4 1/2 Golden Spoons
Tyleriffic – Best Fast Causal Burgers
Tyler’s Burgers in Palm Springs has been a well-known haunt in Palm Springs for locals and visitors since 1996. I have no idea why I’ve waited so long to visit this place, by today was finally the day. A terrific outdoor setting in Palm Spring’s historic downtown Plaza shopping area, Tyler’s offers terrific fast-casual fare. We tried two of their burgers with an order of fries to share. The traditional Cheese Burger was moist, perfectly cooked and loaded with lettuce, pickles, and onions on a wonderfully soft bun. Yum.
Like the burger you expect at a great a family picnic. Fresh ingredients, a generous patty, and a simple presentation in a paper lined basket. The Turkey Burger had similar traits. Again, moist and delicious. What a value at $7.50 with full table service.
We were lucky enough to be seated in Michelle’s area. Greeted with a warm smile and lots of menu suggestions. Michelle was attentive, engaging, and spot-on to make sure our iced teas were bottomless. We also ordered a small order of fries. Crisp, nicely salted, and hot out-of-the kitchen. Delicious and only $3.50 for a portion that was so generous that we had enough to take home for an afternoon snack.
I honestly think that you can’t beat Tyler’s for a quick lunch that is a terrific alternative to flavorless fast-food and over-priced pretentious gourmet burger restaurants. And, again, ask for Michelle if you are looking for super service.
2 1/2 Golden Spoons
I had heard some good things about the newly opened Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge in Palm Springs, so when I was invited by a friend to dine there for lunch, I was looking forward to the experience. When we arrived, we were quickly greeted by several of the staff who clearly knew my host. The lounge is striking. High ceilings, brilliant white furnishings and fixtures, pops of fuchsia and chrome. The same décor flows into the very spacious dining room. Very nicely done.
However, the seating is intentionally mismatched from Victorian high back chairs with pink cushions to low white industrial metal chairs. I ended up in one of the metal chairs which had no seat pad and was very uncomfortable. The menu was eclectic, touted as being West Coast Modern. I actually found it borderline Hollywood pretentious with descriptions like Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor and Olorosso Sherry and Wild Mushroom Ragout. However, I must admit it peaked my interest.
I opted for the Smoked Chicken Breast Caesar Salad. Others in my group made more daring choices, but I always feel you can always judge a restaurant by the quality of its Caesar Salad. Service was prompt and our dishes arrived quickly. The Caesar was odd from the start. A pile of torn leaves of romaine lettuce with sliced chicken breast on the side.
The entire plate was smattered with an over-powering pepper lemon mixture. The dressing was a tart vinaigrette. The chicken was dry and very sweet. I don’t see how they call this a Caesar Salad. It is more of a Nero salad because of the burning sour after taste. Needless to say, I did not enjoy it.
However, one of the other guests had a Ratatouille Tart with squash and eggplant that tasted lovely. But, again, it really wasn’t a ratatouille or a tart. It was stacks of uncooked veggies next to a folded pancake in a tomato sauce. I think the chef is trying too hard. The rest of lunch was unremarkable. Will I give Eight4Nine another try? Maybe….it is a really beautiful setting. But….overall it 8nt4Me. There are just too many fantastic dining choices in Palm Springs.
5 Golden Spoons
A Dash of Deliciousness
Trace has been a favorite lunch stop of mine for years. I don’t know why I haven’t reviewed it sooner because it is an absolute gem with consistently creative cuisine and exceptional service. This week, I popped over to entertain a couple of clients. We were warmly greeted by the hostess and escorted to a terrific mauve/purple leather booth surrounded by white string curtains. An immediate score for ambiance.
We were quickly greeted by our waiter, Damien, who is an absolute superstar server. He has a terrific knowledge of the menu and is incredibly engaging. My guests were impressed. Another score! At his suggestion, we shared appetizers of candied Brussel sprouts with balsamic and garlic and sweet potato fries with a blue cheese mayo. Yum.
Trump International Hotel & Tower, Chicago
5 Golden Spoons
A last-minute hotel booking turned into a culinary adventure. When we visit Chicago, we usually stay at the Waldorf, but this trip we decided to try something new and reserved a room at the Trump. After a day of travel, we arrived at the hotel in the early evening. We were tired and hadn’t made any dinner plans so we decided to stay in and dine at the hotel. There were basically two options for a meal; a snack type small bite menu in the bar or the hotel’s upscale dining experience, Sixteen.
After dropping our bags in our room, we took the elevator down to the sixteenth floor. Just steps after the doors closed, we were warmly greeted by a charming hostess, Sandy, who showed us menus for both restaurants. One option offered burgers, sandwiches, and diner fare while the other was an elaborate fine-dining tasting experience of what appeared to be a rather pretentious prix-fixe with dishes described in over-flowery detail. We opted for the prix-fixe. Sandy called over the Restaurant Manager of Sixteen, Jessica, who said she would check to see if she could find us a table and if the chef was prepared for additional guests. Hmm. I could see that Jessica took her position very seriously and that maybe, just maybe, we had stumbled into something spectacular.
5 Golden Spoons
One of my absolute favorite restaurants in the country, Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas never disappoints. The cuisine, service, ambiance, and overall experience is consistently wonderful. This trip, as often happens, we enjoyed three of our absolute favorite dishes. We started with the Blue Corn Pancake with Barbecued Duck and a Habanero Chile Sauce. The duck is moist, smoky, and rich.
The Falls, Palm Springs, Ca.
1 Golden Spoon
We started our experience in the bar. Dominic pourer our Martinis complete with a panache of dry ice. Very fun and he was charming. We actually became excited about the potential experience based upon his great care. But…then everything went downhill.
We were escorted to a corner table and presented with menus. Atmosphere was fine, but tired. We perused the menu which was a traditional steak house menu but the descriptions were lackluster. This should have been a sign. We opted for The Falls Caesar Salad described only as “Prepared from Scratch Table Side for Two for $20.” Seemed safe.
2 1/2 Golden Spoons
I had such high expectations for this restaurant, located in Rome’s most luxurious and prestigious hotel. I was even more excited as we had cocktails in the lounge two nights in a row with spectacular bar snacks prepared by the chef. However, when we decided to actually have a full dinner at Brunello, the experience was less than disappointing. We were seated in a much too brightly lit dining room at a table with barrel chairs too short to eat at the table properly. We needed pillows on our seat and behind our backs just to be able to sit up. Bad sign of design.
We almost walked out at this point, yet were so impressed by our server, Sylvia, that we pressed on. The menu was intriguing. A long list of specialties including a unique authentic country style selection. Prices ran from about $25-$35 for starters with entrees in the $30-$50 range. Definitely on the upper end.
Gelato is a local speciality in Portoferraio Italy, a gorgeous little port known for its big iron mines and little exiled resident, Napoleon, who lived here for a short time. Ironic.
4 1/2 Golden Spoons
Yes, another 4 1/2 Golden Spoon experience. Your probably thinking that I’m too generous with my reviews, but that really isn’t the case. I’ve just been lucky enough lately to fall into some of the best dining experiences of my life. Cafe Veneto was another amazing find. We were casually walking the streets of Rome when we came upon a charming well dressed gentlemen who was standing in front of an elegant restaurant of about twenty tables housed in a gleaming glass cube directly on Via Vittorio Veneto. He asked us to look at the menu which had a wonderful selection of local delicacies. We weren’t hungry, but we’re so impressed with him and his promise of a great dining experience that we took his business card and vowed to return. In fact, the next evening we did return and he remembered us. We were seated at a elegantly dressed table with bright white linens and gleaming glass and silverware. A live duo was singing with a list of classic romantic american tunes. (more…)