The Crowd: An olive leaf for the New Year

In the Eastern Hemisphere, the Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year, Spring Festival, is the most important holiday occasion on the annual calendar. In Orange County, the Lunar New Year celebration, which begins Feb. 10, is being observed throughout the region with considerable excitement and hope for a healthy and prosperous 2013. For those unaware, the holiday is an occasion when red envelopes signifying good luck are often filled with money and presented to loved ones and friends in a symbolic gesture of good faith. Lunar New Year has also become an important occasion for our retail friends in the community, inasmuch as gift-giving is a significant aspect of marking the occasion.

Luxury retailer Tiffany & Co. has long been in the forefront of celebrating the Lunar New Year. This season, two of Tiffany & Co.'s most esteemed designers are presenting unique merchandise for the occasion. Elsa Peretti introduces a brilliant snake necklace to commemorate the Year of the Snake. The necklace has been called "provocative, a natural form in the Peretti style that reflects her unique take on modern design." The snake necklace in 18-karat gold will be on display at Tiffany & Co. South Coast Plaza as the frontispiece for the Lunar New Year collection 2013. Tiffany & Co.'s Paloma Picasso will also unveil her exquisite Olive Leaf design collection in-store at South Coast Plaza for an exclusive showing Feb. 11 through 15 under the supervision of store director Michael Botsko. The spectacular new collection has been "inspired by the cherished symbol of peace and abundance," which, of course, is the olive branch. The public is invited to stop in and take a peek.


Last month, organizers behind the Ocean Institute's annual fundraiser invited VIPs to a menu tasting at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort and Spa. The crowd was invited to sample delicacies at a culinary preview that began with passed canapés prepared by Chef Erasmo Rodriguez, representing the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa, along with fabulous hors d'oeuvres created by Chef Josef Lageder of the Balboa Bay Club & Resort. Dinner began with a cream of wild mushroom soup from Chef Frederic Castan of the St. Regis, followed by seared scallops prepared by Montage Laguna Beach Chef Rob Wilson and finally slow braised beef short ribs courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel and Chef Andres Jimenez.

The incredible dinner will be replicated Feb. 23 at the 2013 Ocean Institute Jazz Festival held at the group's headquarters in Dana Point. In addition, there will be two other nights of jazz on the 22nd and 24th, fronted once again by renowned trumpeter Rick Braun and a host of jazz talents, including saxophonist Richard Elliot and guitarist Peter White. Chairing the jazz event is Bob Beaulieu, representing Pacific Western Bank. Since it was launched in 2003, the jazz festival has raised more than $1 million in support of the Ocean Institute and all of its programs aimed at educating the public to become responsible stewards of our precious ocean environment. Ticket prices for the gala dinner begin at $500 per person and for the jazz evenings at $115 per person. To learn more and to make reservations, please go to or call Eileen Hayden at (949) 496-2274, Ext. 337.


With awards season in full swing, the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation will present "A Night at the Oscars" with Robert Kline. The newly refurbished Port Theater in Corona del Mar will be the setting for the Feb. 20 event featuring the return of producer and director Kline speaking on the nominations for the 2013 Oscar categories. The evening will include a wine, champagne and hors d'oeuvres reception prior to Kline's program, which will be interspersed with film clips from all of the nominated Oscar contenders. Kline, a co-founder of Lifetime Television and former executive vice president at 20th Century Fox, is also credited as the producer of Oliver Stone's acclaimed film, "Heaven & Earth." Tickets to the event are priced at $75 for general admission and $60 for Library Foundation members. To make a reservation, go to or call (949) 548-2411.

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

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