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Amy Scherzer's Diary

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Pepin Valentine's Dinner, more

Florida Hospital Pepin's Valentine's Dinner

Bring your sweetie to dinner, Tom and Lauren Pepin proposed, to help Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute furnish a $3.7 million hybrid cath lab/operating room. Their annual Valentine's Day benefit attracted 400 guests to dine at tables for two, four, eight or 30 if you sat at co-chair Marilyn McPhail's table. Puff n' Stuff prepared a six-course French menu for a romantic Paris Ville de l'Amour theme, Novu Entertainment kicked up a Moulin Rouge can-can and a 22-foot tall Eiffel Tower illuminated TPepin's Hospitality Centre.

"Time is muscle," said Tom, a heart attack survivor himself, raving that Pepin cardiac patients "average 49 minutes from door to balloon," meaning the time from arrival to catheter guide wire. He congratulated himself "on the foresight to invest in the place that would save my life," and everyone congratulated developer Leo Orsi, who seized the evening to ask real estate agent Patti Mascali to marry him. After she sold him a house in Jamestown, R.I., he asked her to dinner and was sold again.

For the Love of a Garden

Roasted oysters under a full moon on Valentine's Day made For the Love of a Garden a sweet proposition for Tampa Garden Club boosters. Chairwoman Darby Miller planted an eclectic auction in the lobby (Leah King's organic eggs and Rosemary Henderson's Southern cakes, for example). Paul Wilborn and Blue Roses took center stage for dancers; Ulele's buffet tempted with indigenous fare — seafood chowder to guava tart — the first catering job for the restaurant opening soon in the Water Works Building. President Missy Weiner thanked the 250 guests, especially honorary co-chairwomen Carole Guyton and Becky Savitz, for supporting building projects and the wedding lawn expansion.

Turn of the Century Hyde Park

Old Hyde Park and Historic Hyde Park neighborhood associations united at Joe and Camille Collier's 100-year-old home Saturday, marveling at the restoration while supporting another project: the Swann Avenue Pond. Party proceeds will go to a community fund to aerate and landscape the retention pond.

Guests in black tie and vintage fashions found memorabilia in the dining room honoring the original homeowners, guarded by Rough Rider Bill Moline and a cardboard Teddy Roosevelt. In the moonlit courtyard, Lounge Cat set a ragtime vibe; Piquant passed hors d'oeuvres and Wine Exchange donated the wine. Long Ash rolled cigars; Dough filled the pool house with cafe con leche gelato shooters, flan cupcakes and other sweets.

Elegant Evenings for Brighter Tomorrows

Bravo to Elegant Evenings, musical soirees sponsored by Brighter Tomorrows that have raised $77,000 to help domestic violence victims in the past three years. This series concluded Feb. 4 when Monroe and Suzette Berkman filled their home with the classical sounds of Trio de Minaret, the University of Tampa ensemble of Lei Liu, Lowell Adams and Grigorios Zamparas, following dinner catered by Rita Carlino.

Recent hosts Ben and Laura West and Carl and Lyda Lindell and sponsors such as Andy and Tricia Hirsch make the intimate concerts possible.


Feb. 27: To Life dinner and awards gala benefits Florida Holocaust Museum; 6:30 p.m.; Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg; $200; (727) 820-0100, ext. 251.

Feb. 27: Eighth annual Andrea's Sip for Life, six-course wine dinner benefits young adult sarcoma research at Moffitt Cancer Center; 7 p.m.; Columbia Restaurant, Ybor City, $100; (813) 248-4961 or columbia

Feb. 28: A Pair to Remember luncheon and shoe auction to benefit Easter Seals; 11 a.m.; Tampa Garden Club; $125; (813) 769-5923 or

Feb. 28: 17th annual Cattle Barons' Ball benefits American Cancer Society; 7 p.m.; Tampa Bay Times Forum; $500; (813) 319-5904 or

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Pepin Valentine's Dinner, more 02/19/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 2:56pm]
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