The story of Thursday night’s feast began October 19, 2019.  That’s when Ralph Mahalak Jr., made the winning bid of $1200 for dinner for eight.  The auction took place at the Harvest Moon Party, a fundraiser for the Clark Community Center.  To accommodate the crowd, the event was held at the Clark Lake Yacht Club. 

The chefs preparing the payoff were John and Dotty Karkheck, Not only did they serve the dinner, but also donated the food.

It was up to Ralph and Joan Mahalak to choose the direction the dinner would take.  Dotty summed it up this way, “no vampire will cross our paths as garlic will be our defense.”  The menu centered on Italian fare (see details below).

The chilly fall evening outside contrasted the warm and friendly atmosphere inside.  At the table were Kirk and Marty Mercer, Tom and Michelle Bules, Gary and Teri Schultz.  Joan’s mother, Ann Lentner, was visiting from Minnesota and joined the group.

Fulfilling the promise of the meal required a trip to Plymouth, Michigan.  The Karkheck’s traveled to Cantoro’s Italian Market to stock up. Cantoro’s refer to themselves as an Italian Disneyland.  And to the appreciation of the group, an ample serving of this version of Disneyland arrived at Mahalak’s Clark Lake dining room table.  For those interested in tempting their appetite, here was the evening’s menu:

ANTIPASTO – Charcuterie Board consisting of: three cheeses, three meats, olives, nuts, grapes, Italian sausage stuffed mushrooms, artichoke and spinach stuffed mini peppers, heirloom tomato/basil/cheese tarts, assorted crackers

PRIMI – Pasta e Faggioli (Italian vegetable soup with beans and Dilantin)

INSALATA –  (traditionally this is served after dinner but most American diners prefer it before).  Baby greens, cantaloupe, red onion and roasted walnuts with a balsamic Caesar dressing

SECONDI/CONTORNI – Beef Braciole, Grilled Shrimp Scampi with Garlic/Lemon Linguine, Broccolini, Roasted tomato half

DOLCE – Cannoli, Rainbow Cookie, Tiramisu Cake


The hosts.

Ralph and Joan Mahalak