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When I was growing up in Hong Kong, the evening before Chinese New Year was a big celebration of delicious food with my family. I remember that my heart was always filled with warmth and excitement watching my parents prepare the feast, and looking forward to the red envelopes that my brother and I would be getting on New Year’s Day and the following days to come.

Now that I have been on my own with my son for quite some time, and with my mom and brother in other parts of California, Chinese New Year has not been as festive as before. Even though I had wanted to celebrate with more traditional fare such as Dim Sum, I did not want to deal with the crowd  at the popular teahouses, so my friend and I opted for a less traditional lunch.

Since it was still DineLA week, we decided to try a place in Santa Monica on the top floor of a older hotel because I was in the mood for a nice, relaxing meal with a good view. While our table was facing the ocean, because of the overcast weather, the view was not as spectacular as it could have be.

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The interior was modern and mainly white. There were booths with canopies. One of the stall in the women’s restroom even had a window view.

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For appetizers, I had the Crab Cake, while my friend had the Tuna Tartar. Though not exceptional, the crab cake had a good crunchy outer crust. I did not try the Tuna since I am trying not to eat a lot of raw fish these days.

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My Grilled Cheese with Short Rib was filled with a rich melted cheese called Chimay Grand Cru, and a hefty portion of tender and flavorful meat. I somehow managed to finish all the meat while leaving some of the bread behind.

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The Profiteroles, a choux pastry filled with vanilla bean ice cream was light and not overly sweet. I also enjoyed the rich chocolate cream oozing out from the Chocolate Molten Cake that I had ordered.

The service was a bit slow. Fortunately, we were not in a hurry and were able to carry on a good conversation.

One of the reason why I had decided on this restaurant was because of its proximity to the 3rd St. Promenade. I had not been to the shops there for quite some time now, so I was finally able to do some window shopping there after this heavy meal.

The Penthouse at the Huntley:  1111 2nd St. Santa Monica, CA 90403  Phone: 310-393-8080

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