The Dining Divas: Ravenous Cafe

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Guests: Charlene Singley, president of Sacramento Association of Realtors; Barbara Rohwer Harsch, the association’s president-elect; Jeri Lardy, stay-at-home mom of 7-year-old twins; Ruth Fields Messersmith, who calls herself a CSJ (community service junkie); Tessa Barron, a political consultant; Erin Hover, a production assistant en route to grad school at Pratt Institute in New York City

Where: Ravenous Cafe, 7600 Greenhaven Drive, Sacramento; (916) 399-9309; ravenouscafe.com

Benefiting organizations: Francis House and Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services

1-second review: “Delicious food,” said Diva Joan Leineke. Added Tessa Barron: “Fresh, bright flavors with unexpected twists of flavor.”

Ambiance: Think small, with enough seating for 30, maybe. But the restaurant is comfortable and the décor interesting.

Biggest surprise:
Fried egg and cheese sandwich with Dijon mustard, aioli and mushrooms. “Could this be called a hangover recovery sandwich?” asked Diva Peg Tomlinson-Poswall.

More menu winners: Grilled Haloumi cheese with arugula, roasted tomatoes and balsamic vinegar on a baguette; tomato mushroom tart with Gruyère and pesto; fried eggplant sandwich with roasted peppers, manchego cheese and balsamic vinegar (this may be the ultimate when it comes to eggplant sandwiches); diver scallops with scallion-infused oil. For dessert: perfect crème brûlée, Meyer lemon cheesecake, flourless Valrhona chocolate cake and addictive macaroons.  

Wine time: Diva Peg Tomlinson-Poswall ordered the wine: Scribner Bend Vineyard Novantina and “R” Pinot Noir from Jeff Runquist Wines.
Need to know: What Ravenous lacks in space, Chef Mark Helms makes up for with imaginative cooking. Outside of the kitchen, he keeps busy restoring a ’61 Chevy Apache.

Quote of the day: When Charlene Singley spilled ice on herself in front of the Divas, Diva Paulette Bruce told her not to be embarrassed. “We put our pants on one leg at a time,” Bruce said.

Chatter: For Jeri Lardy and Ruth Fields Messersmith, it was tit for tat: Messersmith had brought Lardy as her guest to a previous Diva lunch. This time, Lardy did the honors. Barbara Rohwer Harsch recalled her days as one of the founders and past president of Los Niños Service League, which operates Casa Garden Restaurant to benefit Sacramento Children’s Home. “What a time we had putting it all together,” she said. “And we are continuing to support the home with our profits. Much of our current business is for private parties, from weddings to celebratory birthdays.”

 

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 $298,000 for local charities and nonprofits.