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Ann Conway

A Good Meal to Start the 'Morning'

September 07, 1993|Ann Conway

Problem: How to please a herd of party-goers after a long, hot workday.

Solution: Feed them alfresco-style near a gushing fountain, then send them into a cool theater to watch one of the wittiest plays ever written.

And, lest they start to fade, serve them French roast coffee, chocolate-dipped strawberries and Kahlua cheesecake squares during intermission.

"Morning's at Seven"--a wry tale of small-town life written in 1939 by Paul Osborn--was the centerpiece of a fund-raiser for Olive Crest Treatment Centers for Abused Children on Thursday night at South Coast Repertory. Kaiser Permanente and SCR were co-sponsors. (For the third consecutive year, KP has donated $25,000 to help underwrite SCR's season-opening Mainstage production.)

Olive Crest, which has 23 shelters in Orange County, is a nonprofit corporation that provides family services for abused children.

After guests filed into the SCR courtyard, they grazed on a groaning board of dishes whipped up by Upper Crust catering. For starters, a French-themed food station featured tender chicken-breast strips served with sauces such as raspberry Chambord, Dijon mustard and Thai peanut.

A California buffet offered crab cakes with avocado salsa, blackened salmon with dill sauce and a salad of artichokes, hearts of palm and baby mushrooms.

At the Southwest barbecue station, guests heaped their plates with marinated flank steak and grilled baby potatoes.

And there was more. The Italian buffet featured a trio of pastas--bow-tie with baby clams and basil, tortellini with tomato basil sauce and tricolor tortellini with veal and lemon caper sauce.

Overheard: "Where's the Stair Master?"

Thirst-quenchers included wines and soft drinks.

When guests were seated in the theater, Jerry McCall, a hospital administrator for Kaiser Permanente, presented Olive Crest Chairman Darrel Anderson with a check for $5,000.

"Thank you . . . so many things are made possible for the children on a night like this," Anderson said.

Also among guests: "Morning's at Seven" director Martin Benson; Dr. Ken Bell; Cathy Cook; David Cox; Betty Negrete and Dan Yancy.

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