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Sep 29, 2007 11:11 PM







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  1. A new restaurant just opened at the recently restored Colony Palms Hotel. It's called the Purple Pam and it is fabulous. They says it is Mediteranean but it is rather eclectic. Several fish dishes are on the menu. Try to get an outside table with awesome views of the mountains as well as the action in the couryard. Dinner is by far their best meal.

    5 Replies
    1. re: stevenohren

      Awesome!! That is the hotel I am staying at. I guess I will save gas and go there.
      Thank you Steven

      1. re: stevenohren

        I am in Palm Springs now for about four days. Full reports to follow when I get home, but wanted to put in my two cents here: had dinner tonight at Purple Palm. Setting is indeed gorgeous, as is the hotel in general. However, dinner was one of my more disappointing in recent memory, with overly fussy and heavy-handed food. Yes, it might be eclectic in the sense that every dish has multiple ingredients, and yet it all tasted the same. not good and I would not dine there again.

        If you must have that beautiful setting, have a drink at the bar: my pear and rosemary martini was decent and the view from the bar is the exact same one you get from those outside tables. The 'action in the coutyard' consists primarily of a lovely swimming pool framed by those beautiful mountains and palm trees, along with some art-deco era trimmings....

        Johannes, OTOH, was great in every respect and I'd go there again in a heartbeat. Will post a full report later.

        Haven't gotten to Zin and probably won't make it there, but it isn't open for lunch yet, at least during the week. Atmosphere is very plain/storefronty and doesn't appeal to me (close together tables) but I imagine the food could be a whole lot better than Purple Palm (it almost has to be). It is definitely more reasonably priced than Purple Palm.

        Tomorrow some colleagues and I are thinking of heading out towards Indio in search of some downscale Mexican food....

        1. re: susancinsf

          I had a very different experience at the Purple Palm. I went two nights in a row and my food was amazing.

        2. re: stevenohren


          We went to the Purple Palm for New Year's based on some on-line searches and recommendation of a friend who works in Palm Springs. Because it was New Year's, we expected that this would not be their best presentation, but a solid representative of their offerings.

          We arrived 10 minutes before our reservation time of 9:15. We decided to grab a drink and wait at the bar. And wait. And wait. And wait. This wouldn't have been so bad if the bartenders had had an ounce of personality. We were treated like we had the plague rather than paying customers. They were out (huh?) of one of their signature cocktails, the Morocco cocktail. And because we spent so much time at the bar, I got to watch one bartender skimp on his cocktails. Where the menu said that the drink included Cointreau, he used Triple Sec. That's either the sign of a bad or incompetent bartender.

          Finally, we were seated at 10. I don't know where to begin with this meal. What a disaster! There is such a thing as too much creativity. The first plate was a checkerboard of halibut and Atlantic salmon. Atlantic salmon! Are you kidding me? I do not expect farmed salmon at a fine restaurant. The next course for me was the "Arctic char." When the kitchen boy (where was the waiter?) brought the dish out, he said "salmon filet." I corrected him and he said, "Oh yeah, arctic char." He was right the first time. It was an overcooked piece of the whitest piece of salmon that I have ever seen at a restaurant. While the presentation was superb on all of the dishes all night long, I wish that they had actually tasted their food at some point. My husband had the pickled beet/ruby red grapefruit/lobster salad (huh?). It tasted as bad as it sounds. Enough said.

          The next course of the night was the highlight. It was a vegetable soup. I don't know if I liked it so much because I was starving, but my memory of this was that it was really good. Maybe the main entrees were going to be OK after all. Was I wrong! First, the waiter brings the wine pairings. He brought wines for the wrong entrees. The wines were OK, but not well paired for the meals. I had the New York strip which was tough and cold. It tasted fine, but reminiscent of an early bird special at Denny's. My husband had the saltimbocca that looked nothing like any that I've seen before. The thing tasted like a leftover casserole from a high school cafeteria.

          Finally (it was midnight), dessert arrived. I had the chocolate cake which was good, but not memorable. My husband had the panna cotta which was good, until I ruined it by taking a bite of the ice cream. It was sitting on a bed of diced garlic. Garlic! Garlic for dessert? Someone needs to go back to culinary school. In fact, this whole event reminded me of a bad episode of Top Chef, and I wouldn't have been surprised if someone came out at the end of the meal and told me that.

          The check arrived. $165 per person. Damn! I would have gladly spent this amount had I enjoyed the meal. We reluctantly paid and got out. The only consolation of the night is that a minor celebrity (Jeff Lewis from Bravo's "Flipping Out") was sitting at the table next to us and they received even worse service than we did. They still hadn't received their entrees by midnight.

          All in all, this place is in a cool location (I really like the pool/courtyard), but the food was awful and service not much better. I think that the most telling thing about the place is that twice in two days while driving past the place there was a pizza delivery guy parked in front of the place. Eater beware!

          Happy New Year!

          1. re: brgross

            WOW, what a nightmare. It is very disorganized there. The food is odd but I had a few good dishes. Try the soufflés, I had pear and chocolate yummy. I would have to say the atmosphere is worth going for. The courtyard and mountains are beautiful.

            We stayed at the Colony Palms Inn and I loved it. They keep the rooms at 74, which I couldn't sleep in. Hope they fix that.

        3. I assume you have already come to Palm Springs but I would like to mention that Blend, Cuistot, Sirocco and Twenty 6 are not in Palm Springs. They are actually about 30-45 minutes east.
          In Palm Springs - Norma's is great for breakfast or lunch. So is Philippe's. Spencer’s has an ok lunch although the food in not always consistent, imo.
          Matchbox and Zin are two very different restaurants. (they were together so wasn’t sure if there was confusion.) Matchbox is casual food, casual service but has a good bar at night with happy hour food. Zin is casual but much better food and a great wine list. There is word on the street Zin is expanding and might open for lunch so depending on when you come they might be an option as well.
          Melvyn’s is 70’s food with 70’s service with a piano lounge at night. Very old school but not a real great dining experience but more of a trip back in time :).
          Eat at Hotel Zozo has a decent lunch as well.
          Hope you had a good time and this is good for someone!

          3 Replies
          1. re: psfoodgirl

            Thanks. I had lunch there once. Definitely mediocre but it had a very cozy dining room and fire place.

              1. re: susancinsf

                Cuistot. sorry don't know how that part of the conversation got lost.

                After this last trip I will never go back to Cuistot. I guess I was drawn to the snooty atmosphere being used to the way things are here in LA, but the food was horrible. My mom sent her salmon back and it still came back grey, yuck. The waiter never apologized. The weird thing is, is that they always have these weird fashion shows while your eating. Nice atmosphere with out the fashion models/sales women.

          2. I wouldn't recommend Cuistot - we had a very mediocre meal there.

            2 Replies
              1. re: torta basilica

                I agree. Cuistot used to be excellent but when it moved to its present and much larger location it began to serve expensive banquet food. A real shame.

              2. Ok, So I tried Normas, OMG so good!!!!
                Also, my new favorite is Al Dente. I know it is not a 5 star restaurants but I had the most consistent good meals. I will go back there for sure.

                So, I still haven't tried Blend or Twenty 6. Maybe next year.

                1. Also, Shields Date Gardens in Indio is a must!!!! Their date shakes are out of this world!

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: LAfoodwhore

                    >Shields Date Gardens in Indio is a must!<

                    Have you been recently? My last time was two years ago and it very much had an "over the hill" rundown look and atmosphere.

                    1. re: Mick Ruthven

                      Atmosphere not so good. But their date shakes were really good.

                      1. re: LAfoodwhore

                        I actually don't like theirs or Hadley's date shakes at all - and I am a date shake freak! Had one a couple of months ago and was very disappointed. Plus, they don't do banana-date :(

                        1. re: torta basilica

                          >I actually don't like theirs or Hadley's date shakes at all - and I am a date shake freak! Had one a couple of months ago and was very disappointed.<

                          As a date shake freak, what should Shield's date shake have been but wasn't?

                          Have you tried the date shake at Palm Springs Fudge & Chocolates (fairly new place a year ago)?

                          1. re: Mick Ruthven

                            They're just too sweet and I think (Although will not swear, as I was not watching) that they are made from those date crystals, not the actual date puree with lovely bits of 'date skin' in it :)

                            No, I haven't tried theirs yet, but will try to get there!

                            1. re: torta basilica

                              I don't have any history with date shakes except for a couple at Shields (two and more years ago) and one at Palm Springs Fudge a year ago. At Palm Springs Fudge I saw them scoop in date puree (which may have included date crystals, don't know). My understanding is that date shakes used to be very common in the area. Now they are very difficult to find and, as you said, often of questionable quality. I'll be visiting friends there next month (that's becoming a yearly event) so will definitely get back to Palm Springs Fudge assuming they're still there.

                              1. re: Mick Ruthven

                                I also tried Palm Springs Fudge & Chocolates' date shake and it was delicious. I still like Shields better.

                                1. re: LAfoodwhore

                                  I guess there's nothing for me to do on my next trip there but to have both of them.

                                    1. re: Mick Ruthven

                                      OK, I'm in Palm Springs for my almost-annual trip to visit friends, and I sacrificed my body for the sake of Date Shake wisdom. The one at Palm Springs Fudge is quite good; I saw them scoop the date paste into the can; it tasted like they used real (rich) vanilla ice cream. It was very creamy, had good date flavor, but with no detectable bits of dates present. The one at Shields was was made with date paste that looked the same as at Palm Springs Fudge, but the result was more date flavor and distinct bits of dates. It was probably made with ice milk and wasn't as rich/creamy, but the dates are the thing and all three of us preferred the Shields version. If you're in Palm Springs, there's no reason to not get the very good Palm Springs Fudge date shake, but if you're going down the valley, the Shields (in Indio) version is better. Also, Shields has been noticeably revitalized in the last two years, with new paint, three date-shake people instead of one, etc. It's still a (welcome) throwback, though, not a new, modern facility, and a valuable piece of history.

                                        1. re: Mick Ruthven

                                          I had a date shake at Shield's today -- the atmosphere is certainly old-timey and charming, but the shakes may have lost their charm. They weren't making them fresh, just pulling them out of a freezer. And there was definitely a not-fresh taste, like they were using commercial ice cream (or, if they make their own, using additives/stabilizers?).