Chit Chat From Here and There

After an incredible Thanksgiving celebration with my kids and grandkids in Northern California, I flew back into town Monday just as day was turning into night.

What a sight it was to behold as the airplane leveled out for its landing in Burbank. Lights of all colors were sparkling from houses far below us. The jolly elves were very busy in just one week's time as they readied the Los Angeles basin for the joyful Christmas season that is just unfolding.

I hope that your Thanksgiving celebrations were good ones and that you have found plenty of recipes to camouflage that left over turkey and trimmings are its main ingredients.

As I got my suitcase packed to come home, I could smell the wonderful aroma of turkey soup bubbling on my daughter-in-law's stove. By the looks of the size of the pot she was using, they will be having turkey soup for months to come.

One disappointing thing about going away for the annual feast means that I don't have those leftovers. Right now I would love to have a turkey sandwich, a savory bit of dressing and some cranberry sauce smeared over it all!


Enough turkey dreaming - it is time to get back to work and catch up on social happenings.

The Los Angeles Master Chorale always creates a fabulous theme for its annual fund-raising gala. This year was no exception, but then with a theme of, "Scheherazade Ball" how could you miss. The mind can conjure all sorts of exotic vignettes of intrigue, mystique and fantasy.

The elegant downtown California Club was the setting for the black-tie event that raised $335,000. The theme was based on the 300th anniversary of the European translation of "1001 Arabian Nights." More than 200 guests were eager to experience a night straight out of the Moorish Empire.

The evening unfolded with twists and surprises as remarkable as those in the dazzling stories told by the book's legendary storyteller, Scheherazade - tales of magical transformation, genies and wishes, flying carpets and fantastical journeys.

Before guests were summoned to dinner, the beautiful belly dancer, Tamara Henna, dressed in a diaphanous costume encrusted with jewels, told her own exotic tale as her body undulated to an ancient rhythm.

Another highlight of the evening was the Chorale's trademark "surround sing," where guests were serenaded as they entered the dining room under the direction of music director and conductor Grant Gershon.

The dinner was a three-course feast fit for a sultan. Reflecting the tastes of the Moorish Empire, the menu, created by the California Club's executive chef, Jean-Marc Weber, included braised white sea bass with oxtail ravioli, double-cit lamb chops with orzo pasta and grilled vegetable medley. The dessert was a warm valrhona chocolate molten cake with chantilly cream.

The table centerpieces, created by C.J. Matsumoto combined flowers, leave and peacock feathers inspired by the blazing hot days of the Orientalists world juxtaposed against the cool greens of the oasis.

Live and silent auctions enticed bidders to win fantastic items such as a spectacular Mongolian chest, a stay in a private Scottish manor, a trip to France and an evening at Patina's Chef's Table, including paired wines and limousine transportation.

Ball patrons received a personalized, signed copy of "The Orientalists" by Kristian Davies. The beautiful book pursues the richest era of the "Oriental" fascination, from the mid to late 19th century, when American and European artists traveled and painted throughout the Holy Land and India.

There are many singers from the foothill area that are members of this premiere choir whose home is Disney Hall. Among our singers are Linda Sauer, Diane Thomas, Beata Balon, Sal Malaki, Helene Quintana, Samela and Mark Beasom, Gloria Senghee Kim, Michelle Fournier, Jody Golightly, Anita Nardine and Holly Price Rustuccia.

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