The wait is over yet the buzz continues. Officially open for mere hours as I write, LULU has already been christened the “sexy Palm Springs sis” of Rancho Mirage’s insanely popular, award-winning Acqua Pazza at the River. Situated downtown on the enviable corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Arenas Road, the new eatery is in…Details
My ferocious appetite for meat is well-known, so a visit to Babe’s Bar-B-Que and Brewhouse in Rancho Mirage puts me squarely in hog heaven. Founded by the late Donald W. Callender (yes, the same gent who brought us the now-ubiquitous Marie Callender’s restaurant chain) in 2002, this eatery has had me worshipping at the altar…Details
Jennifer’s Kitchen and Catering in Rancho Mirage recently saved my life. Well, not literally, of course, but in a way for which I will forever be grateful. For months I had been planning the big birthday dinner of my BFF Tom—a special meal with a special menu chosen for just a very special group of friends. But then it happened—I got the call from my favorite client who just HAD to have her guest rooms redone tout de suite. Turn down work in this economy? I don’t think so. So I moved to plan “B.”
There was no other option for me than to call on Jennifer Johnson, the chef extraordinaire who runs a tight ship catering some of the best intimate dinner parties and over-the-top weddings in the Palm Springs Valley. I stopped over to her great lunch café on 111, where we sat and chose my future soiree’s menu while I munched on an amazing Tuna Melt. This intimate birthday fete was to be for an even dozen on my condo terrace, and thankfully this was a foodie crowd so we could be a bit more adventurous than the usual (but always delicious) crab cakes that seem to be a staple of catered food.
Jennifer’s food feels far from catered fare. First off, it’s about as “green” and organic as you can get from a caterer. But the choices are almost limitless. Jennifer sent her best staff member to take care of us, a wonderful Southern gentleman named Jackie who did an outstanding job taking care of our every culinary and service need. We started with passed hors d’oeuvres of Risotto and Fontina Croquettes and Deep-fried Green Olives stuffed with Sausage and Goat Cheese, then moved on to a refreshing salad of Arugula with Caramelized Pears and Toasted Walnuts. For the main course, Tapenade-Crusted Rack of Lamb (sublime) and an amazing Three-Cheese Vegetable Lasagna (for the non-meat-eaters) were served. Needless to say, Jennifer’s special Three-Chocolate Mousse Torte was the showstopper that all expected after such an incredible meal.
I love to cook and I love to eat. Cleaning up, not so much. So this experience with Jennifer and her crew was a win-win for everyone. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll need her for MY special wedding… In the meantime, I’ll stick to her for my dinner parties. And by the way, the guest rooms of my favorite client were done in record time, and look divine.Details
The eternal Thanksgiving dilemma: Cook and eat in, or go out and give up turkey leftovers? While traveling, it’s a no-brainer, unless you’ve happened to be invited for a homecooked meal. But while sticking close to mi casa in Rancho Mirage, I’ve found plenty of great places to indulge in the highest caloric meal of…Details
One sip of my Original Hawaiian Martini told me precisely where I was—smack dab in the middle of paradise! The sweetness of pineapple, the aromatic hint of vanilla, the essence of coconut rum mingled with Skyy Vodka put me in major vacation mode and reminded me of some of my favorite tropical cruises as I…Details
We all know that great service is a top requirement of a stellar dining experience. But how can a server—or any hospitality employee, for that matter—be expected to provide exquisite assistance if he or she loathes his or her job? I’m always chatting with service industry professionals and thought it might be fun to explore…Details
The Palm Springs Convention Center was recently the site of a fundraiser for a great organization that provides nutritional help to men, women, and children from the Palm Springs Valley who are living with HIV/AIDS. And I was happy to attend with a gaggle of pals. On September 14, AAP—the AIDS Assistance Program—gathered more than…Details
Sorry to borrow a bit from Diana’s beloved alliteration with the above headline, but had such a phenomenal experience during my last stay at this deluxe Rancho Mirage resort that I just can’t contain myself. Of course, this excellent encounter had everything to do with the Westin Mission Hills’ incomparable people. Now, let me remind…Details
I don’t know about you, but I just don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like pancakes. My friend Paul—a corporate road warrior from Seattle—loves them almost as much as he loves his regular business trips down to the Palm Springs Valley. Such is his devotion to his favored flapjacks that he won’t stay anywhere else but…Details
The prodigious pink pachyderm parading down the pike in front of the Rancho Super Car Wash isn’t the only big beast in town. Driving down Highway 111 a bit further to Bob Hope Drive, you’ll come to one of the best Asian restaurants in the Palm Springs Valley, Thai Smile of Rancho Mirage. Its logo…Details