Branch 8

Make Friends for Life

Let’s Dine In 3

Brugge 2010 022

Chairman:  Rich Cheney


Co-Chairman:  Jeff Foster; (973)219-9141;

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 its first year.  One couple had to drop out due to health, with another couple filling the spot at the table, while a new couple entered the group at the end of the year.  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 year of activity (six dinners!), and are now into our second year of food, wine, and great cheer!  The events are organized from oldest (at top) to the newest (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!

Happy New Year!

We are excited as we look forward to 2019 and our Fourth 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.  Here are the dates and hosts for our dinners for next year:

16-Jan: Richard Remley  

20-Mar: Rich Cheney

15-May:  Chris Tang 

17-July:  Bill Espey

 18-Sep:  Tony DeLosada 

13-Nov:  Nat Bitton

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.

We enjoy our time together and wish to share this experience with other couples.  As an alternate, you would fill in when another member of the group is on travel (yes, we ALL travel a lot!).  There’s no long-term commitment as an alternate but gives you a chance to try this concept for yourself.  Contact either Rich Cheney or Ron Cassano for more information.
Bill Espey – Our Host                                        Grace Chan and Valerie Jo Remley serving themselves
 Tony DeLosada and Peggy Watkins                                         Sitting down to dinner

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

Our group of diners met on 18 January for our first dinner of 2017.  Our hosts were Nat and Bernadette Bitton serving a flavorful (or, since Nat is British, “flavourful”) beef stew – perfect food for our cold and wet evening!  Accompanying dishes filled us with delicious food, with great wine to make it a festive evening.  It’s always great to come together and renew friendships and plan our next feast in March.
Greetings in the kitchen      Conversation over wine        Sitting down to the feast

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.