Imagine returning to your hotel room and finding a letter which reads, “Hurricane Patricia is currently expected to make landfall near Puerto Vallarta sometime Friday afternoon. The safety and security of our guests and associates is a top priority. Out of abundance of caution, we are evacuating the hotel and relocating guests to Guadalajara Jalisco.” What started out as a normal press trip was quickly escalating into one of the most tense moments of my career. It was a wild couple of days and a birthday I will never forget.
Congratulations to the Newport Chapter of National Charity League in hosting its 55th Debutante Ball, held at Hotel Irvine. The mother-daughter philanthropic organization is dedicated to community service, leadership development and cultural experiences, with the 33 debutantes, the largest class to date, volunteering more than 9,000 hours of service in six years to philanthropies supported by the chapter. More than 450 guests attended the formal dinner dance, which included each debutante performing the St. James Bow and waltzing with her father or sponsor. Ball committee chair was Kimberly Prado, with Kelly Stewart serving as assistant chair.
Court Appointed Special Advocates’ Holiday Luncheon at St. Regis Resort netted $302,000 for foster care children, while Saks Fifth Avenue’s Alice + Olivia fashions enticed and Lugano Diamonds’ diamond bangles sparkled. Photography Happy Photos
Food is the stuff of life, at least that’s the way I think of it. I look forward every day to being able to have a wonderful food experience. It doesn’t have to be gourmet. It could be a favorite hamburger or chocolate shake or hot dog, and I can tell you exactly where I would go to partake. It could also be a favorite dish at a local eatery or a new restaurant and a choice of foods I’ve never eaten before. That’s always fun too. Then, there are those special meals at friends’ homes, where loving hands have prepared what I know will be delicious fare (my friends are good cooks!).
A festive tree lighting ceremony, Santa’s visit, carolers and a seaside bazaar at Crystal Cove’s Historic District drew locals to the complimentary all-day “Deck the Cove” winter festival. Photography J. Christopher Launi
It was late December of 2013. We decided everyone just had to be there. So we gathered our girlfriends for “one last hurrah” at The Ritz in Fashion Island. We scored a huge round table adjacent to the bar. The staff was incredibly friendly and attentive. Providing great service was always a cornerstone at The Ritz. We smiled broadly and tipped well. But there was a deep sadness amidst the frivolity. We were really there for a fond farewell, and we all knew it.
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these fabulous low-fat treats, and your diet will be loaded with the luck of the Irish! Instead of fattening corned beef and green beer, try these green-themed goodies which will add a festive touch to any party. Low in calories but bursting with flavor, these impressive tiny tartlets are easy to assemble, with a delicious blend of spinach, artichokes and cheese. Trade green beer for Vodka Spearmint Punch, and your guests will think they have found a pot of gold!
Jazz diva Diana Krall and KC & the Sunshine Band entertained at Segerstrom Hall, with guests enjoying a showstopping “reveal” on stage of Moscow, Paris and New York. Photography Kimberly April, Doug Gifford, Joesan Diche
Chef Rachel Haggstrom grew up on her family’s citrus grove in Temecula, California, and became fascinated by the farming process–from planting seeds to harvesting–and because of it, developed a passion for food and cooking with fresh produce.
That passion has served Haggstrom well throughout her culinary career, including The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio at the Kimpton Hotel San Francisco, Thomas Keller’s Michelin three-star restaurant, The French Laundry in Napa, and St. Regis Monarch Beach.
Newport Beach resident Barry Hoeven was honored at the Rivals United for a Kure gala, netting $450,000 for underfunded cancer research, thanks to a sold-out crowd of UCLA/USC supporters. Also honored was the Shackelford family.
KidWorks’ annual fundraising luncheon at the Doubletree Hotel in Santa Ana featured NBA star Bill Walton as keynote speaker and netted $586,757 to fund educational and leadership programs for at-risk children in Santa Ana.
A festive nutcracker-themed holiday luncheon greeted guests at the Island Hotel with a jolly Santa, Dickens Carolers, hot-hot opportunity prizes, a scrumptious repast and top-drawer fashions from Neiman Marcus. Photography peggy o’donnell and Tony Lattimore
Grand Opening of the Hilbert Museum of California Art and its opening exhibition, “Narrative Visions: 20th Century California Art from the Hilbert Musuem”
Both events are free and open to the public. The Friday open house is in the daytime, and the Saturday event is in the evening. Free parking during the opening events only will be in the Chapman structure at 200 N. Cypress Street, next to the Digital Media Arts Building and within easy walking distance of the Hilbert Museum, 167 N. Atchison, across from Ruby’s Diner.
You might have run into Bill Bracken at the Peninsula Beverly Hills, the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach (now the Island Hotel) or DivBar restaurant in Newport, where he served as executive chef for a total of 35 years. He is now in charge of Bracken’s Kitchen, a hunger relief organization that provides food to economically deprived people in Southern California. So, how did he get there?
“I felt I was being called to use my talents for something more meaningful,” Bracken says.
You’ve got to love New Year’s resolutions. My special high protein, no carb diet was working so well. The morning was warm and sunny like most Newport Beach days, and my writing assignment took me to the home of a friend. Unfortunately, she happens to be one of the most talented bakers in Southern California. My diet and will power were being severely tested because I arrived to a table full of freshly-baked homemade scones, cookies, vegan truffles and freshly brewed coffee. My friend Elyssa was just doing what she does best…sharing her craft.
Chef David Martin is a chef’s chef. Helming the three kitchens at The Pacific Club, Newport’s luxurious members-only club, Martin not only understands the ever-changing food trends, but he makes it a point to never be trendy.
“It’s important to understand the trends and to grasp them so you can speak that language,” he says. “Since most of our members travel frequently to several different countries, they are acutely aware of all these new flavors. I want to adopt that in my cuisine. But you never want to be trendy.”
And forget about fusion food.
Chef Zov Karamardian’s passion for cooking began at a young age. When most girls start dabbling in fashion and makeup, Karamardian was glued to her television.
“Julia Child was my mentor,” she says. “Each day I would run home and watch her after school.”
As Karamardian became an adult, her passion for Julia Child did not wane. When the iconic chef embarked on a nationwide book tour, Karamardian took note.
Kristin Martin had taught school, grades 2 through 8, for 13 years and wanted to do something that would provide her more flexible hours to be with her children. Always an organizer and a spark plug for getting things done, she felt she wanted to do something for others that would make a difference. Thus, KM Productions was born.