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ANN CONWAY

Creme de la Creme for John Tracy Clinic Supporters

October 26, 1989|ANN CONWAY

How does a football hero hang onto his drop-dead gorgeous frame?

Feasting with his eyes, that's how. Striding up to the dessert bar at John Dominis restaurant on Newport Bay, Jack Youngblood eyed the macadamia-nut-coated nougats, the chocolate mousse piled in praline cups, the chocolate truffles laced with Chambord--and that's all he did.

Figures. The former Los Angeles Rams defensive end looked so hourglass-trim he had fellow guests thinking twice about piling their plates with the treats dreamed up by chef Robert Reash Jr., formerly with the Hotel Hana Maui in Hawaii.

But dinner was another story. Youngblood, feasting recently on behalf of the Orange County Guild of the John Tracy Clinic, downed his meal with gusto.

On the menu: Pacific spiny lobster cooked two ways--first as medallions tossed with Hawaiian papaya and an Oriental vinaigrette, and then as a full lobster tail packaged in filo and paired with sea bass truffle mousse and (oh) black caviar butter sauce. (Grab a pencil. Reash shared his rather unspecific recipe for the heavenly butter sauce: Combine garlic, shallots, ginger, coriander, bay leaf, white wine, rice vinegar and chicken stock and reduce it way down. Add a touch of creme fraiche , some butter, a squeeze of lime, then float it with beluga caviar.) Welcome to the kickoff of the "Fresh Pacific Lobster Harvest Festival," a $150-per-person benefit that promises to be an annual affair at the Hawaiianesque hot spot (its sister restaurant is in Honolulu).

"We wanted to do something different for our supporters," said guild president Ardith Montgomery, noting that the group's primary fund-raiser is the annual Jack Youngblood celebrity golf tournament.

Festivities began at 7 p.m. with Domaine Mumm sparkling wine proffered to guests from silver trays as they cruised an appetizer buffet, the highlight of which was beluga caviar divvied up on toast points.

Dinner was accompanied by the smoky sounds of the Count Basie All-Star Band and wines provided by Sterling Vineyards: a 1987 sauvignon blanc and a 1987 estate Chardonnay.

On the scene: Dr. Jim Garrity, director of the John Tracy Clinic in Los Angeles (a support organization for hearing-impaired children founded by Mrs. Spencer Tracy in 1942 and named for her son); Roger and Patti VerSluis (a childhood friend of John Tracy and his sister, Susie); Lisa Flaxbeard, liaison between the clinic and the Orange County Guild; Michael McFadden, publisher of Orange County Magazine (a sponsor of the benefit along with Domaine Mumm and Sterling Vineyards); "General Hospital" star Joe Svezia; John Dominis manager George Kookootsedes, and Montgomery's husband, Jon, an executive vice president for Mercury Savings & Loan in Huntington Beach.

Not such a magical memory: You didn't have to go that far, Harriet--land yourself in a hospital just to prove it was a good one. Harriet Nelson, star of television's "Ozzie and Harriet" and a resident of Laguna Beach, was supposed to have been honored at the annual Winners Circle Charity Ball--"Magical Memories"--held Friday on behalf of South Coast Medical Center in Laguna Beach.

But last Wednesday, Nelson, 80, slipped on some freshly painted steps and landed on her back, fracturing her upper spine. (She's recovering at home.)

But the party (reluctantly) went on without her. About 250 guests gathered at the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point for a cocktail reception at 7 p.m., followed by a salute to Nelson for her longtime support of the hospital. Dinner featured potage of wild mushrooms, medallions of chicken and beef, a spring lamb chop and baked Alaska with caramel Kahlua sauce.

Nelson's dear friend, Grace Boyd (widow of William (Hopalong Cassidy) Boyd), accepted gifts of Waterford crystal in her honor.

Another highlight of the evening was the presentation of a $100,000 check by Don Beckenbaugh, president of the hospital's Winners Circle support group, to hospital president Mike Murray. The money will be used to complete the renovation of the hospital's medical/surgical floor.

Ball underwriters included Christine and Jeffrey Rhoades, Herbert Nootbaar, the Monarch Bank in Laguna Niguel and the Ritz-Carlton.

On the ball committee were Lynn and Larry Rider, Rice and Jan Brown, Marcia Beckenbaugh, Carole Bowman, John B. Lawson, Forrest Owen, Boots and Edward Ruppert and Joanne and Raymond Yusi.

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