Sisters are cooking it for themselves at Graze (Central and Bryn Mawr, 268-4729) where Chefs Jennifer James and sister Kelly Burton are hosting a benefit for Women Chefs and Restaurateurs on Thursday, March 4. WCR is an organization that promotes the education and advancement of women in the restaurant industry by providing scholarships and mentoring programs. From Feb. 15 through Mar. 15, a series of 80 benefit dinners will be held across the country. The Graze dinner is the only one scheduled for New Mexico. Tempting menu items include five onion-walnut soup with Fontina crouton, beet ravioli with Sweetwoods goat cheese cream sauce, roasted vegetable lasagne with smoked tomato sauce. The cost of $80 per person includes wines from Sterling Vineyards, tax and gratuity. Call for reservations.
Café Dalat, perhaps the city's most elegant Vietnamese café (Central just east of San Mateo, 266-5559) is now serving beer and wine. I stopped in last week for an unusual but scrumptious plate of spicy pork chops, fried egg, egg roll and tofu and noticed not only bottles in the wine rack behind the counter but also a local wine salesman dining a few tables away. Owner Trong Nguyen is stocking Tsingtao, Kirin, Coors and Coors Light beers but unfortunately the only Vietnamese beer he could track down is only available in California; distributors here don't stock the brew known as “33”. More interestingly, he's got about eight attractive wines by the bottle—and none of them has the word Chablis on it. The house wines, available by the glass are Sutter Home but Nguyen's favorite (and the most expensive wine at $40) on his list is a Franciscan Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
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