Nancy Clayton has already emptied her dining room. In honor of Super Bowl Sunday, she has replaced her table, chairs and carpet with a 40-inch TV, AstroTurf and bleachers.
In many parts of Orange County, Super Bowl Sunday is a social occasion. People dust off their television sets, concoct exotic dishes and invite friends over to watch the game. Most parties will be casual, but none haphazard. Rather than set out chili and chips, large numbers of local party-givers hire caterers or fly in culinary favorites from gourmet capitals of the country.
Why do they do it? "As my husband says, 'Any excuse for a party,' " said Clayton, who expects between 100 and 120 guests to pile into her Newport Beach home for this particular party.
Long Guest List
For the Claytons and others, Super Bowl XXI is simply another reason to invite friends, family and business associates for a get-together. With Nancy active in the Assistance League's Junior Auxiliary and Jim, a partner in Clayton, Williams & Sherwood in Newport Beach, the nation's largest mobile home park owner, the guest list is long indeed.
Expected from Newport Beach alone are Dr. and Mrs. Michael Schlutz, Dominique and attorney Jeffrey Howard, mortgage broker Wayne Caffey with wife Candy, Ted and Mary Jean Simpkins, Carol and Rich Hoppe, Alexandra Uhl, attorney Michael Gering with wife Vicki, Larry and Sue Warner, Cathy Grant, Chris and Laurie Veitch, Lori Curtis with husband Paul, a coach from Huntington Beach High School, and Steve Sherwood. Nancy Clayton's parents, Martha and John Berry, hopped a jet from San Antonio, Tex., to be on hand.
The cuisine will be casual--hamburgers, hot dogs and Orange Crush highlighting the fare. But the party will not be tossed together. "When we do hot dogs, we do knockwurst," said David Stephens, director of Hemingway's Catering, the firm engaged for the event.
Raffle of Football
The caterer will also construct a goal post from Super Bowl-colored balloons, dot the house with football helmets and outfit his staff of 11 in football jerseys and helmets. "We've even found an actual Super Bowl football for the Claytons to raffle off," Stephens said.
By comparison, Dick Braeger will host an intimate affair. The owner of Fashion Island's Garys & Co., Braeger has invited 25 people to join him, son John and daughter Kari at his Dover Shores home. Not that he dislikes large parties. He simply felt that the occasion didn't warrant an overflow crowd.
"You can't have too big a Super Bowl party because it would be too hard for everyone to cram in," he said. "Even though we have a pretty good size den and a 40-inch TV, you still want to watch the game." Braeger said that at scalper's ticket prices, tossing a party is cheaper than going to the game. "I figured that at $1,000 to $1,500 a ticket on the 20- to 50-yard line, I could have the party catered," he said. But in point of fact, Braeger's caterer will supply the hors d'oeuvres only. He said that a guest, Shirley Anderton, promised to supply "Chasen's chili," her own version of the restaurant's famous dish.
In Braeger's case, the guest list may be small, but it's an interesting one. Included are Olympics torchbearer Rafer Johnson and his wife, Betsy. Among the locals are Lido Isle's Sherry Pheister; Connie and Jim Forbes of Newport Beach; Balboa Island's Carol Ziegler, the interior designer for Braeger's home, boat and men's boutique, and Larry Bryan, a former USFL scout.
"He (Bryan) knows lots about the players, so we all drive him crazy with questions," said Braeger.
Los Angeles will be represented by Susan and Richard Borun (he's from the founding family of Thrifty Drugs), and Wendy and Union Bank VP Hal Greene. Randy and Kathy Price, visiting from Texas, also will attend.
Tailgate Party Tradition
Across county in Placentia, the menu will distinguish the Super Bowl shindig to be held by Tere Garrido and husband Augie, Cal State Fullerton's baseball coach. The couple missed their annual Rams-New Orleans game tailgate party at Anaheim Stadium this year. "It's always in preferred parking, first row," Tere said. So Cajun cuisine, ordinarily their tailgate party tradition, will be served Sunday. Shellfish gumbo and shrimp boil will be on the menu, along with oysters and crayfish flown in from the restaurant La Louisianne in New Orleans. With television sets in every room, including one with a 50-inch screen, the Garridos are expecting 50 guests, among them from Newport Beach, former football pro Paul Salata, sports agent Michael Watkins with his wife, Jill; Dr. Joe Triggs; Pete Donovan and Cal State Fullerton's football coach Gene Murphy from Fullerton; Vic and Susie Boyd from Orange, and Anaheim's Tony Sigalos.
Not all parties take such planning, however. On Tuesday Gini Valley said that she and husband Kent, a partner in Majestic Realty, were still getting their bash organized.
Still, preparations must be made. Valley said her pear brandy spice cake takes three days to marinate and her mother's homemade kielbasa sausage must be flown in New Jersey, one-day-air, on dry ice.
The party is the Newport Beach couple's yearly custom, as is their Fourth of July fete and boat parade bash. It is also the most casual of the three. "I don't mind the throw-the-peanuts-on-the-floor routine for this one," Valley said.