three nights at the carlyle in new york

The concept of chocolate for breakfast threw me for a loop when I was an exchange student in France the summer between my senior year of high school and freshman year of college. It’s not as though I hadn’t been brought up on my share of sweetened cereals; Cap’n Crunch and Sugar Frosted Flakes and let’s not forget Cocoa Puffs were standard fare at 27 Marlborough Road. I went through a phase where I ate Sugar Frosted Flakes morning, noon and night if I could get away with it, and I often could. But eating pain au chocolate, chocolate pieces wedged between a slice of French bread, first thing in the morning felt decadent beyond words. Especially considering everyone around me was speaking French faster than a locomotive and I could barely eke out a simple declarative sentence without stumbling self-consciously into an abyss of Beginner French.

I eventually got used to chocolate for breakfast, and even graduated to the more sinful croissant au chocolat. That does not mean that I’ve introduced the tradition in my home. In fact, by coincidence, I bought Isaac his first box of sweetened cereal last month. Honey Nut Cheerios. Yes, I held out that long. The boy is ten. Also by coincidence, the other evening I heard one of our favorite Spanish children’s songs, Chocolate, on TV. (You may have heard it. Uno, dos, tres, cho, uno, dos, tres, co, chocolate, chocolate, va te, va te, va te, chocolate.) Qu’est-ce que c’est? I wondered. Why, a new cereal, with chocolate morsels in it. I believe it was Life’s Chocolate Life Crunch. Even if it wasn’t, I was tickled pink to find and enter Life’s Ultimate Chocolate Getaway, for six, on this day of all days, St. Valentine’s Day, the most chocolate day of the year. It’s a fun one: three nights at The Carlyle (yum!) and assorted chocolate treats and doings (a tour of New York’s chocolate shops, brunch with chocolate expert Dr. LeBel).

To enter, click HERE. The deadline is March 31. You can enter once daily, so I’ve put a link under SWEEPS - DAILY ENTRY to the right.

Next, the obligatory reference to romance. Since I’m single, I thought I’d request comments on dating dealbreakers. Two of mine: Men who wear socks with sandals, even dark ones; men who wear turquoise and silver jewelry. (Leave it in New Mexico!) I also could never date a man who sounded like he'd just inhaled helium. (Believe me, they are out there.) Someone I know recently told me she wouldn’t date a guy she’d met because he drove a Hummer. Where do you draw the line? If you’re married or otherwise romantically involved, where would you say enough's enough? Remember, your comments can remain anonymous.