The Dining Divas: Cosmo Cafe

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Guests: Ellen Vernon, top bidder at the Families for Early Autism Treatment Night of Caring auction, traveled from Washington state to attend with friend Nancy Fellmeth, who is president of FEAT. Representing Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary were Andrea Lewis, who works for the California Environmental Protection Agency, and Jeff Fuller, a lobbyist. They volunteer with Homeward Bound and assist with its annual fundraiser, Kibble & Bids, this year slated for October.

Where: Cosmo Cafe, 1000 K St., (916) 446-9800; paragarys.com

Benefiting organizations: Families for Early Autism Treatment and Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue

1-second review: Buzzing with political types (the observation of Diva Joan Leineke)

Ambiance: Contemporary and fresh fun, a cool place with photos of Sacramento past; very clean and chic in crisp New York style

The menu: Executive chef Kurt Spataro and chef Scott Rose have created a compact menu offering traditional fare with a surprise or two. We ordered 11 dishes, along with six desserts. The best were the crisp duck leg confit (even non-duck fans raved); white shrimp with chickpeas and chorizo; house-smoked sausage; pastrami on rye; Reuben with house-cured sauer-kraut; Cosmo burger with truffled cheese; and innovative butternut squash bread pudding. For dessert: The rum raisin and crème fraîche ice creams scored high, but so did the apple and pecan crisp and the lemon cream tart.

Time for wine: From Cosmo Cafe’s wine list, Diva Bernice Hagen chose Baileyana Edna Valley 2006 Chardonnay and Auteur Ophelia Oregon 2007 Pinot Noir. Her comments: “The Baileyana, typical of Edna Valley Chardonnays, is light and nice; the Pinot needs a little more time in the bottle. Let it breathe a little.”

Quotes of the day: Jeff Fuller speaks in quotes: “I could marry the hamburger if it was available.” That’s when we let him take the last bite. Or “It won’t hurt my reputation as much as it will hurt yours,” after he spilled his Diet Coke into his lap. And “Having lunch with [these] women will live in my feeble mind forever.” A batch of fellow politicos walking past our table observed Fuller in action. I wonder what they had to say.

Chatter: Cosmo Cafe occupies the building that once housed a Woolworth. Nancy Fellmeth, whose chartreuse jacket matched the prime color at Cosmo, remarked, “This isn’t the food I remember eating at the Woolworth counter. Change is good!” Andrea Lewis decided that Cosmo is more than a place to be seen; it is a place to eat.

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 $290,000 for local charities and nonprofits.