Hello Nomad Roadside Biscuits 

The other day, while trolling facebook, a picture caught my eye. It was of a menu on a chalkboard sign. A menu for biscuits. I love biscuits. I had to know more.

IMG_8882This menu, which listed smoked gouda with prosciutto caramelized onions, and vanilla bean with lemon cream and boysenberry preserves, was of this weeks offerings from the new biscuit pop-up, Hello Nomad Roadside Biscuits.

After following all of her social media accounts, I learned that she normally set up shop out in West County, at either the Camp Meeker fire station or the Occidental Farmers Market, but she was going to be in Santa Rosa the next day. So in the morning, I bustled out early, urged by the desire for delicious baked goods and sought them out in the alley behind Monkey Wrench tattoo.

in alley behind Monkey WrenchI got both a savory and a sweet biscuit, and hurried home with a stamped paper bag to sample my treats. They were both amazing, but the combo of the vanilla lemon cream and preserves on the slightly warm biscuit was what sold me. I came back the next week, this time just getting the sweet combo (navel orange biscuit with honey cream and boysenberry preserves). This week, she was at Sonoma County Meat Company, and I quickly munched up a a delicious cheddar and scallion biscuit with mustard and SCMC bacon.

victoria in front of scmcHello Nomad is the brainchild of artist and pastry purveyor Victoria Wagner. She bakes buttermilk biscuits, fills them with amazing combinations at her home in Camp Meeker, then loads up the back of her car and sets up shop at various locations around the county. Her locations are advertised by social media. Once there, she sets a table out with coffee and props open her car’s hatch to share her biscuit creations. Victoria is a trained pastry chef, but has been working in the art scene in SF for the past several years. She missed the community of Sonoma County, and decided to start Hello Nomad as a way to bring people together. And I’m so glad she did, because I can't think of a better way to spend my Wednesday mornings than gathered with people who love good food!

savory SCMC biscuitFollow Hello Nomad on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for locations and current offerings.

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hellonomadbiscuits

twitter: @_hello_nomad

Instagram: hello.nomad.roadside.biscuits

Ghosty Toast Redux

When I was a kid, I concocted the most amazing snack: toasted white bread smeared with butter, then topped with a healthy handful of sweetened shredded coconut. I called it "ghosty toast."

I was probably 7 or so and thought I was a brilliant chef.

I had totally forgotten about my ghosty toast until I went into the recently opened East Wind Bakery on Sebastopol Road. This Asian-fusion bakery had a wide range of things I wanted to try, like the steamed pork buns or the banana kaya cream tartlet, but it was the coconut croissant that caught my eye. After one bite, and tasting the combination of butter, flakey pastry and sweet coconut, I had flashbacks of my toast creation. So unbelievably good, and so happy that someone else had the thoughts to combine these amazing flavors, and much better than I had managed. Clearly, coconut was always meant to be layered inside a croissant. I quickly ate up the rest.


I've been in a few more times, to get another coconut croissant, but to also try other things. I haven't quite decided if I prefer the red bean or the purple yam bun the best, but really enjoyed the sample earl gray milk bread the counter staff offered me. With its airy texture, I bet it would be great made into french toast. They also offer lunch service, with salads and sandwiches, as well as coffee and tea.

Many of the pastries and desserts are seasonally driven, as I could tell from the persimmon sponge cakes and galettes, so I know their menu will change regularly. I sure hope those coconut croissants don't go anywhere!

East Wind Bakery: eastwindbakery.com
3851 Sebastopol Road #109, Santa Rosa
Hours: Tue - Fri 8am to 4pm, Sat 9am to 5pm, Sun 9am to 3pm

Farm to Fermentation Festival

I delight in all types of homesteading skills: canning, sewing, cooking, and raising chickens, etc.

But until a few weeks ago, fermenting wasn’t something I gave much thought to.

Why the sudden interest? I went to the Farm to Fermentation Festival, held in Santa Rosa. Now in its 4th year, this festival is much more than the standard commercial food festival. It's a day-long celebration of all things fermented. A day filled with informative lectures and demonstrations covering a wide range of fermentation topics, such as “Your Digestive Health”, “Making Healthy Sodas,”, “Making Your First Batch of Kimchi” and “Making Miso at Home”.

I sat in on a few lectures. At “Small-Scale Lactofermentation” by Nicole Easterday from FarmCurious I learned how easy it is to ferment veggies using an airlock on a mason jar. In between lectures I browsed and shopped in the exhibit hall and checked out the latest fermenting wears. There were hand thrown pottery crocks and jugs, airlocks, books, culture kits and and more. Not to mention the new Kraut Source - an inventive stainless steel set of a press and water moat that fit on a mason jar.

My favorite part, no surprise, was all the samples! Local and regional vendors offered tastes of a wide range of fermented goodness. So most of the day was spent tasting cucumber pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, cheese, bread, beet kvass, kombucha, wine, beer, mead and cider to name a few. I somehow resisted buying everything I tasted and came home with only a jar of very unique ‘cheriboshi’, which are fermented then dried cherries.

Armed with my new supplies and excitement, I’ve already started a jar of fermented salsa and have a plan for getting a jar of carrots started soon!

West End Market

I love farmers markets. Regardless of where I’ve lived, I’ve always made it a point to find my nearest market and try to visit once a week. Sometimes I need a specific thing, other times I just like to see what other people are growing.

With every visit I end up talking with either a fellow patron or farmer, and gain a new gardening tip or meal idea. When I travel, I make sure to seek out the local markets, as there is no easier way to explore local foods then by checking out the produce, meeting the people who grow it, and the people who shop there.

Thankfully, I don’t have to travel far to reach an awesome farmers market, as the West End Market is within walking distance to my home. Held on Sundays from 10-2, the West End Market takes place next to a city park in the middle of the historic West End neighborhood. Now in its second season, this is my favorite of Santa Rosa’s farmers markets because it is small enough to allow me to spend time talking to the farmers, or catching up with the other fellow shoppers, but large enough to provide everything that I need from my shopping trip. On most Sunday mornings, my husband and I walk down to the market with our dog Stella, and he hangs out with her at the dog park while I make the rounds, then he takes a turn. Sometimes, we then hang out on the lawn and listen the live music and share a ceviche tostada from Simply Ceviche, munch on a loaf of Revolution bread, or devour perfectly ripe strawberries straight from Handlebar Farms.

Started by residents and the West End Neighborhood Association, this market is a vibrant gathering place. The adjacent lawn is always set up with umbrellas and people hang out and picnic and kids run around chasing balls. Vendors sell colorful produce from handcrafted displays. Small scale meat producers chat with patrons about the best way to prepare a cut of meat. Delicious smells come from the variety of handcrafted soaps and candles, and shoppers taste honey and sample small bites of cheese. Neighbors meet and catch up, on hot days kids stand under the spray tent, and shoppers connect with their farmers. I came home from my last visit with a head of elephant garlic the size of a softball and two gorgeous plump eggplants, from Foggy River Farm. I’m looking forward to turning them into a tasty meal!

Running until December 14th, the West End Farmers Market is located at 817 Donahue Street, Santa Rosa. Hope to see you there!