Croatian in Palm Springs (Jasmin Cafe)
- cant talk...eating Dec 27, 2012 05:52 PM
In a search for non-chain coffee in Palm Springs over Xmas, I stumbled into Jasmin Cafe about halfway down the strip (Palm Canyon and Taquitz Way). This is a small, informal, family-run place (Croatian family) that has several eastern European dishes on the menu, including stuffed cabbage, chicken paprikash, and chicken schnitzel, as well as homemade soups (hand-cut noodles in the chicken noodle!) and cookies (thick, buttery kolaches with strawberry jam).
It looked so good that we had our Christmas dinner there (with 4 kids under five) which really couldn't have been more perfect. The folks running it are very accommodating, with various random kid requests (to-go cup of apple juice, one pasta with no sauce, one with no cheese). They also fix a mean pb & j for the kids, and I was surprised they also serve wine (can't vouch for caliber - it was very drinkable).
Stuffed cabbages had ground beef and a hearty brown gravy, and were served with salad, wheat bread, mashed potatoes. Lentil soup as good as the chicken noodle (I was told), as was the paprikash (one of our friends recently returned from a trip to Hungary). Zero ambiance - like taking Polka in Glendale (just for an L.A. point of reference), and re-opening it in the strip-mall donut shop down the street - but good eats and just a charming experience. And, not glacially slow service (and there were other diners).
Nice tip. The menu is 95% Mediterranean / Middle Eastern, but the chef is Croatian. The interesting items seem to indicated with the term "house made" and are limited to the items described above and/or specials.
The chicken soup with house made noodles (kind of like spaetzle) was great, as was the lentil soup. I wish I'd gotten the stuffed cabbage--- the chicken paprikash was okay. It's not anything like a Hungarian paprikash-- it didn't have any detectable amount of sour cream or paprika in it. Maybe this is croatian style, but It was more like a boneless chicken stew. It was served with undercooked rice.
Homemade apple walnut strudel was very good, but the cranberry bars were even better. I would definitely stop back here for soup and baked treats.