Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Way Down West You Will Find The East ~ by Janine Trusello

If you swing over to the Lower, Lower West Side (that would be the southern-most slices of Tribeca or the layer floating on top of the Downtown area, depending on how you look at it) and travel west across Chambers Street, over to Greenwich (with a pit stop at the delicious Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory of course) and then scoot north for a few steps, you will land between Duane and Reade streets. At this point you will need to look on the eastern side of the street for the number 317 and a very nice looking sign hanging up outside that says "Salaam Bombay." Put your hand on the door handle and go inside. You will then follow these exact same steps many, many times afterwards as long as you continue to live in or visit this fine city.

This very relaxing restaurant was the most recent location for a Dining to Make a Difference gathering, a series of food and drink focused events that have been held since October to help revitalize the economy, build community, and aid relief efforts. These supportive and entertaining events, now sixteen-plus and counting, are the creation of Vergant Media's founder and president, Wendy Dubit, who states, "These events are designed to get people to realize that they can make a difference by dining out soon and often, bringing colleagues and friends, booking parties, attending benefits, volunteering, and contributing to their community on a daily basis."

The evening started in the downstairs party hall with tasty cocktails and complimentary appetizers (also tasty) such as papadams, naans, vegetable pakoras and chicken wing based kalmi kababs, all enhanced by chutney-to-die-for. Who CARES if anything is deep fried! Early birds, other than myself and Wendy, included Knowledge for Professionals president, Paula Garzon who I had just seen the previous evening at the Canadian Consulate for an event, and Personal Relationship Management Services founder and CEO, Gary Welz, both people being Dining to Make a Difference regulars. Many others soon followed and along with the sounds of upbeat Indian music, a great evening was underway.

The second wave of Dining to Make a Difference regulars (and volunteers) included The Hamptons International Film Festival board member, Kim Brizzolara, and tireless WTC site rescue worker Scott Shields and his famous, tireless WTC site rescue dog extrordinaire, Bear Shields. Also on hand to enjoy the endless plates of delicious food was X-Change Technologies V.P., Susan Lapczynski, attorney Rebecca Garza, and Benchmark BeHome director, Emily Davidow.

After a few hours of knoshing and cocktailing, guests could opt to stay for a full dinner in the upstairs dining room. Before relocating the party, I talked with vice president, Alison Johns, founder, Geo Geller (a long-time Wendy Dubit fan), and cool accessory designer, Lisamarie Dixon who was there with her mom, Necla Refes and her Godfather, Richard Paley. Also in attendance was Mila Gorokovich, a Ukrainian high school student who had spoken at the World Economic Forum on behalf of

Those who chose to continue inhaling the amazing food headed upstairs to the dining room. Amongst the diners were John Marlin, Peter Muller & Associates attorney Peter Muller, Delta Markets Group managing director Peter Burton, and New York City Fire Department software developer, Kevin Jones, another Dining to Make a Difference regular.

For those of you interested in attending these wonderful events visit and get yourself on the mailing list. Once there, you will also be able to get all the information you need on the upcoming, very fantastic, not-to-be-missed, month-long May June Dining to Make a Difference Fest and scavenger hunt that will encourage participants to patronize as many venues as possible during that period and beyond.

Plans are now being finalized for this event which will kick-off on Wednesday May 15th, so hurry and get on the list for info. and updates!