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Bite Club: Stuffed croquettes make for a crunchy holiday

Holiday Feast croquettes from the Croques and Toques food truck in Santa Rosa, California. Photo: Heather Irwin/Press Democrat.

HEATHER IRWIN,

Holiday Flavors on Wheels: Here’s how to get all the flavors of the holiday into one bite: A roasted turkey, gravy, cranberry and mashed potato croquette! If you’ve never had the pleasure of stuffing one of these little fried balls of happiness into your craw, croquettes are crunchy, golfball-sized bites that can be filled with pretty much anything from meat to sweets.

SRJC cooking school alum and chef Andrew Jetson is bringing the croquette to the masses with his new food truck, Croques and Toques. His self-funded venture features these savory holiday feast croquettes ($9 for 5), along with the sweeter spiced sweet potato croquettes (cream cheese and sweet potato mousse, $8).

"They're kind of a blank canvas," said Jetson. Which makes sense considering that nearly every culture has some version, from Italy's arancini to aloo tikka in India.

These tasty croques are super kid-friendly (just keep in mind the innards can be molten hot, so blow on them a little), and a new favorite at local farm markets around the county. Watch for the truck at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building farm market on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m to 1 p.m., or follow the truck at croquesandtoques.com.

Slice of Heaven: Baker Trishia Davis has announced plans to open a pie bakery this spring in Santa Rosa. But these ain’t granny’s pies. The Whole Pie will feature sweet and savory pies inspired by the seasons, made with locally-sourced ingredients. That means everything from Chicken Pot Pie (and a veggie version) to beef pie with red wine sauce and — here’s where it gets exciting — beer-braised short rib pie, macaroni and cheese pie, cocoa-crusted chicken mole pie as well as sweeter pies including lemon merinque, butterscotch and of course, apple. Pies will be available as single-serving pot pies, hand pies and family-sized pies, both baked or ready for baking. More details soon.

Twin Oaks Sold to Hopmonk: In case you missed the news on Wednesday, the nearly 100-year-old Twin Oaks Tavern in Penngrove has been purchased by HopMonk Tavern owner Dean Biersch. Don’t expect HopMonk 4 (there are HopMonks in Sebastopol, Sonoma and Novato), because plans are to simply do a remodel and update, keeping the same honky-tonk vibe and iconic neon sign with better food and 16 taps. More details as the story unfolds.

How the Cookie Crumbles: “This year’s BiteClub Holiday Cookie Contest is over, and the winner is…Jo’s Lemon Snowflake Cookie Recipe. We just loved the bright lemony flavors at the time of year when citrus is in season, and we’re a bit chocolat-ed out. But this year also brought a plethora of great new recipes, including the much-debated Salted Caramel Apple cookie which some judges thought should win this year’s top prize, fudgy chocolate crinkle cookies, a really stellar sugar cookie recipe I’d highly suggest trying, and several others. You can see my 12 Days of Cookies at biteclubeats.com, or go to biteclubeats.com/cookie to see all of the last seven years’ recipes.