The Dining Divas: Ella Dining Room & Bar

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Guests: Nancy Lawrence, president of Sacramento Public Library Foundation; Marilyn Park, a Library
Foundation board member; Sally Sylva, chair of the Christian Brothers High School auction; her husband,
Charles, who is retired; Steve Luth, an insurance agent who is known as The Workers Comp Guy; Lesley Stein, whose husband, Carl, is on the board of the California Automobile Museum; Alycia Harshfield, executive director of the California Restaurant Association Educational Foundation; Mike O’Brien, co-publisher of Sacramento Magazines Corporation

Where
: Ella Dining Room & Bar, 1131 K St., Sacramento; (916) 443-3772; elladiningroomandbar.com

Benefiting organizations: Sacramento Public Library Foundation, Christian Brothers High School, Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services and California Automobile Museum

The food
: We feasted on watermelon salad with rock shrimp; roasted bone marrow with parsley caper salad; crispy confit chicken wings; ricotta gnocchi; seared sea scallops with fried green tomatoes; smoked trout croquettes; crispy oyster salad and a winner of a hamburger with peppered bacon. For dessert, a salted caramel and chocolate tart and a refreshing trio of sorbets (peach, strawberry and hibiscus) followed by a trio of ice creams (coffee, dark chocolate and chocolate cake vanilla).

Wine time
: Divas Paulette Bruce and Peg Tomlinson-Poswall teamed up to choose the wines: Condesa Eylo 2008 Verdejo and Morgan “Twelve Clones” 2008 Pinot Noir.

Conversation
: Sally and Charles Sylva reminded Peg Tomlinson-Poswall that she catered their wedding. Peg remembered wanting the tamales to be better. Sally recalls a pre-wedding day trauma: “My folks were tidying things up and moved a doghouse to reveal a skunk family.” Lesley Stein, who is studying art history at Sacramento State, says college is easier the second time around: She no longer has to worry about the social side of university life.

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.