Week In Review
This past weekend was so much more than I expected. A plethora of Events that spanned one end of the spectrum to another. From Polo to Fashion and Tigers and Fare, it was nothing short of wonderful.
OC Polo Club, Style Week OC, Sunday FUNday, and Le Pain Quotidien.
I have always been fascinated by the beauty of Equestrian sport and Polo is an age-old Sport that incites both elegance and grace with athleticism and style. I was invited by the wonderful Bo and Chris Karp to enjoy the 1st ever OC Polo Women’s Tournament in Coto de Caza this past Friday that was to benefit the Breast Cancer Foundation. When I invited, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Upon arriving what I found were a group of people who not only embraced me but offered me wine, their homemade, home-cooked fare, and conversation that was personal and beyond intriguing. I met some of the most well educated, high society, lovely human beings and it was truthfully, a highly unexpected night of enlightenment and fun.
For those unfamiliar with the sport, here is a little rundown of what Polo really is: In the equestrian sport of polo the object of the game is to move the polo ball down-field, hitting it through the goal for a score. Polo is an equestrian team sport, usually played outdoors, with four polo players on each team. A polo field is 300 yards long and 160 yards wide, the largest field in organized sport. A polo match lasts about two hours and is divided into 6 timed periods called chukkers.
What is it like to play polo? Imagine a ball hit so hard that it comes at you at a speed of 110 miles per hour, so fast, you can hardly see it. Your job is to stay at a gallop, get your polo pony in line with the ball, and either pass it ahead to a teammate, or carry the ball down the field for an attempt at goal. [sam id="7" codes="true"]
At this particular match, the OC Polo Players were all Female with the exception of one and each player played with heart and athleticism. It’s quite a sport to spectate. It is exciting and active and incredibly graceful. After watching the match unfold, once half-time arrived, the entertainment was to be a Dog Race. The locals brought their dogs to compete against one another with little tiny “Toy Jockeys” attached to their backs. It was very entertaining! The event helped raise money for Breast Cancer survivors and research, in addition to having a raffle that had some rather extraordinary prizes including a weekend retreat at The Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel and dinner at Chef Richard Sandavol’s restaurant, Raya. There was music by Julie Gribble and Food prepared by Texas Pit BBQ.
I feel honored to have been able to be a part of such a wonderful Event and can now officially say I’m a fan of Equestrian Polo.
While my week started the Opening Day with my daughter doing the Young World Runway Show, I was able to see 3 of the 5 Runway Shows at Newport Beach Fashion Island brought to you by the fabulous Riviera Magazine, StyleWeek OC, and Various Designer lines carried at Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus.
The 1st Show I attended was Young World Fashion Show. I was personally overjoyed to attend this Event as my daughter was one of the young Models. Each young fashionista walked the Runway featuring Bloomingdale’s back-to-school looks from the Young World Department including Burberry, Ella Moss, Splendid and Aqua. Each look was fun and playful, some wearable; some occasional but there was a multitude of color and playfulness including Harijuku and Juicy Couture accessories.
The 2nd Show I attended was the Contemporary Chic fashion show, a multi-store preview of the latest must have looks. Jack Spade, Ella Moss, Earnest Sewn, Neiman Marcus and more will present the latest must-have ready to wear fashions. The preview was geared towards a young adult audience – those beginning their fashion journey with style and poise and an air of budding sophistication.
The 3rd Show was the Going Out in Style finale: Style Week OC comes to a close with an exclusive collection of cocktail and evening wear looks from Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Elie Tahari, Vince and other fashion favorites. The night was to begin with cocktails at Nieman Marcus but for whatever reason, the cocktail hour was canceled at the last minute. The Collection put on by some wonderful designers, including American Rag, was a clear indication that Fashion has taken a much needed cue from the past – designs and lines, colors and movement were directly influenced from distinct eras of the 1940s-1960s with a subtle influence of 70s and 80s. My choice pick was an Emerald Green dress that just had Rita Hayworth written all over it – not literally – just that air of sensual elegance that every woman should identify with.
I have to thank the fantastic Jane Gillespie for everything she does to make these Events come together – she’s a rockstar!
Rancho Las Lomas: As you all know, I am a HUGE fan of a private Estate owned by my friends, the lovely Jeannie Lawrence and her son, Brett Lawrence. You can read about the property on the Featured Property Post but this past Sunday was a truly Special day! Jeannie and Brett opened the property up and shared their Zoo with the public! A beautifully orchestrated Event that had animal education stations setup throughout, games, face painting, delicious food catered by 24Carrot Catering, a live DJ, beer, wine, and a full bar, and of course the feature presentation of their impressive in-house animals. Sunday FUNday featured such a variety of animal species it’s no wonder every single guest was in awe. Animals included White Bengal Tigers, Orange Bengal Tigers, Zebras, Alpacas, Serval, Caracals, Lynx , Macaws, Parrots, Bald Eagle, Hawks, Owls, Ducks, Koi Fish, Turtles, Reptiles, And a Golden Retriever (she is JUST as special, trust me on that!).
Brett Lawrence had an idea and he not only executed it, he created a day so many people enjoyed, including the little ones who were fascinated with every animal they came across. I also got to see the newly renovated and completed the two rental properties they have: Casa Bella and Casa de Abuela. Each one has it’s own style and charm but I can say with utmost confidence that Jeannie and Brett have created such an exquisite escape, it’s no wonder the Travel Channel came to do an exclusive piece on Rancho Las Lomas and called it “one of the most beautiful destinations they’ve ever seen”.
My highlight at Sunday FUNday was seeing the tigers do a little “cooperating” including giving high-fives. These massive, larger than life, majestic creatures are such beautiful beings. It was engaging to watch them interact so sweetly with the trained Zoo staff. This is a venue like no other. Not only an Estate fit to appeal to most anyone, the encounters one has with the wildlife and zoological life is truly unique. It’s a rare glance at how these animals move and live, play and adapt. In essence, Rancho makes education and the divine a singular experience.
Le Pain Quotidien
Ok, let’s be honest, you feel a little French and sexy when you say it: Le Pain Quotidien. Try it. Sound it out: luh paN koh-ti-dyaN … Ooh lala!
Before going into my wonderful experience, here is a brief intro to how it came to be: Alain Coumont learned about bread as a small child, standing on a chair every Sunday watching his grandmother bake bread. As a young chef in Brussels, Alain could not find the right bread for his restaurant. Passionate about quality, he returned to his roots and opened a small bakery where he could knead flour, salt and water into the rustic loaves of his childhood.
He called his bakery “Le Pain Quotidien”.
So now onto my sneak peek – This week also marked the Pre-Opening of the fantastically delicious Le Pain Quotidien. I, along with nearly 20 other lovers of food, were invited by the wonderful Mona Shah-Anderson of Moxxe PR to indulge in a few “explosive-in-flavor” tartines, baked desserts, and organic beverages, all set around a communal table. The communal table is a trademark piece for the restaurant. The restaurant will seat 169 guests, in addition to the outdoor patio that boasts ocean views on a clear day. The atmosphere is alive and easy with the alluring odors of fresh-baked breads. I had an opportunity to speak to the Pain Chef, Jonathan Eng, who has hailed here all the way from New York to share his knowledge and love of baking breads and doughy wonders reminiscent of those you would find in a Belgium Pain Shop. His background is honestly, refreshing. He started experimenting with a range of culinary classes and the moment he found himself in a “bread” course, he realized his true calling. Baking breads. And so, a young Chef began his journey…
I was able to get a firsthand preview of the restaurant, the on-site bakery (one of only 2 in the world), the kitchen, and of course – that warm, freshly baked bread that sent my mouth soaring! In one bite I felt a sudden sense of being transported to the beautiful, stone-lined streets of Europe. This is a special restaurant and while it appears simple in menu, it is anything but. Seasonal ingredients, a range of breads including raisin hazelnut, olive bread (my personal favorite), sourdough, and a variety of others that are all made with grains that are uncompromising in quality and authentic taste. Sometimes you just want a crisp salad, a scrumptious tartine, a nice glass of Stella, and to simply soak in that smell that can only from from freshly baked, warm-out-of-the-oven bread. Le Pain Quotidien is the place.
I look forward to frequenting the newly launched Newport Beach, Fashion Island location. In addition to the mouth savoring doughy treats, there will also be Bread Baking classes offered and taught by Jonathan himself. Courses will run $55 for a 2-hour, hands-on class baking more bread than you can possibly eat (but you’ll try, I know it!). There will also be beer and wine served.
Please join them for their “Grand Opening”:
Le Pain Quotidien Grand Opening Fundraiser to Help End Childhood Hunger | October 27th from 5:00p-8:00PM.
This is the first of my “Week In Review” posts. Sometimes there is so much wonder happening, it can’t be missed!! Thank you to everyone who allows me to enjoy such beautiful and extraordinary venues, restaurants, and fare. Be assured I had a blast and as proof, enjoy this photo of me and the FANTASTIC Bobby Navarro of 100Eats100Days at the top of this post. (Thanks Jeannie for the pic! – Which was taken at the Photobooth at Sunday FUNday at Rancho Las Lomas!)