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The Year of the Rat is here! January 25th marked the 2020 Chinese New Year and the festival lasted through February 8th. To celebrate the Lunar New Year, a group of friends and I went out for a classic Chinese culinary feast at Bistro Na's. Bistro Na's is located in Temple City in the San Gabriel Valley. It is also the only traditional Chinese restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star in Southern California and it is the Please The Palate pick of the week. Walking into Bistro Na's feels like walking into a scene from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The restaurant looks like a traditional Chinese home. The main dining room looks like an enclosed formal Chinese courtyard. Musical instruments hang above the gold and red room with bamboo trim and high-hanging lights. Past the dining room are private banquet rooms, each elegantly designed with Chinese accents. Bistro Na's is unlike most Chinese restaurants in Los Angeles. It is not Cantonese or Szechuan or a Dim Sum restaurant. Instead Bistro Na's serves Chinese Imperial Cuisine, dating back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). This was a cooking style reserved traditionally only for the Emperor and the royal family. At Bistro Na's you can order a la carte but they offer six different banquet menus. We selected the menu which included King Crab. We took our seats in our private room and our feast began. Soon our table with filled with dishes!
Another year, another Christmas tradition. For the past four years, I have been gathering with a group of my foodie friends on Christmas Day for our annual Jewmas Chinese food outing. "Jewmas" is a unique way to wish someone a happy holiday during the period of Christmas and Hanukkah without excluding a Christian or Jewish person. Our Jewmas Dim Sum lunch at China Red in Arcadia is the Please the Palate pick of the week. Eating at Chinese restaurants at Christmas has been a tradition for Jews for decades. But, now going out for Chinese food on Christmas has become an American tradition. The New York Times just wrote an opinion piece entitled "Nothing Is More American Than Chinese Food on Christmas" with the sub-heading, "Jewish families and others used to flock to Chinese restaurants because that was all that was open, but now it’s almost as traditional as milk and cookies for Santa." The Daily News wrote a piece about how it is the busiest day of the year for many Chinese restaurants who find it a challenge to staff for the day.