The Crowd: Celebrating the Year of the Dragon

Celebrating in great style the Chinese New Year 4710, the Year of the Water Dragon, hostess Elizabeth An of AnQi in South Coast Plaza invited some 50 local VIPs to a luncheon in her private dining room.

An was joined by David Grant and Werner Escher of South Coast Plaza hosting the affair at a spectacular banquet table. It was festooned with multiple arrangements of red blossoms, all symbolizing good luck in the coming year.

Dining publicist to the stars Lee Healy greeted arriving patrons, including the local legend Gloria Zigner prior to luncheon service, which consisted of four courses, each designed to bless the Year of the Water Dragon with good fortune. Escher, South Coast Plaza's tsar of international travel and culture, toasted the crowd with sake, joined by hostess An and her husband Gordon Clure explaining the meaning of each course.

"The first course is all about the sky," offered An, sharing that the food selection — including long life Somen noodles, quail egg and shredded bamboo — is meant to bring health and longevity.

"The second course is a trio of crispy salt and pepper lobster tail (dragon food), chicken oyster and wagyu beef carpaccio, which symbolizes richness and abundance," she continued.

The third course was the water selection, which featured crispy Barramundi to bring wealth and prosperity. Sweet red sticky rice over tangerine custard for dessert capped the amazing meal simply meant to bring overall good luck.


Friends and family are wishing newlyweds Gregson Hall and Dalita MacNeil the best of luck. The handsome couple married this month in a civil ceremony at the Old Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana.

A second union for both, the pair have dated for many years and have enjoyed the good life together on the Newport waterfront. Dalita is the daughter of Newport jeweler Mardo and Seyda Ayvazyan and Gregson is the son of Orange County entrepreneur and Emerald Bay residents Bob Hall and his elegant wife Nadine, both very active in philanthropic circles.

The bride's sister, Sheila Melillo, stood up for the couple, joined by close friends John and Anne Wortmann of Lido Isle.

Their wedding luncheon was at the First Cabin Restaurant in the Balboa Bay Club, and then a week later came a dinner celebration at 21 Oceanfront hosted by the bride's parents. The bride looked smashing in a chic white suit by Yves Saint Laurent.

The couple plan a honeymoon trip to Istanbul, Turkey, for Valentine's Day and then a major reception in the spring to be hosted by the groom's parents at their Palm Desert estate.


Doug McCrea and prestigious Deutsche Bank's wealth management division will host an important financial presentation Feb. 1, welcoming respected investment strategist Larry Adam. They are calling the evening event, which will unfold at the Balboa Bay Club & Resort, "Ten Topics for 2012."

Adam will explore portfolio strategies for the coming year. Often seen on television on CNBC, Fox and Bloomberg, Adam is also a regular contributor to financial publications including The Wall Street Journal, Barron's and the International Herald Tribune.


Recently, the festival of Children's Foundation led by philanthropic Sandra Segerstrom Daniels hosted an event for some 450 homeless O.C. kids from various local shelters. The big thrill of the event was a surprise appearance by super-star actress and singer Miley Cyrus.

The upbeat event enjoyed the support of local organizations including The Young Presidents, Athletes First and The Happiness Project. Also on hand was the iconic Hello Kitty, who appeared courtesy of the Sanrio store at South Coast Plaza.

Cyrus was over the moon, commenting, "I've fulfilled one of my dreams — actually getting to meet Hello Kitty."

The hundreds of local kids no doubt felt the same about getting to meet Miley.

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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