The Dining Divas: Mason’s Restaurant

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Guests: Debbie Lehr, officer manager for Leonard Lehr, M.D.; Kathryn Owens, who does cardiovascular ultrasound; Stacey Hodge, director of community relations for Ronald McDonald House Charities; Tim Hodge, an excavation contractor; Megan Vincent, community relations manager for Pacific Coast Building Products; Marybeth Bizjak, Sacramento magazine’s dining editor and food blogger

Where: Mason’s Restaurant, 1116 15th St., Sacramento; (916) 492-1960; theparkdowntown.com

Benefiting organizations: Christian Brothers High School and WIND Youth Services

1-second review: Incredibly good, said Kathryn Owens.

Ambiance: “Sleek”—that’s the definitive word from Diva Joan Leineke. Marybeth Bizjak loved the zinc
tabletops, which make the setting even sleeker.

Dishing on the dishes: Start with the frito misto of lightly battered, deep-fried vegetables, move on to the ahi tuna salad, then the baked macaroni and cheese and the perfectly prepared Lake Superior whitefish with eggplant and heirloom peppers. Want more? Add the American Kobe burger on poppy seed brioche, relleno de chile verde and market catch tacos. For dessert, consider the root beer float with Kahlúa gelato, lavender pot de crème with fennel pollen shortbread, chocolate peanut butter parfait, and peach and almond crostada. Each and every one of the desserts is worth a sample; dine with a group and order them all.

Wine time: Sommelier-for-the-day Paulette Bruce chose 2007 Chasing Venus Chardonnay and 2007 The Flying Winemaker Zinfandel from Cameron Hughes. “Loved the wines,” said Diva Bernice Hagen.

Extras: The restaurant treated us to a cheese tray, with samples of Marieke Foenegreek Gouda, Buttermilk Blue and Bellwether Farms Carmody, to mention a few. The cheeses were delicious, and they came with tasty accompaniments of honeycomb, berry jam and fresh figs.

Quote of the day: “It’s hard to find a pig sitter on short notice,” said Joan Leineke, on the difficulty of leaving town when you have a 17-year-old pet pig. (Hers is named Truffles.)

Chatter: When discussing one of his favorite subjects—tequila—Tim Hodge always asks, “How does tequila make you feel?” He says it makes him feel taller; his wife, Stacey, feels smarter. Says Megan Vincent: “I can dance!”

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.

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