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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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A Merry Chocolate Christmas

Uploaded: Dec 17, 2013
Dominique Yancey, Contra Costa County DA, member of the Parks and Community Services Commission, and all around great person, invited me to a Chocolate Christmas Party on December 15th. The invitation said to bring friends, so I invited my neighbor Sally and she offered to drive. I was glad she offered to drive, because even though Dominique lives close by in Canyon Lakes, I don't like driving after dark and I get lost easily.

Sally got lost too. First she turned on Canyon Woods Drive, which goes into a gated community. Canyon Lakes is a gated community but I wasn't sure we could get there this way. Sally showed the invitation to the person at the booth. She said it was not there so Sally made a U-Turn and went back to Alcosta.

I told Sally I thought it was off Bollinger Canyon Road. I remembered that Mayor Abram Wilson lived in Canyon Lakes. I had gone to his house several years ago either to drop something off or pick something up. I don't recall what but I remembered he lives in Canyon Lakes. I mentioned that to Dominique when I accepted her invitation and she said he lived four doors down from her.

Sally wanted to go to Crow Canyon Road, but I insisted she turn on Bollinger. I recalled that Abram spoke at one of the meetings over the Sycamore Trees on the Bollinger Canyon hill. He said he drives that way to get home and doesn't want those trees cut down.

I was right about going up Bollinger, but wrong about the direction when we got to the top of the hill. I told Sally to turn right, so we went into the Canyon View gated community. The gatekeeper told Sally it was the other direction off of Bollinger, so she turned around and went the other way past that little shopping area across from Club Sport.

We got to the gate to get in and two cars were ahead of us. The first one opened the gate, but it closed by the time they pulled up to it. Someone got out of the second car and punched in the code, and the gate opened again and the first and second cars went through. Sally was going to punch in the code, but the gate was still open, so she just drove through it. I was afraid it might close on us before we got to it.

It was very dark and hard to tell where we were. Sally was concerned because all of the house numbers were in the 2000's. Dominique's house is in the two-hundreds. So Sally phoned Dominique to get directions.

When we got to the house, two cars (I don't know if those were the two ahead of us at the gate) were parking in the cul de sac near Dominique's house. Sally parked behind them and we went in.

Dominique greeted us warmly (as she always is). Sally commented that she's beautiful, which she also is. I envision her in a TV Series, "Dominique Yancey, DA" starting one of those 50-something actresses like Dana Delany in "Body of Proof," whose careers were revived playing mature, sexy professional women. Now that "Body of Proof" has been cancelled, Delany would be perfect casting for Dominique.

I thought I'd meet Dominique's husband Dan, but the party was all female. The only man there was the bartender. The invitation said to bring your own beverage, so I brought a bottle of Redd's Apple Ale, which is really hard cider but sells better marketed as Ale.

I said "hello" to Esther Lucas and Nicole Blazin from the Parks and Community Services Department but I didn't recognize most of the other people there. The spread of chocolate goodies was incredible. Sally said Dominique baked everything herself.

I'm normally allergic to chocolate. I have been since I was a child. That doesn't stop me from eating it, but I gave up eating chocolate 15 years ago after developing terrible sores on my legs from a chocolate rash that became infected and wouldn't heal.

I was diagnosed with chronic venus insufficiency, which meant the blood in my legs didn't circulate properly and that's why sores didn't heal. I was told to wear compression hose and move around every hour or two to keep the blood circulating. I also stopped eating chocolate so I wouldn't get rashes on my legs, but I figured I could keep any rash under control with antibiotic ointment and compression hose.

Dominique made a few non-chocolate items, like gingerbread and cookies with raspberry jam in the center. I expected the cakes and cookies to be more Christmassy, but there were no Christmas tree cookies or jingle bells, or chocolate Santas (not even in white chocolate to appease Megyn Kelly).

After taking my dish of everything chocolate, and some gingerbread, Sally found chairs in the back. Barbara Hudson, Councilman Dave Hudson's wife, came over and joined us. We chatted about the election and the City Council, and Jim Livingstone's tribute to Dave at the swearing in ceremony. Barbara wondered why the other Councilmembers didn't support Dave. I don't know either, and I plan to ask Scott Perkins about that the next time I see him.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Miss Viv, a resident of Birdland,
on Dec 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Such a long, detailed description of getting to the party. I didn't understand the significance.

Posted by MaSuperior, a resident of Birdland,
on Dec 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm

I found your article to be very long-winded with too much personal information.

Did we have to know about your chocolate rashes and sores on your legs?

It would have been nice to read more about the party.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Dec 18, 2013 at 5:33 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Well that's what blogs are, a kind of online diary about what the blogger does or thinks. The stuff about the rash on my legs was pretty gross, but I wanted to explain why I stopped eating chocolate. Fortunately I did not get a rash from the chocolate at the party. Still I don't plan to eat chocolate again soon. I don't miss it at all.

I didn't write much about the party because I didn't mix much in the party. Most of the other women were dressed up, and I was wearing slacks and a T-Shirt. Not that that would keep me from mixing, but I didn't recognize most of the other people.

The drive there was the most adventurous to me, but the interesting part (or at least interesting to me) was finding the right gate to go in. In 2006 the City Council voted to prohibit gated communities even though Mayor Wilson lived in one. At least the two erroneous entrances we went into by mistake had live people to tell us we were in the wrong place.

If you (or I or Sally) have a tendency to get lost, it is nice to find a person who can give directions. And don't suggest a GPS. I've gotten even more lost with those things, and I find them distracting while driving.

Posted by Dominique Yancey, a resident of San Ramon,
on Dec 18, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Hi Roz
Thank you so much for coming to the party and for bringing Sally.
Thank you also for your kinds words. If you don't mind I'll give some
additional information about the desserts in case anyone would like to
host a similar type of event. I first thought of this 9 years ago when I wanted to throw a party for the ladies I knew as a way of saying thank you for their friendship. Chocolate, Christmas and Ladies just seemed a perfect match. All of the chocolate desserts came from Alice Medrich's book "Chocolate Holidays". This is only the third time I have done this party as I only do it once every three years. The menu included 2 chocolate peanut butter layer cakes, 3 gingerbread with milk chocolate chunks, 2 chocolate hazelnut roulades, 2 chocolate cranberry babkas and 3 flourless chocolate cakes with raspberry puree and whipped cream. In addition from the December 1993 Gourmet magazine I made strawberry tart cookies, coconut bars and mocha pecan balls. Baking started friday evening, stopped and restarted saturday evening at 6:30 and stopped sunday at 3 a.m, started back up at 7am and finished at 10am. Now you see why I only do this every 3 years.
No matter the time taken this is something I love to do for my friends.
Merry Christmas to all and a very Happy New Year!!!!

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Dec 18, 2013 at 10:23 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


Thank you for answering. I couldn't remember all of the different cakes and pastries. You put the names of each on little stands, which helped in the selection process. I liked the chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and whipped cream the best. That was homemade whipped cream too.

How many people were there? It looked like you had a big crowd.


Posted by Dominique Yancey, a resident of San Ramon,
on Dec 19, 2013 at 6:01 am

Over 40 ladies attended.

Posted by Graham Addicks, a resident of San Ramon,
on Dec 19, 2013 at 6:32 am

All of them were over 40?

Posted by San Ramon Oberver, a resident of San Ramon,
on Dec 19, 2013 at 2:27 pm

San Ramon Oberver is a registered user.


I think most of them were. I'm so much over 40 that Sally and I added together makes three more.


Posted by Bob P, a resident of another community,
on Dec 20, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I'm curious, why only women?

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Dec 20, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


I don't know why only women. There are plenty of men over 40 who like chocolate too, but it was Dominique's party.


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