Mulvaney’s Building & Loan



Rosanna Ruiz, McDonald’s franchisee; her daughter, Joslyn Ruiz, a pastry chef; Stacey Hodge, community relations director for Ronald McDonald House Charities; her husband, Tim Hodge of TL Hodge Construction

Mulvaney’s Building & Loan, 1215 19th St., Sacramento; (916) 441-6022
Benefiting organizations: Ronald McDonald House Charities and March of Dimes

1-second review: Bright and clean flavors, using the best the season has to offer.&emdash;Diva Peg Tomlinson-Poswall

The best: Niçoise salad with ahi tuna confit; Brad’s BLT with housemade bacon; angel-hair pasta with Del Rio Botanical cherry tomatoes, basil and garlic; smoked Bledsoe pork chop with cranberry beans and roasted-corn relish. Dessert favorites: the Ding Dong (a single-serving devil’s-food cake made with Valrhona chocolate), buttermilk panna cotta and apricot croustade. Server Marletta Harmon knew when to serve and when to hold so that all the food didn’t arrive at the same time.

Wine time:
The Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc chosen by Diva Bernice Hagen provided a crisp, citrusy touch. The red was a Pinot Noir from Brancott Vineyards. Busser Emily Culver (who just happens to be my granddaughter) was know-ledgeable enough to hold the wine glasses by the stem, not by the bowl.

Ambiance: Eclectic, interesting, relaxing and comfortable, with historic artifacts and photos on display; a charming patio for outdoor dining and special events when the weather cooperates.

Need to know: The menu is limited at lunch, extensive at dinner. (We ordered everything on the lunch menu, sometimes two of each.) It changes day to day, season to season. The tab arrives in a vintage book; diners write comments inside. Bring quarters for the parking meters.

Quotes of the day:
Two supplied by Tim Hodge: If you enjoy your job, then you won’t have to work a day in your life and If you talk long enough, you’ll end up saying something smart.

Stacey and Tim Hodge, who’ve been married for more years than seems possible by their appearance, were celebrating their daughter’s graduation from UC San Diego. I feel like I just got a raise, said Tim. Stacey noted that if the Divas ever need a male influence, she would rent Tim out. While not a pasta lover, Joslyn Ruiz admitted she could not get enough of the angel-hair pasta. I was shocked that I loved it, she said, noting also that the salads didn’t get boring after the first two bites. We all appreciated the open kitchen and a quickie demonstration of the pasta machine.

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 have placed winning bids at charity events. To date, they have raised more than $268,000 for local charities and nonprofits.