What do you get when you mix five top chefs, a Spanish wine importer, a first rate band, a red carpet, beautiful jewelry, a worthy cause, a jazz saxophone player, an $8 million home with a killer view, a community-inspired magazine and 300 guests? You probably guessed it…a Rockin’ Party!
The weather was a perfectly clear 68 degrees on Friday evening, November 6, when Newport Beach Lifestyle magazine celebrated its Second Year Anniversary with a black tie/red carpet event at a beautiful private estate overlooking Newport Bay. Guests arrived to photos on the red carpet and then stepped into a courtyard with a black-bottom pool, complete with a calming waterfall, and live jazz saxophone music provided by Vaughn Fahie. They were greeted with tray-passed hors d’oeuvres provided by Chef David Martin of The Pacific Club, which included his soy braised short rib with Chinese mustard aioli, pickled vegetable slaw and kohlrabi puree; Caledonia blue prawn with persimmon, micro cilantro, almonds, Harissa vinaigrette and sesame tulle; and zucchini roll with apple, jicama, carrot, walnut-Boursin spread and tamarind.
Guests were treated to a private boutique by Susan Shieldkret, the owner of The Passionate Collector, showcasing jewelry, handbags, men’s watches, and accessories. As they walked into the main house, on the right were exquisite desserts crafted by Elyssa Fournier of Mixed Bakery. Her homemade caramel mou, chocolate saucisson with chocolate, nuts, raisins and more, and bourbon pecan cookies were a perfect match for the cavas being served at the bars.
John Cancilla, his wife Ana, and their crew from Obac Imports were serving 93+ Parker point Clos de L’Obac wines from winemaker Carles Pastrana, one of the founding fathers of the Priorat region in Spain. Agusti Torello Mata cavas were also being offered at the tasting bar. Clos de L’Obac winery is a must-see if you are traveling to Spain on one of your upcoming vacations.
The massive 14-foot main dining table was filled with delectable canapes from Chef Rachel Haggstrom and the Balboa Bay Resort. Beef tartar with knackebrod, chive flower and egg cous cous; truffle cannoli with truffle cheese and truffle tuille; Cobia sashimi with forbidden rice cracker, avocado, sriracha caviar and yuzu; and bone marrow with bone marrow condiment, tomato confit and parmesan sable, were all displayed beautifully for guests. The other half of the table was filled with pumpkin pie and chocolate mocha dessert shooters tastefully displayed and provided by Armen Karamardian and Zov’s Bistro.
Bill Bracken, formerly the executive chef at the Four Seasons/Island Hotel in Newport Beach, and his team served grilled New Zealand lamb chops with roasted red bell peppers, and empanadas from the wood burning tandoori oven located on the lower patio. Award-winning and nationally-recognized jeweler Todd Reed and his crew were across the way showcasing some of Todd’s beautifully custom-designed pieces.
During the course of the night, guests were serenated by the sounds of Midnight Hour, featuring Vikki Gurdas’ sultry warm vocals and accompanied by Bill Macpherson, a Grammy-nominated seasoned guitarist.
The silent auction during the evening benefited Bracken’s Kitchen. Chef Bill Bracken now focuses his time on operating food trucks which provide daily meals to shelters and the homeless in Orange County. He and his staff prepare and serve thousands of delicious meals every year to people that cannot feed or provide for themselves, and they do it for under $1 per meal. Some of the items donated for the auction included a stay at the beautiful Belmond El Encanto resort in Santa Barbara, a chef’s dinner in the private dining room at the Waterline Restaurant at the Balboa Bay Resort, and dinner for eight at The Pacific Club. Newport Beach Lifestyle magazine feels honored to have been able to help raise over $4,000 that evening, which translates into 4,000 meals for those in need.
The event was made possible through the participation of many sponsors, and Newport Beach Lifestyle magazine would like to thank them all, including Classic Party Rentals, The Passionate Collector, Obac Imports and Clos de L’Obac Winery, Tim Smith Group and Coldwell Banker Real Estate, The Pacific Club, Balboa Bay Resort, Zov’s Bistro, Baked Goods, Dr. Peter T. Smrecek, Partners Direct Insurance, and The Appearance Center. Special thanks also to Paul and Raffy Lunsford for the use of their beautiful home as the venue, and to Kristin Martin of Table for 10 for her consultation and for coordinating the participation of the chefs. Without Kristin and the chefs, the event would not have been the same.
The evening resulted in much laughing and smiling, lots of hugs, tons of photo ops, exquisite wine tasting, delectable bites, amazing music, and, most importantly, a celebration of Newport Beach Lifestyle magazine and the community it serves. Departing guests commented on looking forward to next year’s evening of celebration.