The Dining Divas: Aïoli Bodega Española

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Guests: Susan and Lawrence Crane, owners of The Party Concierge; Jeri Lardy, stay-at-home mom and community supporter; her guest, Margaret (“Margie”) Quattrochi, director of Tiffany & Co. in Roseville; Kathy and Danny Johnson, owners of Taylor’s Market and Taylor’s Kitchen

Where: Aïoli Bodega Española, 1800 L St., Sacramento; (916) 447-9440; aiolibodega.info

Benefiting organizations
: American Cancer Society and Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary

1-second review: “Interesting . . . and delicious,” said Diva Joan Leineke.

Dishing on the dishes: Go for the tapas, stay for the specialties, and enjoy it all. Some of the highlights: fresh ahi layered with sautéed spinach and tomato confit; octopus with potatoes, onions, roasted bell pepper and pimentón; pan-seared duck breast with vanilla and cayenne pepper; tartines with garbanzo purée and caramelized black figs.

Ambiance
: Danny Johnson said it: “It feels like a bit of the Iberian Peninsula for lunch.”

Wine time
: Diva Paulette Bruce chose Laxas 2008 Albariño and Viña Santurnia Reserva 2004 Rioja. With dessert, owner Reda Bellarbi Salah treated us to flutes of sparkling Rosé. Diva Bernice Hagen’s critique: “The wines fit the food perfectly.”

Good to know
: Wineglasses suspended over the bar turn into candleholders at night. The owner’s son, Aziz Bellarbi Salah, was our server. He has his father’s charm—inherited, no doubt.

Advice: Allow enough time to read the extensive menu, or ask your server for help.

Quote of the day
: “Moving from Carmel to Roseville was an adjustment,” admitted Margie Quattrochi.

Conversation: Supporters of animal causes, the Cranes have a Great Dane named Gabe who is so spoiled, he goes to work with them.

 

The Dining Divas—Gloria Glyer, Paulette Bruce, Bernice Hagen, Joan Leineke, Gayla Mace and Peg Tomlinson-Poswall—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 $320,000 for local charities and nonprofits.