Dining Divas: Lemon Grass Restaurant

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Guests:

Sheila Dey, executive director of Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association; Regina Sanchez, a meeting planner for the association; Fred Palmer, publisher of Outword Magazine; Kurt Masters, salesperson with United Healthcare; Jill Ragsdale, vice president for human resources at Sutter Health; Cheryl Dibachi, real estate broker

Where: Lemon Grass Restaurant, 601 Munroe St., Sacramento; (916) 486-4891; lemongrassrestaurant.com

Benefiting organizations: Boys & Girls Clubs, Sacramento CARES and Juvenile Diabetes Association

1-second review: Good food, great fun, wonderful company.

The best: The first accolade goes to server Julie Morcaldi, who warned Jill Ragsdale whenever a dish contained peanuts. In the food department, our favorites included Thai beef salad, garlic prawns, Monk’s Curry, pad thai, Su Co’s Vegetarian Delight (made with kabocha squash and tofu) and all the desserts, especially the chocolate layer cake and the chunky ginger ice cream. We drank&emdash;and enjoyed&emdash;Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Mason Sauvignon Blanc and Mount Aukum Syrah.

Ambiance:
Dining in the private room is a treat, but we had such a good time laughing and talking that it was a bit difficult to hear all that was going on from one end of the table to the other. 

Chatter:
Jill Ragsdale was a special second-time guest. The first time she dined with the Divas, she couldn’t enjoy the full experience, let alone get close to the table, because she was expecting twins. Her daughters now are 2 1/2 and a challenge. Wait until they are teens, remarked another mother at the table. There were no lulls in the conversation, so we didn’t get to hear about Regina Sanchez’s trip to New Mexico. (She did say it was great.) Fred Palmer is not a shopper, so when it’s time to refurbish his wardrobe, he relies on friends. The table was full of foodies, so the conversation centered on restaurants, midtown dining and the practicality of a shuttle to take diners from place to place. Good idea, but would it work? Maybe. Diva Peg Tomlinson-Poswall knew Lemon Grass chef/owner Mai Pham was in Vietnam, so there would be no objection to this comment: Mai is a babe!

Quote of the day: Black is not a color, it is a mood&emdash;courtesy of Fred Palmer.

The Dining Divas&emdash;Gloria Glyer, Paulette Bruce, Bernice Hagen, Joan Leineke, Gayla Mace and Peg Tomlinson-Poswall&emdash;have been wining and dining together since 1993. Every month, they lunch at an area restaurant, taking as their guests people who placed winning bids at charity events. To date, they have raised more than $254,000 for local charities and nonprofits.