Although I’ve received many invites for amazing events during my 25-plus years in 93108, the one inviting me to dinner at Trattoria Mollie and dinner with Oprah and  a  screening of her new movie is right up there with my all time faves.

The invitation, sent by email said: Come to Mollie’s at 5 p.m. for dinner with Oprah and go see her new movie written by Lee Daniels, The Butler. It added, “We are not kidding!”

If I didn’t know the sender, I would of thought it was a joke —but not so.

At 5 p.m. Aug. 16 on Montecito’s Coast Village Road, there was Miss Mollie making and serving her famous meatballs, one of Winfrey’s favorite’s, a caprese salad and pizza galore. The anticipation was high. Would Oprah come? Well, wait no longer for the answer. She did, and she kissed and hugged everyone and gave numerous  photo ops.

After good eats and vino, the ladies — and a few gentlemen — were loaded into two beautiful buses for the short drive to Paseo Neuvo in downtown Santa Barbara for the screening, while Oprah  followed in her limo.

The Harvey Weinstein film — already generating Oscar buzz for Oprah, Forest Whitaker and an all-star cast — The Butler is based on a true story of the life of Eugene Allen, a White House butler to eight presidents, from Harry Truman in 1952 to Ronald Reagan in 1986.

It has been many years since Oprah appeared as the memorable Sofia in Steven Spielberg’s screen adaptation of The Color Purple. I hope she does not wait so long between movies again. I’ve missed her. Whenever she is on the screen, her presence is felt in a visceral way.

After the movie, which left many of the guests feeling wonderful and sad at the same time, the buses returned for the short ride back to their cars on a a sleepy Friday night in Montecito. Yes, we know Ms. O is out there somewhere, but on this night she was really there.

Some of the guest who attended the dinner and the movie were Lynda Weinman, Tipper Gore, Beverlye Fead and husband Bob, Corinna Gordon, Teri and Eric Gabrielsen, Jane Eagleton, Bill Cornfield, Francis Shannon and Nancy and Larry Koppelman, to name just a few.

— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at The opinions expressed are her own.