Chairman: Rich Cheney
Dine In 3 meets at a different host’s house every other month. The host selects the entree and the chairman assigns each couple one dish to bring (appetizer, side dishes, and dessert). Food assignments change with each dinner, as does the host. Everyone brings wine or other beverage to share with all. Our group has maintained its composition pretty well during our first four years. The strength of Dining In 3 is the fellowship and friendship each member has to the group, making each meeting a time of great celebration! We completed our first four years, and are now into our fifth year of food, wine, and great cheer! The events are organized from the newest (at the top) to the oldest (at the bottom).
We have a great group of diners but never want to close it to guests and those who might want to start their own group. I, like Ron Cassano (Dine In #1), invite others to join us for this very enjoyable SIR activity. Contact either one of us and we’ll work you in on a future dinner!
We are excited as we look forward to 2020 and our fifth YEAR as a SIR activity. The majority of our group has been dining together since 2016, so it is fair to say we’ve found something that works for us. It can also work for you. We limit our size to six couples, but we invite others to join us as alternates or as guests. We welcome a new couple to our dining group – Jim and Debbie Sawin. We also welcome a new alternate couple to our group – David Glazer and Helen Choi.
Here are the dates and hosts for our dinners for 2020:
Dine In 3’s recent dinner was on January 22 at the Cheney’s. Our newest couple, Jim and Debbie Sawin joined us. Welcome! Jim’s passion for wine and enology (yes, he makes his own wine!) kept him away from the activity last year but with a new schedule, he and Debbie fit in very well with our group – as we all enjoy a good bottle. Jim shared with us his knowledge and his home production. Delicious! Food was of high caliber – as always. From the hors d’oeuvres through the dessert everything was delicious and enjoyed by all! Valerie Jo Remley was moved to verse and we share it here:
The conversation waxed poetic
The hosts were angelic
The brisket was the tenderest I ever ate
But Bill couldn’t wait for the chocolate cake!
New friends to welcome
With personalities magnetic
Made for a delightful outcome
Of our group which Rich found photogenic.
So here’s to our hosts
Of whom we may boast
Offer warmth and great conversation
Giving us all inspiration
To look forward to sharing good times and good cheer
With friends whom we’ve grown to find so dear.
So well said. Our next event will be at Tony DeLosada’s hacienda in Walnut Creek in March. All of us are looking forward to this dinner so we may catch up with our friends and taste Jim’s next wine creation.
Farewell to Grace Chang and SIR Jeff Foster
It is always sad to say goodbye to friends you have, but bitterly sad when their departure was so sudden and unexpected. Grace Chang succumbed to cancer in May 2019. Our own SIR Jeff Foster also succumbed to cancer in November 2019. Grace and Jeff were founding members of Dine In 3 in 2016, had to depart in late 2017 due to Grace’s medical condition, but we celebrated their return in 2018. They left the group earlier this year for additional medical treatment. We honor their memory in several pictures taken at past dinners. May they rest in peace.
18 September 2019
Our dining-in group celebrated it’s most recent feast at Tony DeLosada’s beautiful home in Walnut Creek on September 18th. As is our custom, we begin our meals with numerous appetizers, excellent wine, and stimulating conversation. It is a special time where we greet each other and catch up with all our past travels and future adventures. Tony served cornish game hen as the main course; all the guests provided appropriate side dishes. The conversations always last long into the night as we enjoyed dessert and coffee. As special as these dinners are, Chris and Vilma Tang informed us they will leave the group next year. We will miss their company (and Chris’s stories of his Dragon Boat adventures) but we look forward to a new couple who might want to try this activity next year.
17 July 2019
Our dining entourage met at Bill and Margaret’s beautiful hacienda in Lafayette. As is our custom we opened the evening with two wonderful antipasti of potstickers and boiled shrimp. Well, maybe not very Italian, but they were very tasty! As always each couple brought a favorite wine, which miraculously lasted through dinner. Bill grilled pork loin as the main course, with Margaret’s well-seasoned sauce as the perfect compliment. All the side dishes and dessert were perfectly blended. What topped off the perfect night was the perfect weather that Bill and Margaret had dialed up for us as we ate under the stars on their patio. Thanks again to our whole group who make these nights so special! We have two more events this year, heading next to Tony and Peggy’s house in Walnut Creek, followed by the Bittons in Pleasant Hill. We agreed to move the Bittons’ event to New Year’s Eve to accommodate the travels of our members in November. We are all excited by the new date and the opportunities to try new ideas. So onward to Tony’s house!
It ALL looks so Good! Richard, Nat, Tony, and Bill are very serious
Valerie Jo beats the guys! Dining under the stars!
15 May 2019
Our dinner this month was at Chris Tang’s house in Concord. The host served up a delicious lamb entree with other guests providing complimentary side dishes. We welcomed Nat Bitton back to the group from his successful knee surgery. He was in good spirits and hoping to fly to England to attend a wedding with Bernadette. The wine and good conversation flowed all night. It was another fun-filled dining experience for all of us: we look forward to the Espey’s dinner in July!
Bat Bitton in conversation with Valerie Jo Linda and Valerie Jo share a story
Bill Espey and Peggy Watkins We all toast to our hosts for a great dinner
Chris Tang prepares the dessert
27 March 2019
Our intrepid diners came together for our first dinner together at Casa Cheney – a comfortable home situated in Martinez. We were one couple shy, as the Bittons had to bow out for medical reasons. We wished Nat, Jeff Foster, and Grace Chang good health. We started with an excellent hors d’oeuvre from Tony and Peggy and Linda preparing a pork tenderloin for the main course, with delicate sauces designed for this dish. The Espeys salad was a real hit and the Tangs veggies were excellent. As always, the wine flowed and the conversations were lively. We finished with the desserts brought by the Remleys. All in all, a wonderful night! In May we’re off to the Tangs.
Enjoying the appetizers Ready to eat!
Richard, Vilma, and Peggy Enjoying the feast
12 December 2018
Dine In 3 met for our last dinner of 2018 at Nat and Bernadette’s home in Pleasant Hill. We were joined by all of our regular dinner guests and a very pleasant return to our table by Chris and Vilma Tang, who have taken the place of Jeff Foster and Grace Chang. The lovely food – headlined by a fabulous pork roast and fabulous root vegetables medley – was accompanied by our standard excellent wine and spirited conversation. Our group stayed long enjoying port, coffee, and a decadent chocolate cake. As is our custom, the conversations are eclectic and far ranging. Chris Tang mentioned his Dragon Boat race in the Philippines earlier this year – a race they won in their age classification! All of us are curious what a dragon boat is, so Chris says that might very well be a day trip for us. Vilma Tang accompanied Chris, and since she was back in her homeland spent time visiting family. She’s been in the US since she was 10, so her Tagalog was a little rusty. Bill Espey described their adventures in Sardinia and Sicily this past summer. We rarely open the floodgates to politics but Nat Bitton is from the UK and he keeps up with the Brexit debates – all very interesting. Onward to Richard Remley’s home in January 2019!
Richard, Margaret, and Chris Peggy, Bill, and Bernadette
Our diners: Vilma, Bernadette, Tony, Richard, Peggy, and Bill
Margaret, Chris, and Nat
18 July 2018
Our 16th dinner in Dine In 3 was at our newest member’s (Richard Remley) home. We dined on Santa Maria tri-tip. All the sides worked well with the main course. We dined in two separate rooms, so there was a bit of musical chairs that ensued. The conversation flowed into Richard’s backyard that was perfect for star gazing. We all luckily avoided going for a swim in his pool! We enjoy each other’s company within the dining group and invite others to join us in this fun and worthwhile activity.
Margaret and Peggy Nat Bitton
Richard, Tony and Jeff Valerie Jo, Grace, and Bill
16 May 2018
Jeff Foster and Grace Chan hosted Dine In 3’s dinner this month in their beautiful condo
in Walnut Creek. We dined in their complex’s function room, which had as much room
as a house! We all took advantage of the ambiance and caught up with each other’s
travels since last we met. Then we got down to business: eating great food and drinking
excellent wine. Jeff set the tone with the entree of Korean Bar-B-Que (a treat from his
son). Valerie doubled down with an exceptional Asiatic salad – crunchy and savory at
the same time. As a SIR function, our group has been together well over two years and
yet we never tire of each other’s company. As summer approaches more of our couples
will be on the road, but then they come back with fascinating stories of their travels and
allows us all to share the experience. We’ve hit our stride and look forward towards
many happy dining adventures in the future.
The ladies checking all the fixings Our host and chef: SIR Jeff
The ladies get a head start on dinner We toast to another happy dinner party
21 March 2018
Our last dinner was on March 21, hosted by Rich and Linda Cheney. Linda kept us in suspense until the last few days and then announced we would be dining on seasoned tri-tips. There was a flurry of e-mails leading up to this announcement as the dinner partners all wanted to compliment the main course. Well, as usual, the suspense gave way to a great dining experience, despite the wet weather outdoors. Each time we meet it really is like a reunion of old friends. Each time we meet we all try to improve on the cuisine and culinary skills. Is it time for us to apply for a Michelin rating? Watch out!
Setting the table Enjoying appetizers & wine Peggy & Grace go for salad
Nat smiles over the asparagus We sit down to enjoy the tri-tips
17 January 2018
Bill Espey and Margaret Edwards were our hosts that night, with all five couples in attendance. The main course was Boeuf Bourguigon – a fancy way to say a great beef stew. Well, maybe a fancy great stew! The side dishes were the perfect accompaniment and Bernadette Bitton’s desserts (lemon custard and chocolate brownies) were decadent – but in a nice way! The dinners are a great way to catch up with each couple’s travels over the holidays and then see where everyone plans to go in the new year.
Our group of diners celebrated the start of our third year as a SIR activity. Although we were all members of SIR, we had never broken bread together until our first dinner. It’s pretty evident we have all found an activity we enjoy and look forward to our next dinner together.
15 November 2017
Jeff Foster and Grace Chang were our hosts this evening. What a wonderful dining area in their Walnut Creek condo! We welcomed Richard and Valerie Remley as permanent members of our group – replacing the Tang’s. The Foster’s provided the main course of Chinese-style pork belly and pepper steak. There were wonderful travel stories as the Espey’s just returned from Central Asia. We celebrated the completion of our second year as a SIR activity and look forward to the New Year and new dining adventures!
Celebrating our last dinner together in 2017 We’re all seated for a delicious meal!
13 September 2017
Bill Espey and Margaret Edwards were our hosts for a truly wonderful dinner. We welcomed the Remleys again to our group, as the Tangs continue their travels around Europe. The hosts provided an excellent Koningsberg Klopper (a German meatball) as the main course, with side dishes that complimented it well. Conversation during dinner focused on the extensive travels many members have taken recently, spanning all of Europe. Equally intriguing are the exotic trips planned for the future. As dinner past into desert, and then into coffee, the conversation continued well into the night. As the hours past, we were all surprised at the late hour and wondered where the time had gone. Truly a memorable dinner. Our group continues to evolve and we all look forward to our next gathering; this time at the Fosters in November.
Margaret and Nat hobnob over wine Margaret’s beautiful table waiting for guests
Valerie helping Bill with “two” plates Jeff needs a picture of all the great food
Nat and Richard get down to business
12 July 2017
Tony deLosada and Peggy Watkins hosted our dinner, with the entree being BBQ leg of lamb. The setting was on their porch for hors d’oeuvre, wine, and conversation. We adjourned to their patio to enjoy our dinner under the stars, with more wine and conversation. There seems to be a common theme running through all our dinners. Bill and Margaret told us of their trip through the Baltic countries. The Tangs gave us a preview of their upcoming trip to Europe and separately to Antarctica. We’re all waiting for the pictures. We welcomed a new couple to our dining group: Richard and Valerie Jo Remley. Their addition works well for the group since the Tangs will be traveling during our next two dinners. Our conversations linger long into the night, which is good and bad. It’s good that we all enjoy each other’s company, bad from the sense we keep the hosts up past their bed time (sorry Tony and Peggy)!
17 May 2017
Rich and Linda Cheney hosted this month’s dinner extravaganza. We started on the patio to enjoy Linda’s “secret” recipe for a world-class sangria. This went over quite well with everyone, along with wine, and appetizers provided by Tony and Peggy. Dinner followed, with the entree being brisket, with cooked-in veggies. The salad by the Bitton’s featured Bernadette’s excellent dressing. The Tang’s provided an exciting Philippine desert – very cool and refreshing. What has been the key to our continued success is the renewal of friendships and our varied and interesting conversations. It’s always great to be with friends, and even better when you can share a meal!
Dinner at the Cheney’s: 17 May 2017
15 March 2017
Chris and Vilma Tang, our newest members, hosted the dinner with a very distinctive Filipino theme. We dined on pork and chicken adobo along with shrimp pancit. What a treat: masarap, sarap! There were three varieties of lumpia served as appetizers (pork, chicken and shrimp), but how can you ever have too much of a good thing? The highlight of our dinner was welcoming back Jeff Foster and his darling wife, Grace Chang. We toasted their return to our group and Grace’s return to health. Each meeting of our dinner group is a time of renewing friendships and building new relations. It is hard to say goodnight, but at the same time we look forward to our next dinner in two months.
Dinner at the Tangs Dinner at the Tangs
18 January 2017
16 November 2016
Bill Espey and Margaret Edwards hosted our final dinner of the year. Their home is truly designed to host a large dinner party and we all enjoyed their gracious hospitality. As is our custom, we started with hors d’oeuvre, followed by a main course of lasagna, Cesar salad, and creamed broccoli. Various wines provided by the dinner guests complimented the food. Coffee, tea, cookies, and conversation rounded out the night. We toasted to a great year of dining pleasure and are preparing for next year’s adventure.
Dinner at the Espey’s A great dinner enjoyed by all
14 September 2016
Nat and Bernadette Bitton were our hosts on this special night of dining. We welcomed a new couple to our group: Chris and Vilma Tang. Additionally, our hosts from the first dinner – Ron and Karen Cassano – were our guests this evening. The setting was truly magical: hors d’oeuvre served with wine on the patio, followed by the main courses of salmon and BBQ chicken served in the dining room. All the food was exquisite, as was the conversation, and our renewal of friendships. We finished the evening with fresh baklava and lemon bars (this balanced the sweet with the tart), strong coffee and port. Perfect!
A toast to good food and friendship Dinner served in the Bittons home
13 July 2016
Our activity met at Casa Tony DeLosada. Everyone in the group were present for the excellent dinner and conversation. Chef Tony graced us with his bar-b-que delights – chicken and ribs. His sauces were very interesting: Asian fusion, onion, and garlic. Very tasty! The side dishes complemented the entree with beans, green salad and melons. We ate under the stars on a warm Walnut Creek evening; these events are well received by all and we always look forward to our next adventure. We meet in September at Nat and Bernadette Bitton’s home.
11 May 2016
This was our third dinner, hosted by Bob and Carol McMains. We enjoyed appetizers sitting around the pool. We moved indoors to feast on main course of Mediterranean salmon, with sides of asparagus, couscous, and salad (delicious home-made croutons!). The dinner ended over dessert and coffee and tea. A great time was had by all and we look forward to our next event and adventure in July.
Sitting around McMains pool Dishing up the feast
16 March 2016
Hosted by Rich and Linda Cheney, the main course was chicken curry. Not too spicy, but with enough zing to wake up the taste buds. The appetizers – absolutely delicious – were served on the patio. Everyone had such a great time, they were reluctant to come indoors to enjoy the feast. The formal china and silver were brought out – a lovely table setting – and everyone quickly settled into a great meal and outstanding company. As this was the day before St Paddy’s Day, note the green on the table, mirror, and guests!
Serving the feast Enjoying the feast
28 January 2016
Our first dinner together, hosted by Ron and Karen Cassano. The Cassanos served Beef bourguignon, as the main course, with complimentary side dishes and excellent wine. It was our initial meeting, with much of the time set aside to establish our way forward. Karen Cassano drew the ladies to one side and really helped jump start our group. It was a great start, with everyone pitching in and looking forward to our next dining adventure.