R S V P / ORANGE COUNTY : Christmas Glitter, Glamour Do Brunch

“Salmon eggs Benedict or traditional eggs Benedict?”

That was about as tough as the questions got for guests who attended the Red Cross brunch staged at 21 Oceanfront (formerly the Rex) in Newport Beach on Sunday.

Waiters and waitresses hovered near brunch-goers such as Red Cross Board Chairman Donald Karcher and his wife, Dolly, making sure that their eggs were hot, their orange juice chilled and their champagne flutes filled to the brim. Restaurant booths were crammed with folks sporting holiday finery. (No doubt about it, this is society’s favorite spot to unwind before the Big Day.)

Overseeing the seventh annual event--where the food and service are donated--was restaurateur Rex Chandler and his wife, Susan. “We’re ecstatic today,” said Chandler, whose new Rex restaurant in Fashion Island has become the place to dine in Newport Beach. “The weather is beautiful and the reservation list is long.”


As guests enjoyed a first course of fresh fruit and croissants “Santa’s little helpers” (little girls smartly dressed for Christmas) sold Red Cross sweat shirts, enabling brunch proceeds to hit the $50,000 mark.

Besides helping the needy, the local chapter of the Red Cross is the primary source for emergency communication between military personnel and their families, said chapter director George Chitty.

Last year, the local chapter provided 28,398 meals for needy families.

Speaking of the Rex: The new Rex at Fashion Island was the site of the recent Christmas luncheon staged by the Sophisticates, a support group of the Assessment and Treatment Services Center (ATSC). What made this get-together super-hot was that it launched lunch at the Rex, giving the in-crowd yet another chic, daytime place to be seen.

Among items on the menu are Thai chicken salad; a lobster sandwich (hint: order this biggie to split with a buddy) and a French dip sandwich (for sandwich-classic lovers, says owner Rex Chandler).

ATSC--whose motto is “arrest the problem, not the child"--provides troubled juveniles with professional counseling. After an initial assessment, a specific treatment is designed to help keep the juvenile out of the criminal justice system. Also on the Rex calendar is a luncheon-auction for ATSC on Jan. 19 marking the opening of the new Lahaina Gallery at Fashion Island. Lahaina artist Gary Swanson plans to attend.

Mark your calendar: The Orange County Juvenile Correction Program will be the beneficiary of a Super Bowl party Jan. 27 at the Santa Ana Heights mansion of Donna and John Crean. Celebrity guests are on the agenda, and hamburgers and hot dogs will be served. Tickets are $150 per person with proceeds expected to reach $50,000. They’re calling the spot where the event will be held (John Crean’s workshop) the “Creandome.” What else?