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[whitespace] A Town With Pity

Willow Glen shows it cares with a gala charity event at the Garden Theater

By Christina Waters

Diane Rose of Mio Vicino (and soon-to-be bride of Eric Tosh, new reigning chef at Eulipia) emailed me a few weeks ago with a heads up about a gala Willow Glen charity benefit spearheaded by White Dove Restaurant owner/chef Jeff Michel. Along with lots of other caring business folks in that most charming village next to San Jose, Jeff is putting the finishing touches on Willow Glen Cares, which plans on throwing a major dinner party at the vintage Garden Theater (1165 Lincoln Ave.) on Sunday, May 7 from 6:30 to 9pm.

"A couple came to me from the Leukemia Society a while back," Jeff recalled in our recent conversation, "and asked if we'd do a charity dinner for them. We started talking, and I thought, 'Yes, Willow Glen does care.' And it started mushrooming and pretty soon this event was planned." The White Dove restaurateur envisions this as a way of bringing the Willow Glen community together to put their energies where their hearts are. "I'm thinking of this as a first annual charity event--and each year we want to pick a different group to benefit."

So far 18 local businesses have gotten involved, including other restaurants--Cafe Primavera, Mio Vicino, Emperor's Garden, Aqui, Willow Street Wood-fired Pizza, Guiseppe's and of course White Dove--and a half-dozen top wineries. Jeff, who's headed the popular restaurant for 5 1/2 years, explained how the event works. Your $50 ticket includes access to the lovely old theater, free range of the food and wine samples, music from a five-piece jazz band, and general schmoozing with local arts celebrities and politicians. Admission also includes one raffle ticket (additional tickets are priced at $10) to an exciting host of door prizes, including the ever-popular trip to Hawaii.

"It'll be a great night," Diane Rose predicted. "We are hoping to get 400 to 500 attendees, to raise over $25,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, who help children and adults, as well as fund research at UCSF, UC-Berkeley and Stanford," Rose explained. To find out last-minute details, call Jeff Michel at the White Dove ("I practically live here," the chef chuckled). His number is 408.280.5297. And make plans now for what should be a great event with the people who make Willow Glen such a desirable place to call home.

Spring Flings

Get outta the house this weekend and check out the kind of weather that has people in Boston feeling distinctly sorry for themselves. I'm referring, of course, to our fabulous springtime, and a perfect excuse to hit the country. The 25th annual Santa Clara Valley Wine Growers are whooping it up once again at their Spring Festival this Saturday (April 29) at the Casa de Fruta Country Park, from noon until 5pm. In addition to the south county's killer countryside, with its lush green rolling hills and atmospheric avenues of giant eucalyptus trees, you'll be able to sample the fine wines made by Picchetti Winery, Thomas Kruse, Solis, Rapazzini, Jory, Mirassou, J. Lohr, Fortino, Cooper-Garrod (these folks make a remarkable cabernet franc) and many others. The $30-per-person ticket includes wine tasting, a grilled New York steak, pasta con pesto, garlic bread, salad, dessert and coffee--plus a souvenir wine glass to add to your collection. In addition to comestibles, there will be live music and a whole lot of outdoor fun and games. Dining happens from 1:30 to 3pm, and you can pick up tickets at any participating winery. Also, you absolutely must be 21 years of age to attend, and no, you may not bring your pet. For details, contact Judy Bogardus at 408.778.1555. Or just come on down, as they say.

Post-Easter Update: It's official. The elegant, blue-tiled Palm Court Terrace at La Pastaia (in the deco De Anza at 233 W. Santa Clara St. in downtown San Jose) is now open for alfresco dining. Make reservations (408.286.8686) to enjoy Mediterranean specialties created by La Pastaia chef Forrest Gingold and just enjoy the effect of the sun filtering through the romantically draped awning.

Email me! Readers, restaurateurs, chefs: Please send any news items, tips, menu changes, openings, special events and juicy gossip to [email protected]

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From the April 27-May 3, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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