Posts Tagged ‘palm springs

26
May
10

Palm Springs – Circa 59 at the Riviera Resort and Spa

Seared scallops at Circa 59, the Riviera Resort and Spa.

Seared scallops at Circa 59. Lana Maytak photo

I left Vancouver on a rainy Monday a.m., and apparently “it’s cold” there now so I feel like I’ve made the right decision coming here. More or less.

Last night, the first night, we – that is, my photographer and I – were treated to a dinner at Circa 59, the restaurant at our accommodations, the Riviera Resort and Spa (from downtown Palm Springs, by cab a few minutes – I don’t recommend walking it). With high-backed wing chairs, chandeliers that look like they were designed by H.R. Giger and black and white photos of Frank Sinatra and Raquel Welch (doing her lounge act, no less), it’s a funky modern restaurant with a nod to the Riviera’s storied, Old Hollywood past.

Starting with a series of appetizers, we were most impressed with the lobster ginger dumplings (five of them, with a spicy Japanese dressing) and the oysters (komomoro), which my photog described as “the best oysters I ever had” – though she’s from Siberia, where oysters are not available on every street corner, and I suspect that may have had as much to do with the ponzu/spring tomato gazpacho topping as the actual slimy dollops themselves.

Oysters at Circa 59, the Riviera Resort and Spa.

Oysters at Circa 59, the Riviera Resort and Spa. Lana Maytak photo

At this point (following the appetizers) Circa 59’s chef de cuisine came out from the kitchen to see who was being so demanding. Ruben Barragan’s former employer was Chicago’s Wit Hotel, where he worked along with Circa 59 executive chef Bradley Manchester, and he explained that much if not all of the food at Circa 59 is locally sourced and inspired.

Ruben encouraged us to try more, so we sampled the chorizo-stuffed medjool dates, a sinfully candy-like flavour combination that immediately took me back to last year’s Burning Man and the less sophisticated delicacy known as “bacon-wrapped Fudgee-Os”. We also enjoyed the seared scallops with a fava bean and potato sauce (pictured above). The spot prawns were too grainy and dry for my tastes; I maintain (as far as that goes) that they are a hardcore foodie’s food.

Chorizo-stuffed medjool dates at Circa 59, the Riviera Resort and Spa.

Chorizo-stuffed medjool dates at Circa 59, the Riviera Resort and Spa. Lana Maytak photo

Spot prawns at Circa 59, the Riviera Resort and Spa.

The spot prawns at Circa 59, the Riviera Resort and Spa. Lana Maytak photo

And then the entrees…

I’m not much of a carnivore but the rib eye was probably as good as any I’ve had; just the right amount of rare, juicy, delectable, with a chantrelle mushroom topping and foi gras red wine sauce. (To interject with a brief wine mention: I was happy to encounter my old friend the Chalk Hill Chardonnay, a personal fave since a California wine-tasting a few months ago, and a wine which went well with the…)

The rib-eye at Circa 59, the Riviera Resort and Spa. Lana Maytak photo

The rib-eye with chantrelle mushrooms at Circa 59, the Riviera Resort and Spa. Lana Maytak photo

Halibut. Seared, herb-encrusted, and with a red-pepper sauce, but with the mouth-watering rib-eye taste still fresh in our craws, hard to appreciate.

Halibut at Circa 59, the Riviera Resort and Spa.

Halibut at Circa 59, the Riviera Resort and Spa. Lana Maytak photo

Not so with the butterfish (an out-of-season halibut). Two small but juicy slabs served with sides of a campari tomato so delicious it almost caused a death duel between myself and the photographer, with a salsa verde and roasted artichoke hearts on the side.

Butterfish at Circa 59, the Riviera Resort and Spa.

Butterfish at Circa 59, the Riviera Resort and Spa. Lana Maytak photo

About the desserts, well, the less said the better – not because the chocolate carmel tart with a scoop of hazelnut ice creamy and the sticky toffee pudding weren’t fantastic but because even recalling their names I am filled with longing.

The chocolate carmel tart at Circa 59, the Riviera Resort and Spa.

The chocolate carmel tart at Circa 59, the Riviera Resort and Spa. Lana Maytak photo

And now we come to the sad relationship part of the story. Because the meal most reminded me of the fantastic dinner shared with the Texas Twister at the Fairmont in Sonoma on our first night there, and how it cemented our love… and how that love is now over, alas, and I’m here in Palm Springs at another fabulous hotel but not with someone I love, or whom there’s anything beyond a platonic relationship (though I for one would like to change that). And I remember that feeling, and I want it back.

Still, I can’t complain – I’m here, with two days (three if you count Friday, the day we leave) of sun, pool and reading left. And, as the saying goes: we’ll always have Sonoma.

29
Apr
09

master cleanse day iv: hanging in there

Day no. five, and I know where every last morsel of food is located in my apartment. There’s the miniature, blue-foil-wrapped chocolate egg left over from the Easter lying on the floor in my closet. There’s the bag of dried sugary cantaloupe slices I brought back from Palm Springs in the cupboard, along with dried cranberries and granola. There’s the chocolate bar I bought for the Twister, which she never ate, also sitting in the cupboard. (For those of you paying attention, the Twister has landed safely in Zurich.) There’s the bag of raisins in the fridge, also brought back from Palm Springs. Heck, even the cats’ 95% duck food is starting to look good.

Still, the end is in sight. Day 5 is hump day; after this, it’s just a matter of counting off the days ’til the end of this self-imposed sentence. I must be a glutton for punishment although, as I mentioned on Facebook, I’ve lost 80 pounds. (Not really, but that’s what I tell myself to keep going.)

What’s going to make it doubly hard tonight is that my cousin’s coming over for our weekly Movie Nite, which has been on hold for the last couple of weeks while I’ve been traveling. Traditionally, we order a large pizza with artichoke hearts or chicken and spinach or mushrooms and feta to go with the week’s flick, but tonight I’ll be swigging from my cup of cayenne-and-maple-syrup lemonade.

God. Could I go for a pizza right now.

18
Apr
09

Paige and Rick’s Gallery opening

img_7904 INDIAN WELLS, CA—The other night, the Royale Gallery had its opening in Indian Wells. Indian Wells isn’t far from Palm Springs, traditionally an enclave for retired, white, gun-toting* Republicans**. Which raised the question: how much of a market is there in this retirement community for contemporary art? Read more at shawnconner.com.

25
Apr
08

Hello, where are the hotties?

I’m in Palm Desert right now, spent the day in Joshua Tree, am heading to Coachella tomorrow. Weather’s beautiful, and the golf’s great (or so I assume).
However. There. Are. No. Cute people.
WTF? Every time I’ve come to the resort where I’m staying now, it’s been full of burly tanned LA dudes clutching their Blackberries and drinking beer by the swimming pool. I mean, every time. Plus, Joshua Tree is where you’re supposed to be able to find ripped rock climbers looking straight out of Outside Magazine, and crazy artist types running around tripping on psychedelics, and…um…the guys from U2? Or similar.
But instead, all I hear is children, and all I see is SNOWBIRDS. AKA old people with white hair who sit at their tables and watch glaze-eyed as the birds steal bread straight out of the bread basket. I feel lost and alone.
Tomorrow I’m going to Coachella, and that’s when I’ll really know whether my world is okay or not. If the polo field (yes, Coachella is held inside a polo field, didn’t you know?) is packed with LA escapees and stoned, happy frat boys and hipsters in search of the Do-Lab tent, then I’ll know that everything’s back to normal. If it’s full of SNOWBIRDS (AKA old people with white hair who etc. etc.), then I’ll know I’ve suddenly slipped off the universal railings and wound up in a peculiar hell straight out of my own twisted subconscious.
Stay tuned.




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