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  1. In Eugene, I'll second Toshi's for ramen and Sy's for pizza (and garlic knots). If you make it to Burrito Boy you can't go wrong with the lengua burrito. I'd also add Maple Garden for inexpensive and delicious Chinese. Marche at the 5th St. Market is arguably the best food in town. If your troupe isn't interested in fine dining for dinner, you might consider it for Sunday brunch.
  2. My wife and I just returned from our summer in Bend and can not recommend Bistro Corlise highly enough. Link We found it to be the best fine dining in Bend, hands down. The food is inventive and tasty and the entirely French wine list is a fun departure from the usual Oregon pinots. You might also consider the Blacksmith. It's been a little up and down over the years, but when it's on it's great. Cork is always dependable, as is Stacatto at the Firehall. I agree with Mayhaw on Deschutes. Great beer and pretty good pub grub. We found that the food was better at lunch than dinner. If you can get your hands on the Green Lakes Organic Ale that they aged in cabernet barrels you won't be disappointed. I would also recommend Bend Brewing Company or the Pine Tavern for al fresco dining. Both have good patios with views of Mirror Pond. Pine Tavern is the prettier setting, but I actually prefer the food and great craft beers at BBC. Their Elk Lake IPA is killer. As for dives, you can't go wrong with Pilot Butte Drive Inn. They make terrific burgers and the onion rings are worth the trip alone. If you're feeling up to it they'll make you their signature 64oz. burger, which you can then "carve" at your table. Finally, I would avoid Merenda. It gets tons of press and it's always busy, but the food is mediocre at best and the service terrible. Bend is a beautiful spot, enjoy your trip!
  3. Are we talking Palm Springs specifically, or the desert as a whole? As always, I reccomed Zin in Palm Springs for excellent food in a casual setting. The wine list is full of hidden gems and the service is warm and friendly. I have heard good things about Spencer's, but have yet to make the trip myself. As mentioned above, El Mexicali in Indio is special, and about as down home as it gets. If the shrimp stuffed peppers don't look "interesting" to you, I'm not sure what will. They're simply phenomenal, as are the chavelas. My favorite for slightly more refined Mexican food is RosAmarillo, on the corner of 50th and Jefferson in Indio. They have the best chiles colorado and verde I've ever had. For casual in Palm Springs, check out Tyler's burgers and prepare to wait in line. They're worth it. I still reccomend Blend in La Quinta for perhaps the best food in the desert. It's great food in a funky atmosphere without all the wannabes and hipsters you'll often find in PD and PS.
  4. Can anyone tell me if it's possible to order gift boxes from Jean-Philippe online or by phone? We recently received a gift box and it was beautiful, as well as delicious. Thanks, Eric
  5. Thanks for the DHS report. I've been meaning to check out Palm Korea for a while now. For what it's worth, the next time you come to the desert you might consider the excellent spas in La Quinta or Indian Wells. Granted, they're not nearly as isolated as those in DHS, but you're within striking distance of some very decent meals. Eric
  6. EricB

    Kylie Kwong

    I actually can't stand the show, (I find her screen presence rather smug and WAY too over the top with the soft-focus, Cinemax-style editing) but I love her food! My wife and I are hooked on her stir-fried cucumber dish. It's an amazing dish and perfect for the odd vegeterian dinner. I now record the show on the DVR and fast forward through all the "content" and go straight to the recipes.
  7. As a follow up to the info I provided in the links above I would also suggest Sullivan's as a good option for entertaining clients. It's a great steakhouse and probably the liveliest atmosphere in Palm Desert. They also make the best martinis in town which, along with a very decent wine list, could either help or kill a business deal. I also reccomended Mr. Parker's in my last post based solely on its reputation and have since had the opportunity to dine there. While the atmosphere is incredibly cool, (you can find photos online if you google the hotel,) the food was a little underwhelming. The starters were all creative and delicious, especially a very nice smoked monkfish, but the entrees were a little flat. I would also again recommend Desert Sage in La Quinta as perhaps the best fine dining in the desert. Eric
  8. It may not be your thing for breakfast, (or at all,) but there's a Panda Express at the bottom of the Grapevine. If you like chow mein in the morning (I know I do ) it may not be a bad option. Otherwise, I agree with the others here. Brown bag it and keep on driving.
  9. Thanks for the great report and photos. I'm quite excited to try this place on my next visit!
  10. You made the right decision. I had dinner at Rao's last Sunday night and it was, shall we say, underwhelming. Perhaps our first clue that things were awry should have been the group leaving the restaurant who were visibly angry and saying things along the lines of, "that's the worst food I've ever had!" I won't say that it was that bad, but it was dissapointing. The service was inattentive, bordering on absent, and left us sitting for nearly thirty minutes without water while our check was settled (dinner was comped, and had I not been a guest, I would have been a bit more vocal in my displeasure.) The salads were fair, including an arugula and roasted beet salad that was saved by a very funky (in a good way) gorgonzola. The pastas could be recreated by anyone with a pot of water and the will to eat, and my osso bucco was dry and relatively bland. All in all, Rao's was not a place to which I'd return. That said, we had a fabulous dinner at Bouchon the night prior. The cost was far less than Rao's and the food was terrific from the oysters to the boudin noir. I can't reccomend it highly enough, especially if you are looking for a simpler "compromise" dinner. -Eric
  11. If I'm not mistaken, there was mention of this show in Buford's "New Yorker" article on Ramsay. Seems to me that they are already filming episodes, but I'd have to double check the article for details. Eric
  12. Thanks for the quick reply, Tess. I think it's going to be hard to pass up a poolside burger. We usually stay at the Bellagio and my one great hope is that the mai tais at the Rio are good as the Bellagio's. Besides, with the nice chunk of pinapple included, who needs lunch? Eric
  13. My wife and I are headed to the Rio next weekend and I was wondering if anyone had any casual dining tips to share. Our dinners are planned but I was curious if anyone could reccomend a spot for lunch. We had dinner at Buzio's last year and it was fine, but I don't think I'd go back. Has anyone tried the Indian restaurant there? Or the Japanese? We usually go for something simple (burgers by the pool) but if anyone can reccomend something better, or more exciting, we'd really appreciate it. Thanks, Eric
  14. Good, cheap eats are not hard to find here in the desert, especially if Mexican food is your thing. I think the best Mexican in town is at El Mexicali in Indio. It is literally adjacent to the train tracks off of Indio Boulevard. The food is phenomenal (the campechana is my favorite and their chile rellenos are the best I've ever had) and it's dirt cheap. In Palm Desert, La Casita is always a good choice. There are several outposts of this local favorite around the desert and everyone has their own preference. I'd go for the one in Palm Desert off of Country Club. Again, this place is tasty and very reasonably priced. If you'd like to branch out into Latin American food (with the option of some Mexican classics,) try Tierra Mia in Palm Desert. I had dinner there last night and it was superb. The cochinita pibil was so good I was planning my next visit before I finished dinner. My wife had a Peruvian dish of chicken and potatoes cooked in a yellow pepper sauce that was unlike anything I've tasted before. It was incredibly good. Given the very low prices, this may be the best deal in the valley. For other deals, since you seem to have no aversion to the odd cocktail , you might also think about hitting one of the many happy hours around town. For the money, you can't beat the Yardhouse in Rancho Mirage (5 minutes from Palm Desert). They have an epic slection of beers and the food is very good for a chain. In Palm Desert, the Red Barn and the Firehouse are two of the more popular watering holes. Both have deals on drinks pretty much every night of the week and are more local hangouts than tourist traps. As for supermarkets, you'll have no problem finding one regardless of where your hotel is. As mentioned prior, Trader Joes is always good for snackdown foods and decent tequila. -Eric
  15. I'll put in a plug for Pinot Brasserie at the Venetian, as I haven't read much about it here. My wife and I had wonderful dinner there in April. It was the night after our L'Atelier experience, which I discussed in the Robuchon thread, and Pinot was a perfect counterpoint to all I found lacking with L'Atelier. To be sure, Pinot serves much less elaborate brasserie food, but it was delicious, the service was friendly and attentive and the room is quiet and understated, which I find to be a real bonus in Vegas. The highlight of our tasting menus was a beautifully seared foie gras served over pieces of spiced pumpkin. It was a flavor pairing that I never would have considered and it was as delicious as any foie gras I've had. In addition to the food, we found a great Oregon Pinot Noir on the wine list that didn't break the bank and had such a nice time chatting with the bartender before dinner that we came back and visited him the next night. I don't think that Pinot Brasserie is or will ever be considered "destination" dining in the way the Mansion, Picasso, Alex, Savoy, etc. are. But, of all the fine dining experiences I've had in Las Vegas it was the least "Veags" of all. That in itself seems worth a great deal. Eric
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