Having been born into a family of food lovers, I had the great luxury of being able to sample, savor, and come to appreciate some of the world’s greatest cuisines from a very early age. As an adult, I will try just about anything—twice, just to make sure!—and never shy away from unfamiliar foods. And being fortunate enough to live in the heart of the Palm Springs Valley, I’m never far from the fabulous eateries on Restaurants Row in Rancho Mirage.
One of my favorites happens to be bluEmber, located within the beautiful Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa. Last fall, Billy Deaver joined the resort as the property’s new executive chef, and with his 12 years of culinary experience and creative menu development, it took him no time at all to start making his mark on a restaurant that already enjoyed a sterling reputation.
Last week, I was thrilled to be able to score reservations for a very special dinner that Chef Deaver personally prepared for a group of food and wine aficionados in conjunction with Clos du Bois, one of California’s premiere wineries. Director of Winemaking Gary Sitton was on hand to share five of his label’s finest wines, all of which were paired with the deliciousness of Deaver’s dishes. We started off with Hamachi Crudo with ginger calamari, and shishito peppers, a duo that was paired with the crisp, aromatic 2010 Sauvignon Blanc. The Lobster Panade with sea beans and gremolata broth was served with the winery’s amazing 2009 Calcaire Chardonnay (very much liked at our table).
But then my dinner mates and I saw red, with a 2009 Alexander Valley Cabernet Reserve served with Roasted Elysian Lamb, and a 2009 Marlstone accompanying Slow Braised Prime Beef Cheeks with seared scallops and Peruvian potatoes. Topping off the meal was an amazing Chocolate Date Tart with sour cream gelato (mind-bogglingly good!) and the 2010 Clos du Bois Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.
Diners sat at family-sized tables with—gasp!—strangers, each of whom was a food and wine lover, and all of us ending up comparing notes on the meal, savoring every morsel with each other, and becoming fast and furious friends. Both Chef Deaver’s food and Gary Sitton’s wines were major hits, and all present vowed to meet back at the next wine dinner. But don’t feel like you have to wait until then. Stop in and experience the daily delights of bluEmber whenever you choose! www.rancholaspalmas.com