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
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
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
"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
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.