Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Practically a Philanthropist

Restaurant weeks aside, you have to give props to a charitable restaurant.

And I don't know of a more charitable one than Pescado's China Street with their weekly Monday fundraisers donating 15% of the night's profits to a cause.

When I walked in tonight, the place was so lively it felt like a Christmas party.

Actually, it was a lot of supporters eating and drinking to benefit Cancer Dancer, an ovarian cancer awareness group.

Sliding into the one available bar stool, I ended up next to the illustrator/graphic designer who'd created the promotional bookmarks (marked "Steal this bookmark" and listing  the symptoms) all over the bar.

Since he was a Northside resident, we talked about the limited number of restaurants there and how he and his neighbors make a point to rotate their visits to each to ensure that all succeed.

We talked about Shenanigan's closing and what that means for the neighborhood's live music scene.

I laughed when he said that people badmouthed the food there but absolutely everybody ate it after four beers.

Never having had four beers, I had no way of verifying that.

My girlfriend arrived and I introduced my new friend to her while eating a mouthful of his ceviche.

And no, I wasn't poaching; he offered, saying, "I'm here to spend money so help me eat all this food."

Diners kept arriving which was good for fundraising but bad for the room temperature but the repeated door opening decided my first course for me.

Tonight's soup was chicken, carrot and mushroom with coconut rice and after being given a sample to decide, I ordered a bowl.

Chunky, aromatic and perfectly seasoned, I felt no guilt about eating yard bird in a fish restaurant.

My friend had known what she was going to order before she even arrived because she thinks Pescado's fish tacos are the best in town, but I hemmed and hawed over my choice.

"Since when do you not know what you want to eat?" she wondered.

The problem was that all that meat-covered pizza at lunch followed by the satisfying soup had  left me wanting very little.

I ended up ordering a big spinach salad with strawberries, walnuts and fried scallions in a strawberry vinaigrette.

It wasn't fish, but it did the trick. Besides,this is a free country.

And I wasn't the only one. Upon arrival, one of the first things I'd heard was to "86 the rib eye."

What else did I hear? About someone else who'd been laid off in the 2008 economic downturn and how bored he got working at home.

"You finish your work and then you look at the dog and the cat and then what?" he asked. Um, go out and find something interesting to do?

About the woman who'd started Cancer Dancer and the journey that had led her to begin the campaign.

About my friend's plan to put an offer on a house in another state and if it happens, great, and if it doesn't, she'll take it as a sign that it wasn't meant to be.

About how great I looked tonight from a guy I know only by his cooking.

About how wildly successful the night of fundraising had been, setting a record even.

Props to Pescado's, where doing good is as easy as eat, drink, swallow.

And I only ate the chocolate flan for the cause. Really.