KIDS KALEIDOSCOPE . . .
FUN OPTIONS FOR GONG HEI FAT CHOY JOY 2024
Kids Love Sharing at Family Chinese Restaurants
By Bonnie Carroll
Robot Service Makes Kids & Adults Happy at Meet Up
As a child I was always thrilled when my parents took me to our neighborhood Chinese restaurant, which I found fascinating. I loved the family owners, the food and the Chinese music playing in the background. So naturally, many years later while living and working in Beverly Hills I became happily familiar with a custom of my many Jewish friends who celebrated their holidays with family style meals at their local Chinese Restaurants, and often they would invite me to join them for this welcome tasting adventure. Once intoduced to this style of dining it is so easy to become addicted to the sharing as well as the new flavors of the dishes. The lazy Susan service and congenial conversation does appear to contribute to the happy holiday spirit and overall enjoyment of a meal.
Now that life is slowly returning to normal following our long bout with Covid these beloved customs are back in full swing, and I was pleased to see my favorite local Chinese restaurant booths and tables filled with families with children and groups of friends during the Christmas and the New Year holiday enjoying their Peking duck, endless varieties of divine dim sum, warm and wonderful soups, delightful noodle dishes and sweet custard pie and tapioca desserts.
Our Chinese restaurant, China Pavilion on Chapala Street, has a beautifully kept formal room that is frequented by Santa Barbara families and is a favored location for many charity fundraisers. They are known for their selection of delicious dim sum, and for their outstanding menu options. My Christmas day lunch was a welcome treat from beginning to end, and we all feel lucky for the kind staff and exceptionally talented chef at the helm in their kitchen. It was fun to again take food home in little designer containers to enjoy the next day and keep our fortune cookie numbers to play in the holiday lottery.
This year also celebrated the re-opening of a very welcoming restaurant called Meet Up Chinese Cuisine on Modoc and Las Positas Road in Santa Barbara, where your order is delivered to your table by an adorable red and white life-size robot, wearing an apron, with shining eyes! The whole experience is not only delicious, but just makes everyone leave the place feeling happy.
The portions at Meet Up are large, and the actual live owner and servers aim to please and are very attentive. The Sweet and Sour soup was hot and perfect, and my shrimp egg foo young with rice quite exceptional as well. I also loved their eggplant dish. The menu is huge, and every time I’ve eaten there the place was filled with Chinese families and area college students sharing a meal. We had such fun watching guests interact with the lady robot at our holiday lunch in this conveniently located venue and will go back soon. It was a new fun dimension to the usual Chinese holiday dining experience to be sure!
Wishing you and your family good appetite, and much happiness in the New Year of the Dragon! GONG HEI FAT CHOY in Cantonese means “Wishing you happiness and prosperity” In Mandarin the common wish to family and friends is XINNIAN HAO which means ‘New Year Goodness”.
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