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…..than Valerie Foster Hoffman!  Think Auntie Mame, Perle Mesta, Martha Stewart and throw in a dash of Cleveland Amory and you’re just beginning to get the picture.

Here she is in the library of the beautiful home she shares with husband Eugene, assorted dogs, cats, birds, fish, oh almost forgot the chickens….and staff galore who are really family for the Hoffman’s!

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First came the invitation for a simple ‘Autumn Evening’ at the Hoffman’s celebrating the fall harvest.  The dinner would consist of “the joy, bounty & gifts of autumn”.  O.K., so let me set the scene…cocktails and hor d’oeuvres by the pool……

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Valerie entranced by Chris Slatoff, a gifted sculptor who in recent years has focused on religious themes.  Along with major commissions, Chris teaches at Art Center and conducts a summer workshop in Italy.  Fluent in French he could be our renaissance man!

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Chris is in the background (right) talking to Paul Rusnak.  Hope he got a commission!!!314414_10150831195065183_634160182_20947654_1731516887_n

O.K., I guess you spotted me with Daphne Cates, my miracle friend I blogged about a couple of years ago.  Daphne survived a 18 wheeler that ploughed over her car while driving home on the Grapevine. A helicopter flew Daphne out and it was all over the news.


It was difficult for me to tell Yuki she wasn’t invited.


Moving on to the exquisite garden area for dinner.  Tables were set with fine china, crystal and such for at least 100 guests.  I lost count.314414_10150831195075183_634160182_20947656_2130091586_n

I sat next to Chris Slatoff with Lisa Cavelier and hubby Bruno  also at our table.  Lisa was Nancy Regan’s travel coordinator and has done an amazing job as the Managing Director of the California Art Club.  Her husband Bruno works for Elaine Adams, Peter Adams wife, in her art gallery, American Legacy Fine Arts.  Now to tell you what a small, small world it is, I met Peter in the ‘70’s when I studied briefly at the Lukits Academy of Fine Arts…Peter later became personal apprentice to the renowned artist.  I thought Peter was just an impeccably fine person at the time and I’m delighted to say my opinion hasn’t changed one bit!

This doesn’t begin to show how magical the garden was with all the twinkling lights and beautiful table settings with flowers galore on each.



Now all you foodies out there, I know you’re waiting…waiting…but suffice it to say there was everything and anything your heart could desire to eat and all delicious beyond description.  Special emphasis of course was on the fall harvest. Isn’t the main attraction always the desert?  Well, again, there was everything from chocolate cake, to pies, cookies, baklava,…I could go on and on but my fav was the delicious mind blowing Apple Crisp made by Helga Elsesser, Valerie’s amazing assistant. Helga was kind enough to share the recipe…It’s from the the Barefoot Contessa and don’t forget to serve it with gobs of vanilla ice cream! 

Remember when I said there were about a hundred guests?  Well, as the evening cooled, Helga handed each and every lady present an exquisite pashmina shawl to wear and then to take home!  Staggering isn’t it!

Woops, almost forgot…when the valet brought my car I looked inside and said, “This isn’t my car” as there was a beautiful long stemmed rose, a bag of candy and a magazine inside.  Hey lady look again..that’s right.more treats!!!

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