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Sweet Willie

Palm Desert / Palm Springs Restaurants

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:laugh: I saw that link in the thread rjwong linked above, thanks, Jamie!

Somehow I"m not sure if Lord Fletcher's will fit into my tequila and rock-n-roll weekend! although I have been known to have a huge craving for iceberg and Thousand Island :laugh: and if you're going to make your own Thousand Island, I highly recommend using Kewpie Japanese Mayo :wink:


Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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I'm not a vegetarian by any means, but I used to eat at native Foods regularly. If you decide to go, try the tempeh burger with grilled mushrooms.


Edited by Carlsbad (log)

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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 :biggrin: , 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

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Hi from a NJ egullet member.

A good friend of mine is going to a business conference at the Marriot Palm Desert resort. He needs some good restaurant (besides the ones at the Marriott location) recommendations in the area to take clients out to.

Does anyone have some suggestions as I would really appreciate them.

TIA

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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


Edited by EricB (log)

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Last night we were too tired to explore after the long drive in an incessant rain. Since we're staying at the Marriott resort in Palm Desert, we went a block up the street to the Cork Tree. It was a thoroughly uninspired and average meal. With our wine we spent about $50 pp plus tip and we were all happy with our food, but not excited. To me it was an upscare bennigans-type restaurant. I had a foie brulee which just tasted like liver to me. Anyway, not one that I would say to avoid, but not one that I would recommend either. Wait staff was very nice and very attentive - thanks Ricco.

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We tried out a little place in Palm Springs today for a late lunch - Euro Cafe. I really wanted to love this place. Its obviously run by the "little guy trying to make it." He serves hungarian/Greek/Bosnian style foods. When we walked in he called his wife down to start cooking again. Three of us had cabbage rolls and one had a spanakopita. We all enjoyed the meal, but it was certainly not fancy.

gallery_41282_4708_11931.jpg

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We tried out a little place in Palm Springs today for a late lunch - Euro Cafe.  I really wanted to love this place.  Its obviously run by the "little guy trying to make it."  He serves hungarian/Greek/Bosnian style foods.  When we walked in he called his wife down to start cooking again.  Three of us had cabbage rolls and one had a spanakopita.  We all enjoyed the meal, but it was certainly not fancy. 

gallery_41282_4708_11931.jpg

Rob, I don't understand. You said you "wanted to love this place" and you "all enjoyed the meal, but it was certainly not fancy." Were you expecting fancy?? The cafe sounds like a place to have a good home-cooked meal, away from home.

If you want fancy, try Los Angeles. LA does have a few "fancy" restaurants ... :raz:


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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:) I wanted to love this place because I root for the little guy, and the owner was very nice. I wasn't looking for fancy, just a good solid meal. I got that, but only that. It was good down-home cooking. Anyway, tomorrow we're aiming for Zin for dinner and the vegetarian place for lunch, so we're raising the bar on our expectations.

EDITED TO ADD: I think a lot of my opinion is bellied in the fact that I had no idea what this area was about. I had this vision of fast cars, the jet set and fancy meals. What I'm finding (not to say that version of reality doesn't exist) is elderly retirees and rich who lean toward more conservative dining. So this incongruence has been skewing me. Today, having had this awareness, I'll be dining with a different lens and I'm looking forward to some great meals.

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Tonight we went to Zin American Bistro. It was another good meal. I had the stuffed zucchini blossoms for an appetizer, and for entree a monkfish wrapped in prosciutto. The wine was a Landmark Overlook 05. Dessert was a banana cream napoleon. Service was good although not well informed. I asked for a wine pairing with the monkfish and was offered a merlot...I'm not wine expert but that seemed odd.

Lunch was at Native Foods, a 4 store local vegan chain. We all enjoyed our meals there.

As I go into my last day (which my family is revolting that I have 4 meals planned for tomorrow) I think anyone reading this topic in the future should basically throw out the list and start over. The meals we've had have all been good, but I think there might be enough changes that it would be worth digging up some new winners. We kept driving by places that looked interesting, but couldn't work them into our schedule. My other recommendation is - in case you don't know it (I didn't) Palm Springs, Palm Dessert, Indio and the other communities are basically one from a tourist perspective, so be sure to read all the various topics about the different communities.

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We're done - and stuffed like pigs. For lunch we explored, and found the Cafe de Beaux Arts on El Paseo. I had the quiche lorainne, potato leek soup; others had the caesar, crepes with mushrooms. We all thought this was the best meal of the trip. Dessert was a "flan" but it was more like a flan cheesecake - very good. I also had a wonderful wine with mine a Chardonnay Fortant.

Then we were killing time before dinner (after the zoo and art museum) and stumbled across La Quinta Baking Co. What a find! While their pastries weren't over the top, they were certainly solid and I even bought a whole apple tart which is unusual for me (I don't like the commitment of a whole tart) - but it was so beautiful!

Dinner was at Mexacanli as highlighted above. Another super meal. We did get the campechana that someone earlier had talked about - it was good. The rellenos were also the best I've ever had - and I've had a lot. But the highlight was Chiles Gueritas Rellenos de Camaron (Fried yellow peppers stuffed with shrimp) served with mayo and soy sauce - I know! Odd huh?! But, man was that good eatin'! They refused to give us any insight into the recipe or cooking method, so I'll be tinkering around to try and recreate it.

gallery_41282_4708_6640.jpg

So again, I highly encourage exploration and reporting by anyone who visits the Palm Springs area in the future. I drove by a dozen places I wanted to try and didn't because of time. Just start fresh and see what's out there.

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Rob, thanks for being the guinea pig and eating your way through the Palm Springs / Palm Desert area!!

:)  I wanted to love this place because I root for the little guy, and the owner was very nice.  I wasn't looking for fancy, just a good solid meal.  I got that, but only that.  It was good down-home cooking.  Anyway, tomorrow we're aiming for Zin for dinner and the vegetarian place for lunch, so we're raising the bar on our expectations.

EDITED TO ADD: I think a lot of my opinion is bellied in the fact that I had no idea what this area was about.  I had this vision of fast cars, the jet set and fancy meals.  What I'm finding (not to say that version of reality doesn't exist) is elderly retirees and rich who lean toward more conservative dining.  So this incongruence has been skewing me.  Today, having had this awareness, I'll be dining with a different lens and I'm looking forward to some great meals.

Did you get a chance to look at the two threads I referred to in an earlier post? Those of us in LA & SoCal area already know that Palm Springs is NOT Los Angeles! We just take it for granted that everybody knows, perhaps. "The fast cars, the jet set and fancy meals" that you're referring to is probably in Hollywood, the Sunset Strip, and maybe downtown LA (just signs of it there).

Good luck on replicating the Chiles Gueritas Rellenos de Camaron!!


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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I did get to those threads which were very informative - but we were pretty well stuck here in the palm area. And we were very happy with our meals, and probably enjoyed today more than the previous days because we adjusted our expectations. I think there are probably many hidden gems in the area that are waiting to be discovered.

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We are spending a week in Palm Desert later this month and want to find worthwhile dining both on the high and low end of the spectrum. What are the good spots for breakfast? Unique and tasty regional dishes or foods to try ?

Much as I long to get out of Minnesota weather - southwest sunshine won't be enough sustenance. I want to eat like an insider.

Thanks -- Beth

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I've made notes on your notes. Thanks for the report so far El Mexicali is a must and I may try Zin and maybe Chez Pierre.

I'll report but I'm not sure I'm as rigorously committed to an eating schedule as you. Too old and can't take it anymore!!

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Thanks to EricB and other, local, advice I tried Sullivan's twice, not long ago; it stood out from comparable restaurants tried elsewhere. What struck me most was bold, intense flavors where many restaurants stay safe by dumbing them down. A seared Ahi appetizer came with uninhibited ginger and horseradish-mustard garnishes; the automatic iceberg-wedge salad with a main course had an edgy fresh-garlic vinaigrette (like I make at home) underlying its blue cheese. Order of sautéed mushroom caps came finished in what seemed like Madeira, onion puree, and butter, yielding wonderful juices. When I requested French bread to soak them up, a fresh-baked dense crusty unsliced mini-loaf arrived that did the duty superbly, with leftover bread for next day's breakfast. The bar-area ambiance when busy resembled a scene from The Big Sleep. Live jazz nightly from 4:30 or so, with an older duo -- sax and piano -- playing with feeling, on a Monday night, worth going just to hear. Happy-hour deal Thursdays and Sundays drops bar plates to $5. The bar did feature Martinis, though the specialty wasn't any classic Martini but one of the recent sweet neo-Martinis based on a tank of vodka with pineapple soaking in it. I did try some of the flavored vodka on request and it would make a fine after-dinner liqueur, if that's your style, but when I asked a capable bartender to make a really old-fashioned (pre-olive!) Martini he did so, well, but clearly an unusual request. (No orange bitters on hand -- "we do have basic 'bitters' " -- no thanks, I said -- the lemon twists will do the job.) I noticed that the well-chosen, eclectic wine list had a couple of the good Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs of another current eG thread. Talking to the wine buyer, I mentioned how popular these are in the Bay Area now and suggested offering more, and by the glass. He was ahead of me -- already tried it, but the partly vacationer customers didn't respond well to the unfamiliar labels -- the trade tended toward "domesticated" wine tastes, he said -- but still, with a little selling ... (New wines are like that: people resist the unfamiliar, but if it's a style they like, they go for it once they finally try it.)

The few Sullivan's sites belong to the Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon chain, with what restaurant analyst Mark Hamstra termed a "three-tiered steak-house strategy -- with the [large] Lone Star chain at the casual end, Del Frisco's at the high end and Sullivan's somewhere in the middle." Still I'm accustomed to being underwhelmed by chain steakhouses. Ruth's Chris was fine enough in its early locations, but by the 1990s often served things like mushy dull vegetables, and presently seemed hard to distinguish from any other chain. This Sullivan's in PD, in my experiences so far, was more like the truly one-of-a-kind, independent local steakhouses found in lucky parts of the US.

Couple good lunches at the bustling Café de Beaux-Arts (73-640 El Paseo, not far from Sullvan's) with a staff that was attentive (and responsive to a tight timing one time); French is spoken. And though it was a very light meal, at the pleasant unpretentious inexpensive family-run Back Street Bistro (72-820 El Paseo), which offers live music certain days.

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Yup, the Mrs. and I are also headed out that way in April. We see lots of chains listed in the area, but nothing interesting-looking. PLEASE, any suggestions? From the teeny-tiniest hot dog stand to a fancy 4-star, is there anything worth EATING in Palm Springs?


The best part of the Guiniea Pig? The Cheeks! Definately the cheeks!!

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Unfortunately, that is one area in Southern California I haven't dined as much. Perhaps, I should do some culinary research out there before I become of retirement age ...

FYI I'm somewhere between forty and death ...


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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