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From Scandal to Scandalicious - Guerneville Bank Club Sweetens Sonoma County


From Scandal to Scandalicious -

Guerneville Bank Club Sweetens Sonoma County

By John De Salvio and Ross Tallent

John: All the time that I lived in Guerneville, there was one building steeped in scandal: Centennial Savings & Loan on Main Street near Church. I became very familiar with it when Stephen Pizzo – my boss at the Russian River News – was writing his book, Inside Job: The Looting of America’s Savings and Loans. His co-authors were Mary Fricker and Paul Muolo.

Centennial Cartoon by John DiSalvioThere was a fear of attacks from mobsters, and from the FBI which didn’t like Steve’s digging for dirt. The News office was on Armstrong Woods Road past Coffee Bazaar. Steve’s desk was at the front of the main room; my desk was at the back, near the fireplace. I felt reasonably safe. Any gunshots into the building would hit at least a foot above my head. Fortunately, no one shot Steve. 

Guerneville Bank ClubNow everyone has a shot at tasty fabulosity with the ice cream by Nimble & Finn’s, and pies by Chile Pies Baking Co., offered in the renovated building. Ross: Chile Pies has a few traditional pies which are offbeat; but more than that, they’re balanced and wonderfully unexpected. The flavors are twists on classics: Apple Pie becomes Green Chile Apple Pie (for added zing, topped with a red pepper flaked honey drizzle); Lemon Pie gets a more homey touch with the addition of buttermilk which helps build the foundation for the Lemon Buttermilk Pie with Blueberries. The fresh blueberries add a pop of texture to counter the smoothness of the lemon-buttermilk filling, creating a counterpoint to the tanginess the buttermilk provides.

Lemon Buttermilk PieTheir third trademark pie is also a bit unexpected as a flavor combo, but is no less successful: Cher

ry Apricot Pie. Aside from being a visually appealing, rustic-looking pie, the flavors marry together in a collusion tht leaves one wondering why the two aren’t paired together more often. The tartness of the cherries combined with the inherent sweetness of the of the apricots will delight your taste buds.

Combine all of these not-so-traditional flavors together with a crust that is flaky but still has a great chew to it and you have winning combinations. Desserts which play with both sweet and savory components always strike a chord with me.     

There's a great selection of ice cream at Nimble & Finn'sJohn: Remember the animated movie, “Up”? It featured the talking dog named Dug. His most famous quote was “Squirrel!”. Every time we strolled in downtown Guerneville last month, you would suddenly say, “Pie!” as we neared the Centennial Bank Club! 

My preoccupation was with their ice cream, created by Nimble and Finn’s. They have many flavors – all handmade – some of which change from day to day. I don’t recall ever having such rich flavors! My favorites were Coriander, Double Dark Chocolate, and Chocolate Raspberry. Other flavors include Strawberry Buttermilk, Maple Bourbon Bacon Brittle, Honeyed Peach, Rhubarb Crisp, Icebox Cake, Lavender Honeycomb, Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, Coffee Stout, and Plum Bourbon Swirl.

Leanna and Jasmin

Nimble & Finn’s was founded in 2012 by two sisters, Leandra and Jazmin. The business name comes from the nicknames of Jazmin’s daughters.


As their popularity in Sonoma County rises, people will get to enjoy many more of their 150 flavors in this, their first “Scoop Shop”.  

John De Salvio, now in Burbank, lived in Guerneville from 1980 to 2009. Ross Tallent, John’s husband, is an artist/sculptor with a passion for cooking and baking. Photos (except of Leanna and Jazmin) are by Ross Tallent.