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It was around this time last year that I had first tried the Sunday Brunch at this beautiful resort in the hills of Palos Verdes. I had wanted to come back here sooner, but never did have a chance.

When I found out they were having a special New Year’s Day Brunch buffet, I was quite excited and thought it would be a great way to start the New Year.

I thought people would be sleeping in and recovering from the New Year’s Eve partying, and the brunch would be a quiet one. Was I wrong, the place was already more than 1/2 full by the time I got there before 11am. There was a small line at the reception area. It was a good thing that I made reservations.

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We were seated next to the windows by the patio, and it was a gorgeous day. I waited a while for the server to come take my drink order, but no one came for quite a while. I got impatient and decided to grab a bus boy and told him that I wanted to order a grapefruit juice and a cappuccino. He looked a bit surprised and uncomfortable. He proceeded to tell me that the cappuccino machine was not working, and upon seeing how disappointed I must have looked, he said he should be able to find me a cappuccino from somewhere else. I said “fine”.

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Meanwhile, I decided to check out all the sumptuous offerings, and by the time I got back, there was a glass of grapefruit juice and a to-go cup with a lid on the table. I opened the lid and realized that it was a foamy and delicious looking cappuccino that he must have gotten me from another restaurant inside the resort. I was so amazed at how quick thinking and resourceful he was, and how this was the perfect example of what good service meant. I was impressed. He walked by, and I thanked him sincerely and expressed my utmost appreciation for his extra effort. It was a great beginning to a most enjoyable and wonderful brunch.

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The food selection was similar to what I remembered from last year. The cheese station looked even better with more varieties this time. The smoked salmon was moist, thick and delicious. I decided to try the cook-to-order omelet/egg station this year, and was I glad that I did.

I ordered the an egg white omelet with asparagus, onions, spinach, green onions, mushroom and it was the best omelet – fluffy. tasty and incredibly light. The guacamole I put on top was not salty, fresh and absolutely fantastic.

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The pizza was extremely thin crusted and probably the best pizza I had ever had with the thick, melty, hot and chewy mozzarella cheese. I enjoyed all the fresh mussels and clams from the hot food station. The french toast was so good that I had three slices of them.

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While the selections were not huge at the sushi/sashimi station, they were what I really liked. There was the lobster roll with large chunks of lobster inside – simple and wonderfully great. Being that I love asparagus, the vegetable roll was exactly what I wanted.

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I waited for the nice lady from the waffle station to make me a hot, fresh off the griddle waffle. It was worth it, crunchy, light, and so satisfying with the freshest whipped cream on top. I also added blueberries, raspberries and blackberries to almost everything that I was eating.

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The cheeses, being my favorite, were numerous and top quality. It was hard to refrained from eating too much.

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My friend commented that the prime rib was the best, even better than that of Lawry’s. I feel that everything in the buffet was so good because of the quality of ingredients. It was probably one of the best buffet ever. One must also go outside and walk around the luscious, beautiful garden after the meal for the most complete, awe-inspiring and memorable experience.

I am looking forward to coming back again, hopefully I do not need to wait another year to do so.

Catalina Kitchen, La Terranea Resort: 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275  Phone: 310-265-2704

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