Malibu Seen

Brad Garrett brings in the bucks for Make-A-Wish at the Barker Hangar. Photo courtesy of Make-A-Wish


More than 1,500 food fans hit the Barker Hangar for an evening that was inspirational as well as delicious. The Make-A-Wish Foundation held its annual Uncork A Wish wine tasting and auction, which helps make wishes come true for kids with life-threatening illnesses.

The Hangar was hopping as hundreds of hungry revelers made their way into a glitzy party palace filled with tasty treats from two dozen top restaurants and sensational sips from 75 winning wineries.

This year’s wining and dining extravaganza was a formal affair with a dress code calling for top hats and tiaras. In case you left your dazzling crown or classic topper back in the ‘Bu, the Make-A-Wish folks had plenty of plastic, rhinestone and glittery versions on hand to give their guests the royal treatment.

Inside, the place was done up in silver, sapphire and white with elegant arrangements of roses and orchids and a generous sprinkling of starry confetti. Celebrity mixologists like Cheryl Tiegs and those sexy sirens from “Deal or No Deal” kept the crowd happy with frosty Chopin vodka martinis at the ice bar, while Cirque du Soleil style acrobats twirled overhead in latex catsuits.

Where’s the beef? You didn’t have to ask at this fab food fling. The center aisle was flanked by dueling carving stations with Lawry’s Prime Rib slicing it up on one side and Arnie Morton’s of Chicago doing the honors on the other. Boa came up with a scrumptious goat cheese black truffle baklava, the Water Grill piled on the fresh oysters, Locanda del Lago dished out rainbow trout with juniper berries while Violet’s put out multitiered platters filled with cute candied cupcakes.

While most stations had many mouthwatering morsels to choose from Joe Miller of Joe’s Restaurant in Venice went all out on options. “We’ve got 15 different tapas here,” he said. “You’ve got your salt cod puree on artichoke leafs, baked tomato with albacore tuna and balsamic, fois gras parfait with apples and caramelized onions, endive with walnut, tomato gazpacho, the list goes on.” What inspired such abundance? A trip to Spain and a new eatery about to open in Santa Monica.

In addition to wide range of wines for a stellar cellar, the silent auction’s art gallery featured everything from surrealist prints to scenic oils, underwater seascapes by Wyland to whimsical characters from Dr. Seuss. But some of the sweetest pieces didn’t come from famous artists at all. They were created by Make-A-Wish kids like Sara Castro. After having to go through a heart transplant, little Sara got her wish to visit the Butterfly Conservatory in Ontario, Canada. She commemorated the event with a brightly colored butterfly portrait, which would fly home with the highest bidder.

Up on stage, celebrity emcee and longtime Make-A-Wish pal Brad Garrett helped pull in the bucks at a live auction that included a hot lime green chopper and a chance to dish with Kobe in your very own Laker suite.

By the time the tasteful evening came to a close, the organization had raised more than $300,000 to make childhood dreams a reality. Now that’s what I call wish fulfillment!

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