ALAMEDA -- Three thousand free turkeys will appear outside the door of Habanas Cuban Cuisine, 1518 Park St., beginning at 2 p.m. Tuesday -- and they're up for grabs for anyone.

The event, now in its fifth year, is courtesy of Jack Dudum, owner of Linguini's and Habanas Cuban Cuisine restaurants.

Takers need not bring their identification nor their financial statements to get one of the 15-to-16-pound birds. They need only to show up and pick up the poultry. When the birds have all flown, the event will end.

Dudum said the turkey tally is about 20,000 pounds of meat, which equates to

about 20,000 meals.

He and his son Tony and other family members work with Sile Jadesimi, general manager of Habanas, to show customers their gratitude.

"We do it because we're blessed," he said. "Our customers have been so good to us."

He said his family-run Linguini's restaurant has a loyal clientele and recounted one story of a couple who had been longtime diners there.

"The husband comes in and said his wife had been in a coma," Dudum said. "When she came out of it the first thing she asked for was spaghetti Bolognese from Linguini's."

Dudum sent the husband off with a gratis dinner for his recovering wife.

Dudum is the original owner of Habanas. He had brought in the owner of Habanas in Walnut Creek, but after a year they decided to


Advertisement

go their own ways, and Dudum took over the Alameda site. He has owned Linguini's for nearly 24 years and sees adults come to dine who came to dine when they were 10 years old. Some of the youngsters who were customers are working at the restaurant.

"We do this to help people during the holiday time and to give back to our community for their support," Jadesimi said. "We don't discriminate; it's for everyone. I've been here three years now and have seen

people come in Lexuses and Mercedes."

Between Jadesimi and Linguini's general manager Shadi Movafagh, who will hand out the gobblers, there are bound to be some aching arms by the time the last bird has landed in an Alameda home's kitchen.

Being restaurateurs, Jadesimi and Dudum had individual recommendations on how to cook turkey.

Jadesimi prefers an oven-roasted bird marinated in a jerk seasoning rub, with paprika, soy sauce, pureed mango, olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. He would marinate his turkey in the mixture for 24 hours and cook it at 350 degrees for six to seven hours, turning it every couple of hours and pouring the marinade from the bottom of the pan over it.

Dudum said he would deep-fry his bird, with a rub of seasonings, for about 50 minutes at a low fire.

FYI
Beginning at 2 p.m. Tuesday, 3,000 turkeys will be given away for free at Habanas Cuban Cuisine, 1518 Park St. People need not show identification nor financial statements -- they just have to take the turkeys. The event, now in its fifth year, is courtesy of Jack Dudum, owner of Linguini's and Habanas Cuban Cuisine.