The last time I won anything was a telly, which my parents made me return it since we already had one in the house. A few weeks ago I entered a drawing at La Vie Eclectique and won these gorgeously posh chocolates from Recchiuti, a San Francisco chocolatier. This time around, I was keeping this prize to myself. A great thing about being an adult: you can eat chocolate for dinner if it’s what you fancy.

Check out Lisa’s blog, as she’ll be doing more chocolate giveaways! Miam!

I’ve been very naughty about updating my blog but I was too busy eating. (Obviously.)

November, when I went back to SGV for Thanksgiving, now feels like ages ago. My brother and his GF were in town for a week. They ate about five meals a day and one night I joined them, where we ate at four places in 2 hours: Don the Beachcomber for cocktails and pu pu platters, banh cuon in Westminster, chicken fried steak at Twoheys and one last place that I’ve now purged from memory.

It wasn’t until Christmas when I was able to have a decent appetite again. To be honest, it put me off food for a while. My stomach seemed to have been suffering a permanent fullness from Thanksgiving up unit about mid-December.

And dim sum. What is Chinese people’s obsession with dim sum? Being away for some time, the first thing relatives and my parents’ friends would want to do with me was take me for ‘yum cha.’ Then the first thing they would say when we’d sit down to dim sum was, “You can’t find this in London” or “You’ve lost weight because the food isn’t any good in London” or some kind of variation of that. Then I’d have to respond politely, yes there is dim sum in London but no it isn’t nearly as good as it is in LA (I think it would upset them to say that dim sum in SGV isn’t the best).

But it wasn’t dim sum that I missed the most about being away. I missed road trips, so I took one in January.

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I was up north two weeks ago, visiting friends I hadn’t seen in a while, some in years. I was all over too: the East Bay, the South Bay, San Francisco and Marin.

On my first night, I had to make an obligatory dinner stop at Chez Panisse Cafe, my favorite restaurant ever. My brother gave me some good advice when I was a college student: to scrape up any money I had and eat dessert at fancy restaurants, which became a good primer to fine dining. Chez Panisse was down the street from campus, so I’d go there whenever I had the chance. It’s not the fanciest place, but its place in California food history and lovely Julia Morgan digs make this place feel very special.

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