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What' s great in Palm Springs?

Make Europa, the restaurant at the Villa Royale B&B (and one of my better half's all-time favorite dining establishments) one of your splurges. The atmosphere is intimate and gorgeous, the service is impeccable and doting, and the meal presentation ... well, "lovely," is the only way to describe it.

Both of us enjoy the well-prepared, classic fare at Kaiser Grille. Dissed by many, we've always had solid service and wonderful, filling, classic American fare. (KG's prime rib, FYI, is definitely worth a yum.)

Finally, allistonteal's suggestion of Zin/An American Bistro is a savvy one. My BH (better half) and I enjoyed a first-rate wine-pairing dinner late last June there, and the four courses served with some surprisingly elegant German wines (the Schales Dornfelder, served with the main course, is to die for!) were exquisite. Need I add that the service -- attentive, professional, and caring -- is beyond reproach?

If old-school chophouses with stiff drinks are to your taste, Lord Fletcher's in Rancho Mirage is worth a drive. It's definitely not a "sceney" place -- no one who'd call himself a "beautiful person" would be caught dead there -- and variety is obviously not the name of the game. Some folks would probably want to chop off one of my limbs for saying this, but it's a good, solid, satisfying standby whenever the two of us want a good piece of meat done exactly to our taste ... as well as a terrific libation.

Now that I think of it, this is a thread I'll want to look over more closely, since he and I are likely going to be in The Springs late next week. Thanks for starting this, finicky!

~ Jan

Mar 21, 2007
Zagat_Lady in California

Fora in Naples

Here are a few pics of the courses themselves.

~ Jan

Mar 21, 2007
Zagat_Lady in Los Angeles Area

Fora in Naples

Fora's a terrific choice for an intimate special-event dinner ... a wedding anniversary, birthday, anything of the sort. My husband and I celebrated anniversary #19 there last night, and truly enjoyed our choices. I chose this appetizer of an ahi tuna tower -- ahi, avocado, mango, topped with blood orange vinaigrette and cilantro, with artfully placed dollops of wasabi and soy-ginger sauce. At $9, it's a surprisingly decent deal, given the obvious craftwork and care put into its assembly.

The BYOB night freed us to take along a bottle of the '98 Calera Pinot Noir we'd had waiting. Far too tannic, rough, unbalanced, and fruitbomb-ish for us when we had a bottle of the juice for our 15th, it evolved as a gorgeous, velvety beauty brimming with black cherries, stewed prunes, ginger, pepper, smoke, and soft earth.

The main courses, you ask? Wonderful. Thirty dollars get you a savory piece of roast tenderloin topped with Maytag bleu cheese and a caramelized shallot demiglace. Simple but elegant are the sides, perfect al dente green beens and silky mashed Yukon Gold potatoes oozing garlic and butter.(Yes, the potatoes are topped by a single baked potato chip with a piece of Italian parsley baked into it. Cool, huh?)

My better half also opted for beef, choosing the $25 USDA prime flat-iron steak. Cooked perfectly to his taste -- medium to medium-well -- it's accompanied by a side of creamy polenta and spinach.

No way did we pass on dessert ... not when we learned that a dark chocolate pots de creme was on the menu!.

The entire repast was $83 and change, before a tip ... which my BH correctly offered 20 percent, as the service is everything you'd want it to be: gentle, helpful, considerate, warm, with each of our three courses ideally timed.

What else can I say? Call for a reservation, and enjoy: [url]http://www.fora-naples.com[/url].

~ Jan

Mar 21, 2007
Zagat_Lady in Los Angeles Area