I just got off the phone with Elisa Marzano, chef and owner of Marzano Italian Restaurant in Parkland. She told me she's cooking a delicious sounding porcini sausage dish for next Thursday's Dining Out For Life – the fundraising event in which 64 participating Pierce County restaurants give a quarter of the day's food sales to benefit the Pierce County Aids Foundation. More diners means more money raised for the foundation, so be sure to plan some nosh time next Thursday, April 30.
Here's what Marzano said she will make, "Artisan sausage with porcini mushrooms with a lamb ragu. The artisan porcini sausage … it comes from the Piedmont region. I'll serve it over fresh pappardelle pasta." What else is on her menu? "We're also going to be doing a risotto with locally picked morels." The morels come courtesy of Jeremy Faber, owner of Foraged and Found Edibles. Marzano said she'll come up with a fish special for the night, too.
Marzano is one of a few restaurants that have participated in Dining Out For Life since its inaugural year 15 years ago.
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Russ Batten, director of development and marketing for the Pierce County AIDS Foundation, said Marzano, along with Antique Sandwich Company, La Fondita, Old House Cafe and Ravenous Restaurant, were among the initial 12 restaurants that launched the event 15 years ago – and those restaurants have participated every year since. Next Thursday, 64 will participate. Among them are Adriatic Grill, The Bite at Hotel Murano, Crown Bar, East & West Cafe Proctor, Gateway to India, The Green Turtle, Infinite Soups, Marcia's Silver Spoon, The Parkway Tavern, Primo Grill, Satellite Coffee, Toscanos and more. Money raised at the event will support HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy services.
For a list of participating restaurants, visit the Dining Out For Life site.
Marzano is relatively sure that the night will be busy, but she does have a concern. "Hopefully this year, the economy doesn't dent the event." But she's hopeful that won't be the case and past years, even in slower economic times, have been bustling with every seat taken that night. "We already are getting calls from people." Her advice? Make reservations. Shirley Herridge, who owns the Antique Sandwich Company with sister-in-law Tamie Herridge, said she believes that Dining Out For Life is a recession-proof dining event. The reason? It's a cause that people will support, even in a time when dining dollars are dwindling. "I think especially in a tighter economy, we pick and choose our causes. I don't think it's in danger. The type of people who come in here are people who (will support) a worthy and supportive cause. It won't be a problem."
Dining Out For Life
When: Thursday, April 30
Where: Participating restaurants, listed at this web site.
What: A dining event where participating restaurants donate 25 percent of the day's proceeds to the Pierce County AIDS Foundation.
More info: www.piercecountyaids.org