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BENEFITS : Red Cross Volunteers Use Their Noodles to Cook Up Day of Pasta

October 15, 1992|MAX JACOBSON | Max Jacobson is a free-lance writer who reviews restaurants weekly for The Times Orange County Edition.

Load up on those complex carbos and help the Youth Services of the Orange County Chapter of the American Red Cross at the same time when you attend PastaFest '92, scheduled for Sunday at Irvine's Wild River Water Park.

This event differs from most food-oriented festivals in that the cuisine will be supplied almost exclusively by Italian restaurants, other than the odd bit of French pastry and cappuccino for dessert.

Eleven local restaurants are participating with their own toothsome pasta creations, well-known names such as Bina's, Amici, Rumari by the Sea and Sweet Basil Trattoria, not to mention sausage sandwiches from Villa Roma. Throw in a sauce competition, live jazz and a children's play area, and it all adds up to good family fun for a worthy cause.

More than 2,600 local youngsters each year offer their services free to the local Red Cross through projects from toy distribution at holiday time to emergency disaster relief. Hurricanes Andrew on the East Coast and Iniki on the island of Kauai have severely impacted the overall funding for this worthy organization, so you can feel good about feeling good when you attend the party.

Besides, it should be big-time fun. For kids, there will be a play area featuring noodle art sponsored by a donation of little do-it-yourself kits from the Olive Garden (you know, stuff to make necklaces, to paste pastas to paper--even, perhaps, to help glue odd shapes like rotelle and radiatore into some sort of post-modern sculpture), face painting, an Astrojump balloon that kids can walk through plus jugglers and clowns.

Adults can look forward to a beer garden, a barber shop quartet called the Leisure Tones and contemporary jazz band Joyspring, not to mention the Orange Coast College Big Band and a Long Beach folk-rock group with the auspicious name of Soul Food Pizza.

Entertainment, including all children's activities, is included with the $7 admission price (children under 12 get in free). Food and drink items can be purchased using scrip that sells for $1 apiece.

You won't find pizza, but a few dishes you will find: light, refreshing pasta primavera from Bina of Santa Ana; creamy, pancetta-infused pasta carbonara from Massimo Navaretta's Amici in Costa Mesa; linguine sweet basil from (who else?) Irvine's Sweet Basil Trattoria; pastas with a variety of sauces ranging from marinara and Alfredo to Fra-Diablo (a spicy red sauce) from Peppino's in Irvine and pasta fagioli, southern Italy's traditional bean and pasta soup, from Anaheim's Mama Cozza's.

At 2 p.m., each of the participating restaurants will have its sauces judged by a celebrity panel of local personalities and chefs. Because without a good sauce, pasta is, let's face it, just pasta.

What: PastaFest '92.

When: Sunday, Oct. 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Wild Rivers Water Park, next to Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre on Irvine Center Drive, Irvine.

Whereabouts: San Diego (405) Freeway to Irvine Center Drive exit. Turn left at the end of the ramp if you're coming from the south, right if you're coming from the north.

Wherewithal: Tickets are $7 for adults, children under 12 admitted free. (You get three pieces of scrip with admission fee; food items cost one to three pieces of scrip each.)

Where to call: For information, (714) 859-8188, ext. 493; for tickets, (714) 740-2000 (Ticketron).

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