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ANN CONWAY

For Benefit, It's a Change of Place

December 25, 1991|ANN CONWAY

Some things almost never change. It was the same cause and same hosts on Sunday at the annual holiday brunch staged by Rex and Susan Chandler that benefits the Orange Countychapter of the American Red Cross.

But the location was different. Instead of 21 Oceanfront (formerly the Rex), guests dined on smoked salmon eggs Benedict and tossed downed bubbly at the new Rex at Newport Center Fashion Island.

Virgina Knott Bender, for one, was missing the old locale with its sparkling ocean view and tiered red booths.

"It was tradition," said Bender, who sat with her husband, Paul, and table hosts Mary Ann and Lon Wells (who brought 46 guests to the brunch). "But this place is wonderful too."

If you sat at the bar, you could see the ocean. And that's what the Chandlers' son, Tyler, 3, chose to do. (With a little help from mum.)

"He'll have a smoothie," ordered Susan Chandler.

"A smoothie? What's that?" said the bartender, shaking his head. Susan explained it was a healthy mixture of fruits and milk that children love. After a few whirs of the blender, Tyler was sipping away contentedly, enjoying the best view in the room.

Proceeds from the event, attended by about 200 guests, were estimated at $10,000.

Life goes on: Mary Roosevelt staged an early Christmas celebration on Monday for family and friends. The holiday came early for the widow of James Roosevelt because she wanted to celebrate her late husband's birthday, Dec. 23.

"Jim would have wanted us to have a good time," Mary said. "So we had turkey and the trimmings."

Joseph Wambaugh's new book: When Judie and Carmelo Manto of Newport Beach dined with good friends Dee and Joseph Wambaugh in Palm Springs recently, they received a surprise holiday gift--a copy of Wambaugh's new book, "Fugitive Knights," which is coming out in February.

"One character sounds like he's the current mayor of Palm Springs," says Judie, who notes the novel is set in Palm Springs.

It was Wambaugh who penned the bestseller "The Golden Orange," a novel that chronicled the glitz and pits of high living in Newport Beach, where Wambaugh once lived. He now divides his time between the Rancho Santa Fe and Palm Springs areas.

Jokingly, Wambaugh inscribed his gift to the Mantos with these words: "The last one drove me out of Newport Beach. After this one, it's adios Palm Springs. Have a cool Yule."

Judie and Carmelo Manto will spend Christmas Day with their daughters, Teri, and Dani (and Dani's boyfriend, John Clark Gable. Yes, he's the son of Clark Gable). The handsome couple will come from Malibu to dine on turkey and the works, says Judie.

What, no Italian fare on Christmas? (The Mantos own the popular Carmelo's restaurant in Corona del Mar.)

"On Thanksgiving and Christmas we always go all-American," Judie said.

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