The Dining Divas: Le Bilig French Cafe



Christine Pereira, president, owner and operator of ADL (Aids for Daily Living, Inc.), a home medical equipment and supply company; her guest, Briquel Hutton, a certified public accountant; Dana Judson, public relations director for K-Designers and trustee for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; Gönül Blum, owner of Gönül’s J Street Cafe

Le Bilig French Cafe, 11750 Atwood Road, Auburn; (530) 888-1491;
Benefiting organizations: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association and St. Michael’s Episcopal Day School

1-second review: Everything was done with attention and love and was spot-on perfect. Having the restaurant owners’ extended family involved added to the experience.

Challenge: Le Bilig is open only for dinner, but Marc Deconinck, the inspired and emotional chef/owner, agreed to arrange a Divas luncheon. He was helped by his wife and partner, Monica; Monica’s sister, Teena Wilkins, who operates Viña Castellano winery; and two of the Deconincks’ six children&emdash;Ines, 13, and Santi, 8&emdash;who served with professional aplomb.

The best: Everything, beginning with the cured Stonehouse olives and crusty bread and on through eight courses: cannelloni bean, tomato and pistou soup (with a bite, now and then, of a whole peppercorn); buckwheat galette with salmon; Flemish endive gratine; mussels with fennel, and fries cooked in duck fat; a spicy salad of dandelion greens, baby beets and chèvre; lamb with one-minute ratatouille; American Kobe beef with brussels sprouts fricassee (what a surprise!); and honey crème brûle, persimmon gâteau and a crêpe duo for dessert.

Ambiance: Intimate, charming, cozy, comfortable, peaceful and calming, with French tunes playing at low volume in the background.

Hide and seek: The restaurant is part of a building housing a bail bond company; Le Bilig has a sign on Atwood, but the bail bond sign is larger.

Quote of the day: From one business owner with a challenging group of employees: Choose restroom depending on personal plumbing, not attire.

Chatter: Christine Pereira read a letter from her mother, which ended in this comment: Never agree with a woman who reads, because she also thinks. Teena Wilkins, who has created a Winery Tours of Placer County brochure, arranged the flight of wine tastings. Even though her husband didn’t want her to tell anyone, Briquel Hutton revealed that they were going to the Justin Timberlake/Pink concert&emdash;and she was looking forward to it.

The Dining Divas&emdash;Gloria Glyer, Paulette Bruce, Bernice Hagen, Joan Leineke, Gayla Mace and Peg Tomlinson-Poswall&emdash;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 $254,000 for local charities and nonprofits.