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Scene & Heard


I’d say that raising $5 million at the Naples Winter Wine Festival this year was a mighty fine accomplishment. In this rather daunting economy, the wine festival folks stepped up with heart, soul and resourcefulness to put on a great and successful event. “We knew this year was going to be tough,” said wine festival trustee Denise Cobb, “but we also knew the children of Collier County need us now more than ever.” Denise and best friend Mary Susan Clinton, along with their husbands, hosted a wonderful wine dinner at the Clinton home (which, by the way, is on the market if anybody is looking for the most beautiful mansion—elegant yet homey). Chef Norman Van Aken and vintner Sir Peter Michael were at the top of their game matching superlative dishes with the perfect wines.



After resting up, denise and Mary Susan headed to L.A. for the annual Vanity Fair Oscar party (said to be the toughest ticket on the planet). Not only did they run into the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Kate Winslet and Mick Jagger (“He couldn’t have been more charming,” says Denise) but also fellow Neapolitans and winners of last year’s wine festival million-dollar Hollywood Fantasy Trip—Jay and Patty Baker and Barbara and Bob Crown, along with daughter Cristina Crown. Cristina had just completed her walk-on role on Desperate Housewives (part of that fantasy package). Call it a glam slam for our Naples crowd.



Who said doctors don’t make house calls anymore? Well, when the patient is Mia Farrow and the doctor is Naples Community Hospital CEO Dr. Allen Weiss, you’ve got a hot medical story to tell. Farrow was in Naples as the featured speaker for the Town Hall Distinguished Speakers series in January when she learned from Patty Baker that she didn’t have the necessary vaccinations for an impending trip overseas. It was Weiss himself to the rescue with needle and vaccine at Farrow’s hotel. Talk about a star turn. And talk about giving it your best shot. Happy and healthy travels, Mia.



Lee county’s big event, the Cattle Baron’s Ball, didn’t raise quite as much money for the American Cancer Society as in years past, but it was still a boot-kickin’ good time. On a perfect night in late January, heavyweights like Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp and Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott and his wife, Krista, showed up for the fun under the big top at the Page Field airport. What a refreshing change it was from the hotel ballroom/black-tie-and-gown affairs on the charity circuit. Many of the 700 guests got really creative in their Western wear. And there’s just nothing like wearing jeans, boots and a cowboy hat, eating all that great barbecue and catching up with old friends.



Our music superstar cliff Williams and his wife, Georganne, set up quite a weekend for FineMark CEO Joe Catti, his wife, JoAnn, their
youngest son, Nick, and other friends. It was Nick’s 18th birthday, and Cliff sent them off to Nashville with front row seats and backstage privileges for a special performance of AC/DC. It was rockin’ times for all. And get this: When guests Dr. Brian Hummel and his wife, Kristin, and Dr. Larry Hobbs and his wife, Debra, got the munchies at 2 a.m., they had to have their White Castle fix. No matter that they were in a taxi at the time, and the meter was running. The fast food couldn’t come fast enough. Thank you, Nashville, for gettin’ down with the music and eats.



Calling all gamers. if you’re looking for action, drop by The Ritz-Carlton, Naples Beach Resort. This year the resort introduced the new vue, or “Virtual User Experience,” a state-of-the art, high-tech entertainment lounge designed for individual gaming enthusiasts. Vue features all of the latest and most popular interactive games played via consoles hooked up to 40-inch LCD TVs, Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii. They also offer weekly Wii bowling tournaments, Wii Fit exercise classes and casual, fast-paced arcade action or multiplayer frag-fests on Xbox LIVE. And speaking of the Ritz, I raved about the pea soup made there for the Hats in the Garden luncheon. Lisa Juliano, special events manager for the Naples Botanical Garden, was kind enough to track down the recipe for me:


Green Pea Soup

Makes 10 servings

2 shallots (chopped)

1 tablespoon garlic (chopped)

½ cup white wine

1 bag frozen green peas

2 cups chicken stock

3 cups cream

2 sprigs thyme

2 sprigs oregano

2 tablespoon olive oil

To taste—salt and white pepper

Method: Sauté shallots and garlic in oil until translucent on medium heat, add in white wine and reduce to half. Add green peas, chicken stock, cream and herbs. Simmer for 15 minutes. Blend and strain, allowed to cool. Add 2 tablespoons creme frâiche, and check seasoning.



My colleagues and i at NBC2 get the most curious e-mails. You just have to laugh about some of them. Here are two recent samples that got us giggling. The first was sent to our meteorologist Robert Van Winkle, who shares his name with a famous rapper.

    “Hi, my name is Mariq, from Bulgaria. I in love a Vanilla ice, Robert you are beautiful man and I like you !!!”

    And ABC7 anchor Len Jennings got this:

    “I challenge you to a fight. we can sign a waver and put gloves or whatever protective gear you want on. i challenge you to this fight because i hate your name. steve”

     I’m signing off now. Feel free to e-mail your Scene & Heard columnist any time. And thanks in advance for sharing.

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