Chez Ruth Levine

Seventeen stalwart members (give or take a few) of our chapter braved darkness, wind, and rain for the promise of warm fellowship and great food on Monday January 23. Needless to say, we weren't disappointed.

Member Ruth Levine (owner and chef of Bistro 185) graciously opened her beautiful East Side home to us for the meeting, which kicked off with a delightfully brief and well-focused business meeting chaired by our hard-working prez Bev Shaffer. Then, the fun began – as we adjourned the business portion of the evening and headed for a bountiful soup-and-salad buffet created especially for us in Ruth's amazingly decked-out home kitchen.

Among the unforgettable yummies: a giant platter of field greens dressed up with pecans, cranberries, and blue cheese; sweet, cake-like slabs of tender corn bread; a vibrant white-bean chili; and a remarkable jambalaya – chicken, andouille, okra, smoky paprika, and the "secret ingredient:" poultry seasoning! Almost as intriguing as the food were Ruth's massive serving pieces: artful platters, colorful bowls, and curvy copper pots that made the meal as pleasing to the eye as to the palate.

Many conversations about food, drink, fund-raising, communications, publications, and other matters of interest to hospitality professionals took place over dinner. But not surprisingly, by evening's end almost everyone wound up standing around the stainless steel island that anchors Ruth's kitchen, and sharing stories about the local food scene. (Rocco Whalen's remarkable weight loss was an especially animated topic for discussion!)

And then, before we knew it, it was time to head home. Ruth graciously sent us on our way with cartons, and bags, and containers of leftovers destined for next-day lunches. The fond memories of friendly networking and fellowship? For those, thanks go to all those who attended.  – Elaine T. Cicora