Our Laguna: Weekend events include wine and a ball

Laguna Beach a la Carte was a tasty wine and food fest.

The four-day celebration showcased Laguna restaurants from March 8 to Sunday in an effort to promote the city as a foodie destination. It was hosted by the Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau.

On Saturday, Laguna Beach Uncorked! at the Festival of Arts was the signature event and a fundraiser for Children's Hospital of Orange County.

The event featured tastings from 25 eateries in our own backyard and 25 wineries from around the world, including the Laguna Canyon Winery. There was also beer from Cismontane Brewing Co. and sake provided by Ty Ku Sake.

"My favorites were the shrimp ceviche, gazpacho and s'mores prepared by Montage's Mosaic Bar and Grille and the salmon from Sapphire," said Sandy Hovanesian, one of the locals who attended the event, as well as the wine seminar by Peter Neptune that preceded it. Hovanesian said she also liked the generous servings of white wine at the La Playa booth.

Ara Hovanesian also liked Sapphire's salmon. The couple are regulars at the restaurant in the Old Pottery Place.

Friends of the Library President Martha Lydick voted for Royal Hawaiian's ahi poke, Tommy Bahama's tacos, 230 Forest's goat cheese brulee and the bananas foster bread pudding from House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer.

"It makes me want to go to the restaurants," Lydick said.

Other locals at the event included Mayor Jane Egly, Jim and Terri Johnson, Angie Miller, Mark and Miriam Singer and Laguna Playhouse Executive Director Karen Wood.

Everybody received a commemorative wine glass, one of those enormous goblets that wine is served in these days.

As for the wines poured, Lydick found the South African whites to her taste. Patsy Hadlich liked the Oregon whites, which she discovered on visits to her son and grandson.

Participating wineries included Axel, Beacon Hill, Belasco de Baquedano, Bernardus, Boekenhoutskloof, Chateau Montelena, Domaine Serene, Fairview, Famille Perrin, Frank Family Vineyards, Feudo Maccari, Hedges Family Estate, Louis Michel & Fils, Marques de Murrieta, Michele Chiralo, Neil Ellis, Nozzole, Pazo de Barrantes, Penfolds, Retour, Thompkin Cellars, Vincent Delaporte and Tres Sabores, whose chardonnay was delivered with VIP invitations to the event.

Tastes were served on "green" palm leaf bowls and plates by staffs from 230 Forest Avenue, The Beach House, Broadway by Amar Santana, Claes Ovation, Dizz's As Is, Eva's Caribbean Kitchen, French 75, Katsuya, Laguna Culinary Arts, Las Brisas, Mosaic Bar & Grille, Mozambique Steakhouse, Starfish, Sundried Tomato, Tabu Grill, Three Seventy Common Kitchen + Drink and Watermarc.

Other participating eateries also held special events, starting March 8 at the K'ya Bistro at the Rooftop Lounge of La Casa Del Camino, with tasting stations created by Chef Craig Connole.

On Saturday, Surf & Sand served up Executive Chef Jeff Armstrong's savory bites, specialty cocktails and sweets concocted by mixologist/pastry chef Ryan Velilla and samples of select beers and Chateau Ste. Michelle wines.

Sunday's events began with a Gospel Music and Champagne Brunch, presented by Laguna Beach Live! and featuring music by Yve Evans & Co. and wine by Domaine Ste. Michelle.

Nirvana Grill presented a chef's demonstration and cooking class from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and The Deck at Pacific Edge Hotel hosted a "mixologist" completion and noshes while guests watched a paddleboarding relay race.

The day wound up at the Studio at Montage Resort & Spa, starting with a champagne reception and Executive Chef Craig Strong's garden-inspired hors d'oeuvres, followed by a four-course tasting menu paired with wines from a local California winery.

The Coastline Pilot was among the sponsors of the event.


Legacy Ball

Laguna's seniors kicked up their heels March 9 at the sixth annual Legacy Ball, held at the Pelican Hill Resort on the Newport Coast.

"We had a fun evening, and we raised a lot of money," said Chris Quilter, president of Laguna Beach Seniors Inc. and a member of the event committee.

Preliminary figures show a net of $82,000, after subtracting $25,000 in expenses. The ratio of expense to gross meets the standard set by Al Roberts, founder of the AIDS Services Foundation, whom Quilter said taught him everything he knows about putting on an event.

Proceeds will benefit programs and services for Laguna's seniors and their families.

Mary Fegraus was the recipient of the 2012 Legacy Award, recognition of her decades of service to the city as a city planner; the founding executive director of the Laguna Canyon Foundation; a founding member and officer of the Laguna Beach Community Foundation; a board member of Laguna Greenbelt Inc.; and for her long-time dedication to Girls Scouts and the Laguna Beach Scholarship Foundation.

Fegraus received a standing ovation when she was introduced.

"This isn't my award; it is all of yours," Fegraus told the crowd. "Laguna is a tapestry, and I see so many of you here who have woven threads into the tapestry. The next generation will wonder how we ever did it."

The event included a live auction conducted by Bree Burgess Rosen.

Items included premium seats to an Angels game, donated by Kelly and Jim Mazzo; a week's stay at a Santa Fe retreat, donated by Cathy Fry; and tickets to a Lakers game and VIP parking, courtesy of Pam Horowitz. Debbie and George Meeker kicked in a ride in a Porsche race car. Pelican Hill Resort and Montage each contributed two-night stays to the auction.

There was also a silent auction, with 65 items ranging from hand-blown glass tumblers by John Barber to Burgess Rosen's 12 bottles of $12 wine for 12 friends, to Quilter Labs MicroPro 200 professional guitar amplifier.

Dance music was provided by the Riff Raff Vintage Swing Quartet.

Many of the guests wore vintage clothes or accessories.

Ann Quilter's sequined turquoise top and long satin skirt was from the 1960s. Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson wore a classic, floor-length, raspberry Halston. Kathy Burnham was glamorous in fur stole and Bob Burnham was dapper in black and white shoes. Louise Buckley wore her favorite purple.

Seniors Inc. board member Linda Butterwick chaired the event, assisted by Nadia Babayi, Christine Brewer, Buckley, Bea Field, Tina Haines, Maggie Hempen, Horowitz, Terri Johnson, Pauly Kotin, Meeker, Emily Quilter, Mary Sausen, Edie Tonkon, Phyllis Wilson and Lisa Wolter.

OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Call (949) 302-1469 or email coastlinepilot@latimes.com with Attn. Barbara Diamond in the subject line.

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