Lobster and cigars for a good cause

It was the ultimate men's night out.

In a tradition inherited from the ages, Balboa Bay Club president

Henry Schielein rallied gents from far and near to partake in his

annual "Summer Smoker" and lobster clambake on the sand fronting the

Newport Harbor's main channel.

It was the 11th such affair for Schielein during his reign as

major domo of the legendary Newport Beach institution. In a written

statement, Schielein invited his guests "to share in a special

camaraderie experienced when we gather amongst friends to delight in

fine cuisine, superb champagne, great wines, outstanding spirits and

wonderful cigars."

The evening lived up to Schielein's promise. A sold-out crowd of

140 men, dressed in navy blue blazers and white slacks, paid a

minimum of $250 to join the celebration.

The fraternity party ultimately raised $40,000 for the 1221

Scholarship Fund, a charitable arm of the Balboa Bay Club that makes

annual grants to be used as college funds by deserving Newport-Mesa

high school graduates.

"A considerable portion of the 1221 funds came from our silent and

live auction," Schielein said.

Among the big ticket items were a rare bottle of Remy Martin Louis

XIII Grand Champagne Cognac, valued at $1,400; dinner for eight with

wine at The Arches Restaurant in Newport Beach, donated by proprietor

Dan Marcheano and valued at $4,500; and a personalized portrait in

the style of Michael Bryan's "The Big Smoker," created by Bryan

himself and valued at $2,100.

All of the items were bid on and purchased by an appreciative

audience that included Gary Gray, Phil Cohen, Kirk Dawson, Ron Gold,

Walter Havehorst III, Lynn Jackson and Dan Lampkin. Also joining the

festivities were Jeff Miller, Ira Rosenstein, Steve Van Valkenberg,

Chris Von Imhof and Scott Worthington.

The event began at dusk with an hors d'oeuvres reception,

featuring fresh oysters and beef tartare prepared tableside. Waiters

poured Champagne Pommery, and guests could also make selections from

a Corazon Tequila bar, a martini bar and another open bar featuring

every rare brand of Scotch known to mankind.

In addition to local guests and dignitaries, Schielein invited

hoteliers and restaurateurs from all over the western United States.

Among the visiting VIPs were Seamus McManus of Calistoga Ranch in

Northern California, Bill Nassikas of the Sanctuary at Camelback in

Scottsdale, Ariz., and Paul Zuest of the famous Campton Place Hotel

in San Francisco.

Dinner service began with baked escargot en cocotte, paired with

Drylands Sauvignon Blanc 2004 from Malborough, New Zealand. A salad

of summer greens with roasted tomatoes and artichokes followed.

Acacia Chardonnay 2003 from Carneros was the wine accompanying the

salad.

The main course consisted of fresh seaweed-steamed Maine lobster

paired with a mesquite-grilled filet mignon. Newport's celebrated

wine expert and vintner Ted Simpkins donated some of his exclusive

Lancaster Estate 2001, a red wine from his Alexander Valley vineyard.

For dessert, Chef Josef Lagader and staff served profiteroles with

vanilla-bean ice cream in a creme Chantilly and bittersweet chocolate

sauce. It was, to be sure, the ultimate indulgence -- a

gastronomic Super Bowl.

If that wasn't enough, the evening was, after all, about cigars.

Schielein also happens to be an international ambassador of the

smoking leaf.

"Cigar smoking is a centuries-old indulgence. There is history

behind the practice," said Schielein. "When I remember my father, he

always had a cigar in his mouth. The smell of the cigar is attached

to this memory for me."

A display of the world's best cigars was offered to dinner

patrons. Among the exclusive brands: Ashton Aged Maduro No. 50, Don

Antonio Pellegrino-Churchill, Don Lino Africa, Hoyo de Monterrey

Excalibur No. J, La Aroma de Cuba-Churchill, and Bering Dominican

Presidente, to name only a few.

In no time the crowd of 140 was puffing, filling the air with

aromatic smoke.

It was a night of fraternal friendship, combined with a little bit

of business and back-slapping, plus plenty of payback for the

vendors, hoteliers and restaurateurs who have worked with Schielein

during a 50-year career in hospitality.

It was also a night to raise funds for a future generation,

abandoning politically correct rules in favor of traditions of a

glorious and not-yet-forgotten past.

Also supporting Schielein's 11th annual event and raising funds

for the scholarship fund were David Banta, Anthony Curci, Bob Howard,

Richard Luehrs, Chris MacDonald, Danny Thomas, Mike Russell, Bob

Waltos and John Wortmann.

* EDITOR'S NOTE: B.W. Cook is the editor of The Bay Window, the

Balboa Bay Club's official publication.

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