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
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.
4 Golden Spoons
Finally, we found it! The best little authentic Italian cafe for lunch in Rome. We literally stumbled upon this cafe on a side street near the Piazza Barberini. We were actually planning on having lunch at a chi chi rooftop restaurant at the Hotel Boscolo Aleph, but it was mysteriously closed. Disappointed, we wandered down the street and jumped out of the way of a bus to land in front of Locanda where a warm Italian gentlemen with a nice smile, Giuseppe, was standing and offered us a menu.
The dishes featured seemed very authentic to the area with classic rustic descriptions and the prices were exceptionally reasonable.There were also daily specials on a hand written chalkboard that sounded delightful. We asked Giuseppe for table for two and were promptly seated street side under a canopied seating area with acrylic walls just inches from the rushing traffic. It was a little unnerving when buses whooshed by, but a bit fun as well. (more…)
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…)
There are many reasons why the Regina Hotel Baglioni in Rome is considered one of the finest hotels in the world. They even make having a martini a luxurious experience. Believe it or not, a personal tray of delectables is complimentary with your drink. A petite prosciutto club sandwich, delicately fried potato fritters, and a shot of garbanzo balsamic soup with micro croutons. Sublime.
2 1/2 Golden Spoons
As we were walking out of our hotel in Rome one afternoon, I was talking with my husband, Robert, about craving Classic Italian pizza for lunch. A man just in front of our hotel quickly interrupted our conversation saying he worked for a restaurant just around the corner which was known for its pizza and he asked us to follow him. I’m usually very dubious about these things so I don’t know why I threw caution to the wind and decided to accept his invitation. It’s probably because Robert is 6 foot 3 and works out five days a week. I think someone unscrupulous would choose less intimidating prey. (more…)