Dessert, Lifu, Random

Chuao Chocolatier UTC (closing down 6/23/13 !!!) and life ramblings – San Diego, CA

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– Modena Strawberry Sorbet

Light, yet creamy strawberry gelato with hint of balsamic vinegar and flecks of dark chocolate throughout

This will probably be more of a thought provoking post for me so stop reading after the food pics if you’re here only for the food stuff 😉

I’m a huge fan of Chuao (pronounced chew-WOW), a local Chocolatier here in SD. And while visiting their Del Mar location the other day, one of the employees mentioned to me that their UTC location was shutting down due to landlord issues. And it just made me think of a few things: what makes one happy in life. Yeah, weird question to be pondering when I’m inside a Chocolatier place talking about lease resolutions/issues. But I just thought ‘dang it…I really love their Modena Sorbet – it literally makes me happy’.

Are there things in my life , or in your life, that just simply make you happy.

Before delving into that one…let me finish my post on Chuao UTC. They close 6/23/13 but will shift most of their non-gelato sales to their neighbor Bottega Italiana (who currently manufactures all of Chuao’s gelatos). Bottegga (located right next to the ArcLight theater) will also then carry two of Chuao’s gelatos (Spicy Maya and Modena Strawberry) that Bottegga currently does NOT carry in their own line of gelatos.

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So many different flavors to choose from. But my favorites are the:

Mayan Chocolate: dark chocolate lovers rejoice! This gelato tastes exactly what I thought it would. Deep dark chocolate with a faint tease of a spicy kick at the end.

Modena Strawberry: so light, smooth, tart/refreshing – and there’s nothing more magic than tasting a fresh, chilled strawberry dipped in a slightly bitter, dark chocolate (at least that’s what I’m thinking when I close my eyes and enjoy this gelato). It gives me *that* moment, as an adult, to give in to a certain indulgence that I normally think I should refrain from but what the heck for. Kinda like when my dad would take us to Thrifty’s ice cream as kids and we’d be so ridiculously happy eating the cheap ice cream together and sharing dad/daughters moments (Chocolate Malted Crunch for me, Butter Pecan for dad, and Rainbow Sherbert for sis). Why can’t we have those same ridiculously carefree happy moments now as adults.

To eat as much ice cream as we want, laugh, and have your hero put you to sleep every night. Is that TOO much to ask 🙂

So I knew my Chuao post would be short as there’s only so much I can write about gelato. But again, it gave me a chance to ponder what in my life, right now, makes me smile. Yes, usually it’s food, as you can see from this blog. But there are other things too. So if you’re curious about them, please read on.

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– Lifu, my friend

The pic on left is when I tried to cut the nails on his tiny (yet super Frodo, the Hobbit,  wide) paws. Sis was holding him and I totally nicked him and he started bleeding. Sis and I both freaked out so she handed him to me and we started looking for gauze or a band-aid (WTF- for a dog?!) or something. But I didn’t have anything, so we improvised : with a cheap restaurant napkin and a rubber band. I think that pic is pretty priceless – I mean, look at his face and then the size of the first aid ghetto-help sis and I provided.

The pic to the right is with him sitting next to my mom on the sofa. This was around the time I first got to know him. Mom brought him back from Taiwan a few years ago and as you can see in pic, he’s quite fond of her. Look at his short front legs resting on her thigh, with one batwing limp ear, and his weird tongue hanging out.

It took some time for me to warm up to him b/c my mom was really super in love with this dog and would protect this dog to no end, like for example, to name calling (ahem…from me and sis). She’d pick him up, shower him w/ hugs and kisses, baby talk to him. Freakishly NOT like the mom we know and fear. So sis and I, would stare at each other, then stare at her loving this dog, and I think we developed some Freudian complex of jealousy towards the stupid new dog from Asia. Sis and I would text each other  ‘WTF man… mom was NEVER that nice to US when we were kids, or like now, or like EVER‘. Then we’d pout like little girls to try to get her attention.  The conversation I had w/ her last Christmas, when I got him, went like this:

Mom: ‘can i tell you a secret’
me: ‘what’
Mom: ‘but you can’t tell’
me: ‘yeah ok, what’
Mom: ‘i’m going to write an autobiography about Lifu’
me: ‘but he’s like 2 or 3 yo. He doesn’t have enough about his life for you to write’
Mom: ‘ no, but he does. He had to come here (to the States), traveled on a plane, had to                fight for acceptance here in States, doesn’t understand English…’
me: ‘stop…talking’.

Then we started laughing uncontrollably. So this dog really has brought some much needed laughter and joy into our lives. There’s alot more to this story but this was my silly intro into this.

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– Beautiful Sunset

I captured this some time back at a park close to my house. I’m not one who enjoys the fresh air, or the beach, or the sun, or the hillsides…you get the point here….so it’s rare that I take that moment, *a* moment, to slow down and enjoy something to it’s simplest and to it’s fullest degree. So it was a quiet evening – not alot of people – so I sat on a table and just listened to the ‘quietness’ . And to be able to capture the progression of this sunset brought a smile to my face.

I’ve distanced myself from a close friend recently. Nothing to be shared here right now. But  the last few weeks have been difficult to process.

What do you do when a friend *unintentionally* breaks your heart. What do you do when someone you looked up to all of a sudden looks nothing like the person you thought s/he was. That in a blink of an eye, a friendship can change so profoundly that you cannot imagine moving forward with this person. Forgiveness is one thing. Forgetting is another. So I’m having a hard time with this one. I might need another sunset soon I suppose.

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– Dwarf blueberry bush $7.99

I bought this at 99 Ranch here in San Diego b/c I’ve never seen a dwarf version of this berry (actually, I’ve never seen any version of a blueberry bush!). So bought two of them and was going to keep them in their little cheapo plastic pots until I knew what to do with them.

But look at how it’s producing beautiful blueberries! It makes me soooo happy for some reason to see fruit growing on any bush/tree. And *I* was doing a good job with this little dwarf !! It wasn’t dying on me (and trust me, plants of any kind don’t like me).

SJC recently told me she had surprise for me. She went to Armstrong Nursery and picked out two oh-so-beautiful ceramic vases for my blueberries!! The heavy, ceramic vases matched perfectly with my yard and landscape. So she helped me plot the bushes in the pot and here we are – here *I* am – triumphant with my first blueberry bush 🙂

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– Apple tree from Evergreen Nursery

My next goal is to plant a few fruit trees in my yard so I’ve been happily searching for the trees that I want to grow (or the trees that are less likely to die under my care). Let me know if anyone has suggestions for ‘easy fruit trees’ to grow in SD.

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– Hello Kitty tattoo

You like my new tattoo? Just kidding. Isn’t it awesome though. This is a REAL tattoo from a bank teller. I know right – not sure what’s more funny – that it’s a HUGE HK tattoo right up your forearm or that you’re a bank teller with a huge HK tattoo right up your forearm for everyone to see. Kudos to her b/c she’s proud to show this off. Unlike whimp-me who secretly loves Hello Kitty but too embarrassed to show it.

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– hand picked roses with my little nephew

Sis has tons of rose bushes in her yard. And these are our favorites. My nephew, who’s itty bitty, likes to go with her when the roses bloom and help cut a stem or two for his mom to put in a small vase. So this time around, he went w/ his favorite auntie to cut the roses. Makes my heart melt every time I spend time with my nephews.

So that’s a few of my favorite things (Sound of Music anyone….). Hope everyone is having a great Thursday evening.

14 thoughts on “Chuao Chocolatier UTC (closing down 6/23/13 !!!) and life ramblings – San Diego, CA

  1. Your story about your mom and the dog reminded me of my mom and the family dog. We never grew up having pets of any kind as kids. Our mom didn’t like animals. About 20 years ago, my brother brought home a puppy and he was supposed to take care of it (my bro was already an adult, not a kid). Well, guess who took care of the dog instead? My mom. She treated it like it was the fourth child! She would hand feed it, fret over tit and treat the dog so nicely! It never got yelled at (unlike us, ha ha). The dog lived to be about 13 years old and when she had to be put down, it was a sad day.

    1. Hi CC,

      I totally smiled when I read your comment. I *totally* get where you’re coming from. Isn’t it ironic how our ‘tiger moms’ became such softies when it came to a *dog*. A dog. Not their own flesh and blood. But a DOG. My mom has seen a few of our dogs come and go. And I can say that she, privately, cried about it every time. There’s something about pets that can bring a grown person to their knees don’t you think? But thank you for sharing your mom’s story – it’s comforting to hear that other people can relate 🙂

        1. Hahahaha!!! I read your comment late last night and I *thought* I saw that but didn’t even think twice about it until now… Hahahah!!! Don’t worry – we all know you’re a respectable, classy blogger 😉

  2. My mom totally babies our dog, more than she ever babied me so I think your story about the dog is also hilarious! Sometimes she talks to the dog and says that “Maya is my only friend!” Oy. Moms. 😀 Also: very pretty sunset pictures! Also:'s-Quick-from-Bleeding (for future reference). Also: gelato is awesome! Okay, that’s all I got for now. Keep on truckin and sharing all of your thoughts!

    1. Hi Mary,

      Hahahah! That wikihow link was adorable! I love how they used cartoons for the instructions 🙂

      I wonder if guys feel the same jealous/envy thing when they look at the mom/dog relationship.

      I think you and Jake should grab some yummy gelato and watch a sunset this weekend ! Have a great weekend…

  3. I’m so sad to hear Chuao is closing. I go to that place all the time when I’m at UTC mall!
    As for the dog thing, my experience is a lot like CC’s. Growing up, my mom never let us have a dog. She didnt like dogs at all. Then after we all left and went to college except my youngest brother who was a senior, she suddenly let him get a dog. And at first, she made it stay outside. Then in the garage. But about a month in, she totally let the dog stay in the house. And by the time I came home to see the dog for the first time, my mom was already holding it like a baby. And now she totally coddles the dog and feeds it and cooks for it, like it’s her youngest kid. And when I’m on the phone with her, she’ll call the dog my little sister.

    As with regards to boys…, Mr. K’s parents got a dog about 2 years ago. And his dad is sooo affectionate with the dog. The dog is so loyal to him and follows him everywhere. And Mr. K has many times said to me in a hurt voice that his dad never showed him and his brother that much affection. haha. sad.

    1. Hi Kirbie,

      I’m honestly wiping away tears from laughing so hard reading your comment. I can’t stop laughing right now. I think it’s sad yet hilarious that fellow food bloggers have their own similar ‘WTF is up w/ our moms and dogs’ non-food related stories. I could totally see the progression of your mom ‘caving in’ to the dog! Like *what* in the world did the dog do to earn your love and trust so fast.

      And that’s so funny that your mom calls the dog your little sister!!! HAHAHAHA!! When my mom first brought Lifu to SD, she would baby talk to him and say in Chinese ” This is Faye, your jie jie (big sister)” And she’d hug him and I’d just sit there, staring at the both of them, feeling sooo defeated.

      Your comment about poor Mr K had me in stitches. Poor guy. So sad. But it’s comforting (sorry Mr K) to know that dudes feel it too w/ their dads.

      That’s when you need to take your poor fella to Chuao UTC before it closes its doors 🙂

      Thanks for commenting and have a fantastic weekend …

  4. Thanks for you kind words. The Chuao Chocolatier cafe in Westfield UTC will close because the mall rezoned it into a non-food location. We appreciate all of the support from the local community over the years and assure you that Chuao isn’t going away… all Chuao chocolates are available at Bottega Italiana in UTC, as well as a selection at Cost Plus World Market and Whole Foods nearby. Chuao Chocolatier cafes in Del Mar Highlands and Encinitas Lumberyard are open, happily serving our all natural, handcrafted chocolates to San Diego chocoholics. The good news is that we are rapidly growing, focusing on making our gourmet goodies available to all via nationwide distribution to retailers like REI, Target and Bed Bath & Beyond.

    If you have any questions about Chuao, where to find our chocolate, or our future growth, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Chuao Chocolatier HQ:

    We hope you’ll visit us in UTC for 33% off full priced products during our last weekend- June 21-23, 2013. Please see store for details.

    Thanks again for your support; we are so grateful for it!

    Sweet Regards,
    Brooke Feldman
    Communications Director
    Chuao Chocolatier

    1. Hi Brooke,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m a fan of the Del Mar location so that’s where I’ll be getting my Chuao fix if I’m not in the UTC area.

      Best of luck to Chuao and I’ll definitely try to take advantage of the 33% discount during those days you posted – thanks for the tip!

      1. My pleasure. Thanks for the support. I just wanted to make sure everyone understood that one of our locations is closing- not the company- in case they wondered. Thanks again!!


        1. Hi Brooke,

          No worries – I think everyone knows (or will know) it’s only the UTC location that is closing. Chuao has a great fan base 🙂 Have a great weekend –

  5. The little sous chef is so cute. He must have cried so much when you made him bleed. awwww. When I was younger, I used to put nail polish on my dogs, and of course dress them up lol. Yes, I was one of those people.

    Food, sunset, and puppies make me happy too! So does shopping lol.

    1. Hi MK,

      Nail polish on dogs! Was it a girl dog?! My mom would kill me if I put nail polish on Lifu. And yes, food + sunset + puppies = happy 🙂

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