The Firehouse



Bob Foster, president of Hubacher Cadillac and a Dining Divas repeater, and his wife, Jean, a CPA; Kim Cemo, a homemaker, and her guest, Susan Cohen, a domestic maven. Kim was a three-peater, filling in for her husband, Sam, who was doing the hip-replacement recovery dance.

The Firehouse Restaurant, 1112 Second St., Old Sacramento; (916) 442-4772;
Benefiting organizations: The Bids for Kids auction presented by Rotary Club of Sacramento, and Wellspring Women’s Center

1-second review: Eclectic, energetic, exciting&emdash;that’s The Firehouse menu.

The best: Crab cakes with a hotsy-totsy jalapeño-cilantro aioli; heirloom tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella; grilled beef bruschetta with Gorgonzola crumbles&emdash;a meal in itself; fried plantains served with the fish special, bluenose sea bass with sherry lobster sauce and jicama-cucumber salsa. The desserts were stylish and imaginative, although a bit contrived, and the bread was delightfully warm and delicious.

A gaffe and its solution: When the Divas do lunch, we pass the food around the table so everyone gets to sample everything. When it comes to the wine, though, the Divas do not expect to pass the filled glasses from luncher to luncher, which was what happened with the Ferrari-Carano Fum Blanc. It didn’t take long for a manager to notice the gaffe and give instructions to have a glass placed at each place before the Rosenblum Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 Mountain Vineyards was poured. About the wines? Diva Peg Tomlinson-Poswall loved the Cab.

Ambiance: A great setting, indoors or on the high-style patio, which, thanks to outdoor heaters, has become an almost-year-round dining spot.

Grandkids are wonderful, said Jean Foster, a recent first-time grandmother. It’s like having dessert without the vegetables. Susan Cohen, whose 7-carat (!) diamond ring was impossible to ignore, had fine things to say about the Niello Concours d’Elegance at Serrano, a classic-car show held in October. She said she’d go back to the Concours and would lunch with the Divas whenever she could. Kim Cemo dined at The Firehouse with her father about 24 years ago, just after she moved to town. It was the only place, she recalled. Nearly every luncher decided the next visit to The Firehouse would be for wine, appetizers and dessert, skipping the in-betweens. Don’t expect to find the heirloom tomato salad on the menu in January&emdash;The Firehouse changes its menu seasonally.

Left to right: Paulette Bruce-Miller, Gayla Mace, Susan Cohen, Jean Foster,
Bob Foster, Kim Cemo, Peg Tomlinson-Poswall, Joan Leineke, Gloria Glyer

The Dining Divas&emdash;Gloria Glyer, Paulette Bruce-Miller, Bernice Hagen, Joan Leineke, Gayla Mace and Peg Tomlinson-Poswall&emdash;have been wining and dining together since 1993. Each month, they lunch at an area restaurant, taking as their guests people who placed winning bids at charity events. To date, the Divas have raised more than $254,000 for local charities and nonprofits.