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In this holiday issue, I am sharing my gift shopping experience at Sotheby’s auctions and my favorite local holiday getaways: Meadowood in Napa Valley and Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito. Whether you chose a one of a kind piece of jewelry, a bottle of rare fine wine, to relax in a five-star hotel room by the fireplace with your loved one, or to enjoy a special holiday dinner prepared by a Michelin starred chef, my best wishes to you for a joyful and safe holiday season.

Holiday Shopping at Sotheby’s Auctions

Last month, I attended Sotheby’s Autumn Sale auctions in Hong Kong and witnessed more than 2,800 lots of jewelry, fine wines, and works of art, which sold for more than $400 million in seven days! Though Sotheby’s may not be recognized per se as a holiday shopping destination, it is by far the best place to find unique and specialty gifts. With Sotheby’s global network sourcing some of the finest and highly desirable collections across a wide range of categories, you will be sure to find that special gift for the holiday season.

At the auction I bid on several lots and found the values to be exceptionally good–particularly the dozens of items that had no reserves. The next important jewelry sale will be held on Nov. 30 in London and will include items from the former Duchess of Windsor’s collection. You can look up schedules, preview online catalogs, and submit bids at

Dining with Michelin Three Star Chef Kostow
Meadowood Napa Valley Celebrates 12 Days of Christmas

This holiday season (Dec. 3 – 18), Chef Christopher Kostow at Meadowood will welcome twelve renowned chefs who will be paired with twelve esteemed Napa Valley vintners to present twelve distinctive holiday feasts. The proceeds will benefit Share Our Strength, an organization working to fight hunger among American children.

I met Christopher at The Restaurant at Meadowood in 2008 when he had just started as the new chef there. My dinner companion was a cousin of the world famous French chef Pierre Gagnaire. After our amazing dinner, he advised me to hire Christopher as chef for my Paris chateau immediately because he predicted Christopher would soon earn three Michelin stars and it would then be impossible for me to hire him! Well, he was right–Chef Kostow and The Restaurant recently earned three stars in Michelin’s San Francisco Bay Area & Wine Country Restaurant Guide 2011. Kostow is the second American-born chef to receive three stars, and The Restaurant the second in the western United States.

A Michelin-starred chef before the age of 30, Chef Kostow takes a thoughtful approach to food that belies his age.  Masterfully blending contemporary French cuisine with the farm-to-table tradition, he creates a transcendent experience for diners every night. For information, visit

The Idyllic Holiday Setting
Create Lasting Memories at Cavallo Point Lodge

Discover Cavallo Point Lodge in an idyllic location on the San Francisco Bay at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge – just minutes from San Francisco’s excitement, Sausalito charm, and Marin Headlands activities. The Lodge is the perfect spot for a relaxing escape and a springboard for northern California adventures.

The lodge’s stately rooms, award-winning cuisine, roaring fireplaces, and iconic views of the Golden Gate Bridge make it the perfect home for the holidays. Since it opened in 2008, I have had many memorable times there with proprietor Mike Freed and his wonderful staff.

For Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, the lodge’s fine-dining restaurant, Murray Circle is offering special four-course menus. To renew yourself for the New Year, I recommend booking a spa treatment at their Healing Arts Center & Spa.

There will also be cooking classes throughout December featuring new recipes, techniques, and inspiration for creating homemade holiday treats.  I will also be teaching a Chinese cooking class at the Cavallo Point Cooking School in the coming year. Keep an eye on the schedule at

Cheers to the good life,

Olivia Hsu Decker
[email protected]

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