The Dining Divas: The Kitchen

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Guests: Fifty March of Dimes supporters who signed on to be part of the “audience” for a showy demonstration dinner

Where: The Kitchen, 2225 Hurley Way, Sacramento; (916) 568-7171; thekitchenrestaurant.com

Benefiting organization: March of Dimes

1-second review: “Fun,” according to attendees Rebecca and John Crenshaw. (He’s with Wells Fargo.)

What we ate: Five courses, with an intermission on the patio featuring sushi, sashimi and conversation. In brief, dinner included designer-colored heirloom cauliflower with Dungeness crab thighs (meat from the big claws); red endive, frisée and new lettuces with tanned walnuts, cured pork belly and blue cheese panna cotta; organic chicken roulade with truffle-poached Maine lobster and pearls of preserved Meyer lemon; Piedmontese beef tenderloin with sieved potato and wild mushrooms; and old-fashioned German chocolate cake—a tasty morsel served with orange caramel glaze, candied pecans and espresso mascarpone-laced ice cream.

Wine time: Renwood Winery of Plymouth provided the wines (along with commentary by winery owner Robert Smerling): 2006 Roberto’s Block Pinot Grigio, 2005 Syrah, 2006 Clos Rene Viognier, 2004 Grandpère Zinfandel and 2004 Vintage Port.

Diva picks: Joan Leineke liked the luxury and personal attention plus the panna cotta; Peg Tomlinson-Poswall went for the German chocolate cake and the pork belly; Paulette Bruce moved the restaurant to the top of her list of local favorites; Gayla Mace enjoyed the after-dinner tea service and the Pinot Grigio; Bernice Hagen yummed over the chicken and the chocolate cake-Port combo; I was surprised that I enjoyed the Viognier but felt the cake was tops—just a bite, but perfect.

Need to know: Noah Zonca is the chef at The Kitchen. The white-glove tea service was a treat for tea drinkers.

Chatter: On this, her fourth visit to The Kitchen, Candace Brooks said: “This was as great as the first . . . comedy paired with conversation with the Divas. I loved Diva Gloria doing the flaming presentation with Randall.”

About that: Owner Randall Selland took me by the hand to the cooking area and instructed me to melt butter in a big, heavy pan. I knew something hot was going to happen when I spotted the bottle of Crown Royal. Sure enough, once the butter melted, Randall poured in the booze and—fwoosh!—the pan was aflame. No casualties, but I noticed the entire crew was on alert.

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.

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