By Pamela Dozois

The Los Alamos Valley Senior Center held an Italian Dinner fundraiser on Jan., 21, which raised more than $1,000 toward a new roof for the center.

The event was a gift to the Senior Center by Francesca Agate, a Los Alamos resident and owner of La Botte Bistro in Buellton. She provided dinner for more than 60 people consisting of lasagna, salad and bread, free of charge to the senior center. The wine was provided by Casa Dumetz of Los Alamos and members of the senior center, who also donated a variety of desserts.

The main room was lavishly decorated with burgundy tablecloths, candles reflecting off mirrors, and flowers donated by Trader Joe’s in Santa Maria. The room was filled to capacity with both members of the community and members of the senior center along with five members of the Los Alamos Fire Department. 

Sandee Adams, Los Alamos Valley Senior Center board member and co-chair of the dinner, gave a short speech thanking Agate for her generosity. 

“Francesca provided so much food, guests were able to go back for second and third helpings,” said Devyn Marseilles, who volunteered to help serve the food. “The food was absolutely delicious! What a treat for all who attended.”

“Many people asked if we put on these beautiful dinners often throughout the year, and suggestions were made we should have them once a month,” said Adams. “Sadly, not all restaurant owners are as generous as Francesca, but we do hold monthly potluck dinners, which members are invited to attend.”

Dinners were also hand-delivered to several people who could not attend the event, and a generous portion was given to firefighters to take back to the Los Alamos fire station.

“The dinner was so delicious, we even had seconds,” said one of the firemen who attended the dinner. “We were so pleased to be able to interact with the community in a non-emergency situation,” said another.

Many of those who attended took the opportunity after dinner to relax in the beautiful setting and chat with friends.   

“A special thanks goes out to Erin Matheson and Venessa Stephens, who graciously stayed behind to do all the dishes, and to others who helped clean up after the event,” said Adams.

“The whole event was done with such class, from the decorations and table settings all the way to the food, which was absolutely delicious – an authentic Italian dinner. The food and the people all blended together perfectly for a wonderful evening,” said Sharon Johnson.

“It was a very enjoyable evening with delicious food and good company,” said Kathy Traller. “We had a great time and I wish we could do this more often.”

 “The senior center was so inviting and beautifully decorated, and the food was so good, authentic and plentiful. I will definitely be recommending La Botte Bistro to all of our friends,” said Marla Gravitt. 

“Everything went off without a hitch and the food was delightful and plentiful,” said Adams. “Thank you, Francesca and La Botte Bistro, for your generosity and to all those who attended the dinner and contributed to our roof fund. It was a really special night.”