Guests: Joan Grenz Buehler, a Dining Divas repeater, and her guest, Marla Andersen, who attended The Salvation Army’s Helping Handbags fundraiser; Paul McClure, vice president of Glass McClure advertising firm, and Brantley Payne, Glass McClure’s creative director, who bid on lunch with the Divas at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation fundraiser honoring Robert Piccinini, CEO of Save Mart Supermarkets and a Glass McClure client
Where: Grange Restaurant & Bar, 926 J St., Sacramento; (916) 492-4450; grangesacramento.com
Benefiting organizations: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary
1-second review: “I’ll come back for the social atmosphere,” said Paul McClure. Added Diva Paulette Bruce, “A happenin’ place.”
Dishing on the food: We enjoyed the fritto misto of squid and whitefish with caper aioli; risotto; Five Dot Ranch beef burger; housemade fennel sausage with Anson Mills grits; flatiron steak salad; grilled sturgeon; and ahi tuna tartare. Desserts included homey butterscotch pudding, warm sticky-toffee pudding cake, cookies and hot chocolate, chocolate caramel decadence with Maldon sea salt and roasted-pineapple napoleon.
Wine time: It was Diva Paulette Bruce’s day to choose the wines, which she did with assistance from Diva Joan Leineke; they both consulted with the wine steward. Their picks: Paraiso Santa Lucia Highlands 2006 Pinot Noir and Carpe Diem Firepeak Vineyard Edna Valley 2006 Chardonnay.
Service: From greeting to farewell, the staff couldn’t have been better. Server Dylan Tolbert performed with professionalism and élan. If it is your first visit, take time to admire the renovation and special care taken by Joie de Vivre Hotels to maintain the integrity of the vintage office building where Grange resides, recently reborn as The Citizen Hotel.
Quote of the day: Presented with a demitasse of fish chowder accented with chorizo and smoked bacon, Paul McClure mumbled, “I haven’t seen a spoon this small in 20 years.”
Chatter: While discussing current movies, McClure admitted he had seen the chick flick Confessions of a Shopaholic. But wait—there’s more: He and his wife, Beth, took their daughter and 10 of her friends to the movie for a 10th-birthday party. Joan Grenz Buehler complimented her fellow lunchers: “A very community-minded group,” she said. “They all are for others.” Brantley Payne appreciated this dining advice from Diva Paulette Bruce: “Sometimes it’s good but just not worth the calories.” That is the motto of all the Divas.
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 $293,000 for local charities and nonprofits.