The Dining Divas: Bidwell Street Bistro

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Guests: Sharon Zorn, clinical coordinator at Mercy Heart & Vascular Institute; Julie Rogers, marketing consultant for Mercy Heart & Vascular Institute and past Sacramento Zoo board member; Jennifer Harrison, public relations professional and mother of a 4-year-old who was born 14 weeks early; Elanie Purkis, a homemaker, mother of four boys and co-founder with her husband of Mercy Foundation’s Friends of NICU

Where: Bidwell Street Bistro, 1004 E. Bidwell St., Folsom; (916) 984-7500; bidwellstreetbistro.com

Benefiting organizations:
Sacramento Zoo and Friends of NICU

1-second review:
“Can I live here?” asked Jennifer Harrison.

Ambiance:
Comfortable, classy and a little buzzy

Dishing on the dishes: We loved the Muscovy duck confit, but there were plenty of other dishes we’d order again and again. Here are some: roasted sweet potato soup, cumin-crusted braised pork belly, potato gnocchi with asparagus, paprika-grilled hanger steak, black ’n’ blue Bayou burger and traditional quiche Lorraine. For dessert: carrot cake and chocolate bread pudding.

Wine time:
Diva Joan Leineke did the honors, choosing Dry Creek 2008 Sauvignon Blanc and Doña Paula 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, which she asked to be decanted.

Background: At Bidwell Street Bistro, Wendi Mentink provides the genius in the chef department; Richard Righton is owner and Hope Lantieri is pastry chef. The staff was buzzing about Relish Burger Bar, which Mentink and Righton recently opened in El Dorado Hills. Our server was Ryan Statham, who started out as a dishwasher and is moving onward and upward.

Gifts for the lunchers: Elanie Purkis touted Mercy’s NICU with mugs, T-shirts and informative pamphlets. Diva Paulette Bruce brought treats from Cookieboy. We each received a cookie decorated with our initial. Very nice.

Quote of the day: “You pick the bones clean,” said Jennifer Harrison when the duck, reduced to bones, was passed around one more time.

Chatter: The Zoo backers, Julie Rogers and Sharon Zorn, praised the new giraffe quarters. Diva Bernice Hagen led a conversation on unusual dining experiences. The travelers all agreed that when in Vietnam, dine on street food.

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 $326,000 for local charities and nonprofits.