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Dig into the restaurant scene

First Friday Diners explore eateries
by: contributed photo, Members of the First Friday Diners Club dressed their part for a special Titanic-themed meal in January, including Patricia and El Loe.

Anyone who passed by Wildwood Café in Welches on Friday, Jan. 4, may have done a double-take. It's not every day that you see some people dressed up as if they were going on an ocean cruise in the early 1900s.

The dapper locals were part of a group - the First Friday Diners' Club - that meets monthly to enjoy good food and fellowship and to help support area eateries. On that night, the group had food based on the final meal served on the Titanic, and a few of the more daring decided to dress to their part.

'You got a ship pass taken from a replica of the Titanic,' said Rick Applegate, one of the club's charter members. 'Everybody had a bio for an actual passenger.'

While not every meal has a theme like January's, they do offer chefs an opportunity to show off some of their culinary skills they don't necessarily use in everyday cooking. Wildwood's chef, Ron Clement, presented a menu with items such as cream soup, wild boar and custard cream puffs.

'I'm a breakfast and lunch house, but it gave members of the community (the chance) to understand that I can do more than simple breakfast,' Clement said. 'It was a lot of fun for me to play.'

The group, which can number up to 40 people, started more than one year ago when a Bible study group wanted to do something fun together. Applegate had visited Roseone's in Sandy and thought that would make for a perfect kick off to the group.

'We want to introduce people to great places in the area,' Applegate said. 'That's kind of how it started out.'

Applegate noted that the club is not a Bible study or a way to try and get people to attend church. Anyone is invited to attend, and the group emphasizes eating at local eateries, especially to give them a financial boost when they might need it most.

The group will head off to the Sympatico Bistro, 1000 N. Main Ave. in Gresham, for the Friday, Feb. 1, dinner, which will be European fare with French, Spanish and lots of Mediterranean influence. As with all of their dinners, the club keeps the evening affordable and Sympatico's selections will run between $9 and $25.

But don't put away your costume jewelry yet; the group hopes to continue in the future with a theme night every now and then. One delicious possibility is an evening of dinner and dancing, featuring a big band.

'Every so often do something more extravagant,' Applegate said.

For more information, call 503-622-6574.