Leah Garchik has been writing a daily column in the San Francisco Chronicle since 1984. She learned how to knit and everything else useful in her native Brooklyn, arrived in San Francisco in 1971, and lives in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district with her husband. Although she is present at many parties, she does not own any Oscar de la Renta dresses, and she does not like to be known as the social columnist. She recommends the Chinese food at the Spicy Garden, across fashionable Mission Street from the Chronicle. In addition to her column, she writes occasional essays, movie, and book reviews for the Chronicle. She wrote the text for ‘San Francisco: The City’s Sights and Secrets,’ and in 2007 wrote ‘Real Life Romance: Everyday Wisdom on Love, Sex, and Relationships.’ She is a regular panelist on the KALW audience-participation quiz show, Minds Over Matter, and former bell-ringer in a German polka band. She prefers bittersweet to milk chocolate.