by Diane Claytor

Imagine: it’s a beautiful Thursday night in mid-August. The weather is warm but not too hot. Maybe there’s even a hint of a breeze. The week has been busy and you’re anticipating another boring night of TV reruns. Or maybe you’re considering going to a movie but, let’s face it, it’s August and all that’s playing are animated movies geared to the kids or sci-fi films – and neither of those appeal to you right now. If you live in the Bay Area, you have another option. And it’s way better than a Grey’s Anatomy rerun or sitting in a dark theater with hundreds of loud pre-teens. JPG_Gallop2015_poster1

Diablo Ballet’s 4th annual fun – and very successful – Gourmet Gallop is taking place in downtown Walnut Creek on Thursday, August 13 from 6-9 p.m. During those 3 hours, you’ll be able to sip, sample and stroll your way around beautiful Walnut Creek, an area that theculturetrip.com said has “earned a place in many foodie hearts.” It is indeed known for its outstanding dining choices. (OK, the shopping’s not bad either.) You’ll enjoy delicious food and drink and excellent company. And what’s even better, you’ll know that you’re supporting Diablo Ballet’s PEEK Youth Outreach Program, the only arts education program of its kind offered by a professional dance company in the Bay Area. PEEK provides in-school movement curriculum and free dance performances to students and families in under-served areas who have few other opportunities to participate in the arts. The Walnut Creek Yacht Club, about which one Yelp reviewer wrote, “omg! by far the best scallops ever! the swordfish – best ever!” is one of 13 restaurants participating in this year’s Gourmet Gallop. Massimo, with its Northern Italian inspired cuisine specialties, is another. Opa!, which proudly states that all of their “meals are prepared daily in the homemade traditions and spirit of our Greek families,” is also a participant. And then there’s Buon Vino, whose mission is to “change the way American’s enjoy wine,” offering wine tasting; Lark Creek, described on tripadvisor.com as “one of those restaurants that doesn’t seem to go

From last year's delicious Gourmet Gallop

From last year’s delicious Gourmet Gallop

out of style – the food is consistently good;”Lottie’s Creamery, featuring hand made ice cream that’s made in small batches using organic and seasonal ingredients; Peet’s Coffee and Tea, famous as a gathering place for coffee devotees and a “magnet for artisan food crafters;” Silk Road, offering mouth-watering Mediterranean specialties such as kabobs and gyros; Sunol Ridge, a 2015 opentable.com Diners Choice winner; San Francisco Creamery, where they “make all their own ice cream, hot fudge, chocolate syrup, caramel and

butterscotch, the old fashioned way;” We Olive, with its oil and vinegar tasting bar where over 50 varieties can be sampled, along with tapenades, mustards, olives, spices and a wine bar offering local artisan wines; 54 Mint Il Forno, described by one Yelp reviewer who said “I lived in Italy for a few months and I have to say I flashed back to it just eating this food. Amazing and authentic quality using local ingredients.” And last, but certainly not least, Gourmet Gallop participants will have the opportunity

Justin Leavitt and David Glass   photo: Bilha Sperling

Justin Leavitt and David Glass
photo: Bilha Sperling

to enjoy wine tasting by Las Positas Vineyards at Steinway Piano Gallery, while listening to beautiful music played by concert pianist Justin Levitt.

imagesWe may not be able to tell you WHAT delicacies you’ll be savoring, but we can guarantee that whatever it is, it will be delicious! One Diablo Ballet supporter and devoted Gourmet Gallop participant said it’s the perfect way to spend a warm summer night with friends, “sampling delectable delights from favorite restaurants” and being introduced to some new, unfamiliar eateries. It doesn’t get any better than that! And this year, there’s even going to be a Gourmet Gallop After Party. Pyramid Ale House, where you’ll find a “world of extraordinary tastes waiting to be explored on draft, including their year-round beers, rotating seasonals and a few unique Pyramid offerings you won’t find anywhere else,” is inviting Gallopers to continue the evening by sitting on their beautiful outside patio, sipping specially priced 6 oz. beer tasters and listening to R&B and blues music presented by Mario & Friends. Is there a better way to spend a lovely summer evening? For only $39 per person (before July 31; $45 after), you, too, can stroll through beautiful downtown Walnut Creek, enjoy fine food and drink, and know that you’re helping kids who may never be exposed to the arts if it weren’t for Diablo Ballet. To make sure you’re one of the many gallopers this year, go to diabloballet.org or call 925-943-1775.

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