocolate torte with toasted hazelnuts and gooseberry coulis.

DaVero wines to be served alongside include 2012 Vermentino; 2012 Sangiovese rose; 2008 Sangiovese; and 2010 Carignane.

Dinner begins at 6:30p.m. and concludes around sunset. Cost is $85 per person.

For reservations, call 431-8000. To reserve online and for more information, visit <a href="http://davero.com" target="_blank">davero.com</a>.

<strong>Fifth Annual "Caws Four Paws":</strong> On Friday, Aug. 30, Negri's Restaurant (3700 Bohemian Highway, Occidental) hosts a spaghetti feed to benefit Sonoma County Animal Care and Control.

In addition to a $15-per-person spaghetti dinner, this year's fete includes on-site adoptions from the Sonoma County Animal Shelter; a sale of Caws Four Paws T-shirts; raffle prizes; and information about Equine Rescue, Rehab and Adoption.

And perhaps best of all, Ellyn Boone of Paws for Love will be on hand to help your best four-legged friend create a special painting that you can take home and frame.

Cost of a painting, which includes cleaning of the paws afterwards, is a $25 donation.

Well-behaved dogs are welcome at the event.

It all takes place between 6 and 8:30 p.m. For more information and for reservations, call Amanda Negri at 874-6006, or email twig529@yahoo.com or ellyn@


<strong>Calling All Crafters:</strong> The Occidental Holiday Crafts Faire is currently accepting applications from potential vendors. The juried selection process begins on Sept. 20, and no applications will be accepted after that date.

This is one of the great craft fairs of the holiday season, with an emphasis on locally made crafts and art.

The craft fair takes place on Dec. 7 from 10a.m. to 5p.m. and on Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4p.m. at the Occidental Community Center.

For an application and complete details, visit <a href="http://occidental-ca.org" target="_blank">occidental-ca.org</a>.

<em>Michele Anna Jordan hosts "Mouthful" each Sunday at 7 p.m. on KRCB 90.9 & 91.1 FM. Email Jordan at michele@ micheleannajordan.com. You'll find her blog, "Eat This Now," at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.</em>