2 Golden Spoons
I’ve been to dish before and was dish-appointed. However, friends pushed me to give it another try. I decided to stop by for lunch. I sat in the bar area. Looks nice, but the high-boy tables with low back seats are really uncomfortable. Also of note, at noon, the place was empty. Hmm. I ordered the grilled cheese sandwich. The description sounded lovely. White cheddar, guacamole, zucchini, mushrooms and sprouts. $12 Served with pomme frites or a Caesar salad for an additional $2. I opted for the Caesar. The service was friendly but the delivery was slow. A little surprising considering the lack of customers and the simplicity of the dish. Took about 35 minutes. When the plate arrived, the presentation was actually quite nice. The sandwich was diagonally sliced into two halves, perfectly stacked on top of one another and secured with an embellished toothpick. The Caesar was neatly set to the side, lightly dressed and the romaine was beautifully dark and fresh. My mouth was watering. I picked up the sandwich and took my first bite, expecting something special. But…the sandwich was dry with way too many sprouts and almost no cheese!!! The raw zucchini and mushrooms were a nice touch, but again, dry and overpowering and there was almost no guacamole. This really was a misrepresented dish. More like grilled bread with a load of veg, no seasoning, and little flavor. What a disappointment. And on to the Caesar. How could such a sumptuous looking salad be so bland and flavorless? I guess the beauty of dish lies in the presentation, but I have to dish dish when it comes to timing, texture, and taste.
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.
A Rare Experience
Friends have been encouraging us for years to dine at Palm Springs’ only French/Belgian Bistro, Pomme Frite. I have no idea why we shied away from making a visit until recently, but we were really missing out on a wonderful charming dining experience. Our first outing was for lunch. The Owner, Jean-Claude Constant, greeted us and escorted us to a lovely street-side table in an adorable café style setting with quaint French music playing in the background. We were immediately offered drinks and given menus.
A delectable selection of traditional and innovative fare were offered including an extensive assortment of mussel dishes. I was immediately drawn to the Petite Steak Tartare with Toasts. A “rare” find anywhere today, but I’d never seen it in Palm Springs! If not done right, it can be absolutely awful, not to mention unhealthy. I had to order it.
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.
Match Box, Palm Springs, Ca.
4 Golden Spoons
One of my favorite places for lunch, Matchbox in Palm Springs, has some of the best thin-crust pizzas this side of Italy! They tell me that the trick is a wood-fired masonry oven that heats up to over 800 degrees which gives the pizza a crisp, smoky crust. They also have a selection of fantastic appetizers, salads, sandwiches and entrees, but I always gravitate when having lunch for two to split a salad and small pizza. Today, we started with a delightful salad special of sliced pickled cucumbers with an assortment of toy box tomatoes topped with micro-greens. The cucumbers are sweet, tart, and crisp and the tomatoes are tossed in a wonderful tangy herb vinaigrette.
It’s actually the perfect marriage of flavors and textures. Delish. We accompanied that with the restaurant’s signature pizza bread. Shaped like a pretzel and sprinkled with coarse salt, it is crunchy on the outside and slightly chewy (in a good way) on the inside. Served with house-made garlic herb butter, this is one of my favorite breads on the planet. For our pizza course, we shared a small pizza which Matchbox will let you mix half and half. (more…)
2 Golden Spoons
Okay. So I was sold on the infomercial hype. Veggetti seemed like a cool tool to spiral your way to oodles of vegetable “noodles.” Just twist a zucchini into this little gadget and you have ribbons of fresh veggie strips for a quick stir fry. I’ve been doing this myself for years with an old fashioned vegetable peeler but this seemed so much easier I had to give it a go. Since I didn’t want to wait a few days for the TV offer, I went online and discovered that Bed, Bath, & Beyond and them in stock so I rushed out to the store and, $14.99 later, I had my Veggetti in hand.
I decided to test a zucchini, just like on TV. What I quickly realized is that, unlike with the traditional peeler, you needed your veg to be just the right size for the twisting tube. Too big and it won’t fit and too small and you run the risk of slipping and grating off a fingertip. Ouch. I almost actually did this.
So, with the perfect sized legume, I quickly grated a nice little bowl of noodles. However, there is a lot of waste involved as you can’t twist the entire veg in the grater. You lose an inch or so. I also tried a carrot. Not quite the right size and not quite as effective. Bottom line. It’s a fun idea but other kitchen tools do the trick more easily and veg-effectively. I hate to waste food. Only 2 Golden Spoons for the Veggetti. Nice try, but really more of a gimmick than a must-have tool.
Billy Reed’s, Palm Springs, Ca.
4 ½ Golden Spoons
This is actually a tough restaurant to review. One of my absolute favorites in Palm Springs for so many reasons. I’ve had dozens and dozens of meals there over the years and have never been disappointed. Consistently great comfort food and exceptional friendly service in a homey setting. It’s the kind of place that my grandparents used take me to when I was a child that we considered “fancy” for special occasions that today I know as just a great place for every day breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (more…)