What could be more enticing and even romantic than a walk on the beach one evening while sipping a glass of nice wine and snacking on a savory treat from a famous chef. Stop at a fire pit to toast some marshmallows...and greet a host of friends who are also there for a very good cause. Yes, come August 7th, Thursday evening, I will be at the Jonathan Club (850 Palisades Beach Rd.) in Santa Monica at the 5th Annual Wolfgang Puck Beach Party for St. Vincent's MEALS ON WHEELS. Actually, this is a continuation of an event which began some 40 years ago, when Chef Wolfgang Puck and then-wife Barbara Lazaroff did a charity event in the parking lot of the original Spago on Sunset Blvd. I was there....and first met Sister Sam, the charming nun from St. Vincent's who had conceived the idea of "Meals on Wheels" to feed senior citizens who had no sure source of a decent nutritious meal each day. (Wolf told me that they lost so many pieces of silver than night that he ended up losing money_....but for many years it was a steadfast money-raiser for a terrific, important cause. Life went on, and changes necessitated a different venue and sponsor. But the need never abated, and Sister Sam is still here working the crowd and thanking all the participants for the event. Wolf, looking trim and fit, will greet everyone who comes to the Jonathan Club. (To reach it, take Ocean Avenue to the Incline road leading down to Pacific Coast Highway, go to the first traffic light and turn left into the Jonathan Club parking lot. There is complimentary parking in the North and South lots if the club.) Tickets cost $160 a person, and its worth every penny....for the cause and the fun of the evening. Some two dozen famous chefs from 19 restaurants will be here offering up savory treats, a similar number (21) of vintners and spirits companies will be serving wine and cocktails, and there will be music supplied by the very popular 10-piece band in the sand, Hi Rize. The two noted chefs from Salt Cure, Zac and Chris, will arrive early in the day and begin smoking the whole pig from ReRide Hog Ranch which will feed a lot of hungry guests. As always, I will arrive early with my friends and take off our shoes to leave them in the car. I will head for the Justin Wine booth for a glass of my favorite Justification and then will wander around greeting so many chef friends. Event Planner Joan Wrede told me that I will see Gino Angelini there, and I hope he will have a pan of his luscious lasagna (always go for the corner, with its crust). My old friend Sally Camacho, pastry chef at the Jonathan Club, formerly of Wolf's WP 24, will have prepared a raft of sweet treats for when I am ready for dessert. Joan told me that Urbana Truffles has agreed to provide yummy truffles for their delicious Di Stefano Burrata with Black Truffles. Jordan Catapano, "That Girl Walked into a Bar", will again preside over the Chopin and No. 209 Martini Bar, complete with Petrossian caviar olives stuffed by hand. Joan mentioned that Fresh Point of Southern California would be supplying to the chefs all fruits and vegetables needed for the event. Some of the chefs present will be: Jonathan Eng, Evan Funke, Jonathan Grahm, Alec Lester, Thomas Lim, Jason McClain, Dahlia Narvaez, Mimmo Di Stefano, Lincoln Carson, Dustin Taylor, Genevieve Gergas, Loteria's Jim Shaw, O'Shaughnessy with his Napa cab, Jason Travi, Micah Wexler (from that hot downtown Jewish deli at the Grand Central Market.) Hugo Bolanos, the exec chef at Wolfgang Puck at he Hotel Bel Air Restaurant, will be here (serving his famous S'Mores at 8 pm), as well as the new Terranea Chef Bruce Nugyen. Ray England from Craft will be accompanied by his pastry chef, Shannon Swindle. And here's a biggie: you will have a chance to greet and meet Walter Manske and wife Margarita, from the very, very hot Republique. The former great chef from that same site, Mark Peel of Campanile, will be here to bring us up to date on his current activities. I expect to meet many guests from the Food Network/Cooking Channel, as well as folks from Accenture, Audi, Southern Cal Gas.
Sister Sam told me that every $7.87 raised will supply one meal for a hungry senior. As an always-hungry senior, I was impressed by that. As I said, a great evening for a great cause. So wriggle your toes in the sand and hope for a full moon. See you there.
To subscribe to Jay Weston's Restaurant Newletter ($70 for twelve monthly issues) email him at firstname.lastname@example.org