Chicken Ranch - Palm Springs, CA - 4 1/2 Golden Spoons

It’s safe to say that Chicken Ranch is one of Palm Springs’ best fast-casual restaurants.  They feature locally sourced farm fresh ingredients and a delightful menu of salads, sandwiches, rotisserie chicken and wraps in addition to a full bar with craft cocktails.  We decided to make it a salad sampling lunch and ordered four; the Beet and Goat Cheese, the Chinese Chicken, the BBQ Chopped with Chicken, and the Kale Salad.  All were fantastic.  The Beet and Goat Cheese was prepared with organic butter lettuce, red and yellow beet wedges, matchstick radish, orange segments, whips of goat cheese, and candied pecans with a champagne vinaigrette.  A beautiful presentation that was absolutely delicious.  The Chinese Chicken was a traditional dish with Napa cabbage, red and yellow peppers, carrots, oranges, daikon sprouts, sesame seeds, and wonton chips with an orange ginger vinaigrette.  What a terrific mix of textures and bright flavors. The BBQ Chicken salad was a toss of chopped chicken, romaine lettuce, corn, black beans, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado and fried shallots with ranch dressing and a drizzle of BBQ sauce.  It was my favorite, with the creaminess of the ranch and the touch of sweetness from the BBQ sauce.  Sometimes this type of salad can be a bit mushy, but this was crisp and bright from first fork to last bite!  Finally, the Kale Salad.  Farmer’s market kale with sliced Asian pear, cranberries, slivered almonds, pecorino cheese, beets, and a lemon vinaigrette.  Even though I’m not a big fan of raw kale, this was a healthy hearty dish that I would order again.  We heard the secret to their sensational salads is not only the thoughtful ingredients, but all of the dressings are made in-house.  No store-bought packaged greens or sauces here!  We can’t wait to go back! 

Eight4Nine - Palm Springs, CA - 5 Golden Spoons

Overall a stellar experience.  While we’ve been to the restaurant before, this visit was really exceptional.  When we arrived, we were welcomed by the Assistant General Manager, Tom Collins, who was warm, charming, and engaging.  He escorted us thru the striking lounge which has dramatic high ceilings, brilliant white furnishings and fixtures, pops of fuchsia and chrome.  The same décor flows into the very spacious dining room. Very nicely done.  After being seated at our table, we were quickly greeted by our server, Dorian, who took our drink order and reviewed menu highlights.  He was knowledgeable, friendly, and attentive.  We ordered martinis to start, which were perfectly shaken and served in large classic glasses filled to the brim and garnished with blue cheese olives.   Who doesn’t love an ample cocktail!  We shared several first courses including the Charred Octopus with Spanish chorizo and the Ahi Tuna Poke with house made kimchi.  Both spectacular.   For mains, we asked if they could serve their Yellow Corn Scallop appetizer as a main dish.  They were really accommodating.  The scallops were bright and fresh and served with a corn pure, roasted kennel corn salsa, and watermelon radish.  A superb presentation that was a beautiful as it was delicious!  We also had the Sourdough-Crusted Chilean Seabass with a Dungeness crab-stuffed piquillo pepper and saffron aioli with sautéed greens.  Perfect.   I should also mention that Dorian really exemplified sensational service and Tom checked on us several times.  Smart!  So, if you’re looking for great cuisine in a contemporary cool setting with spot-on service, Eight4Nine is the place to go in Palm Springs!

French Miso Cafe - Palm Springs, CA - 5 Golden Spoons

I had been hearing rumblings around town about this fantastic new French Japanese Restaurant that was only open for breakfast and lunch.  I must admit, I was skeptical of the incredible rave reviews until we decided to pop in this past week for lunch.  Hidden away in a little garden area at the Plaza in downtown Palm Springs, the setting is adorable, inside and out and reminiscent of a garden restaurant in the South of France.  Upon arrival, we were greeted by one of the owners, Tomoko Jones, who was quick to introduce herself and welcome us to French Miso Café.  She escorted us to a quaint table in a bungalowesque dining area.  We were presented with a short menu of the days specials which all sounded marvelous.  We had a hard time choosing, but our charming server helped us make decisions.  I chose the Grilled Atlantic Salmon, my husband decided on the Chicken Paillard.  When the dishes arrived, we were taken back by the artistic plating with exceptional detail.The salmon was served with local figs, peaches and blackberries with a roasted sesame dressing.  The ample salmon filet was crisp, but delightfully moist and it was complemented perfectly by the fruit mélange with balsamic swirls.  Gorgeous. The chicken was flattened and grilled, served with romaine lettuce and Caesar dressing with rustic home made croutons.   A simple dish, but the perfect blend of texture and taste.  Delightful.  Tomoko suggested we end our lunch with the passion fruit crème brulee.  Creamy and bright with just the right amount of burnt sugar crust.  Stunning.  Can you tell we were impressed?  We can’t wait for our next visit so we can explore the rest of the menu.

Le Vallauris - Palm Springs, CA - 5+ Golden Spoons!

On my top 5 list of restaurants in the world, Le Vallauris continues to exceed expectations!  After it’s usual Summer closure, I’ve been counting the days until the opening this season.  With a new menu inspired by the owners’ latest travels, I was excited to find many new exotic dishes to explore, along with many classic favorites I’ve enjoyed for years.  But first, the ambiance. My husband and I sat at our favorite table outside on the patio, one of the most gorgeous and romantic settings one can imagine. As always, we were greeted by the exceptionally warm and friendly staff including our server for the evening, Chris, who was charming, engaging, and extremely knowledgeable of the new menu.  She reviewed items on the tableside “chalk board” and helped us make decisions.  We began with the tomato and goat cheese tartine.  A delicate puff pastry with a sharp and sweet mousse that brought the roasted cherry tomatoes to life.  Spectacular.  We also enjoyed a new seafood “salad” dish with chilled mussels, clams, and scallops presented with beets, avocados and a strip of nori with dashes of wasabi.  The artistic presentation was stunning, and the seafood was vibrant, fresh, and bright. We followed two different lobster dishes as our main courses; the sautéed Maine lobster in vanilla butter with corn lobster bisque and the Maine lobster salad with passion fruit, asparagus, avocado, and baby frisee.  The plentiful portions of lobster in each dish were tender and bright and perfectly prepared and plated.  We couldn’t decide which we enjoyed most and actually subtly switched plates mid-course.  Desserts at Le Vallauris are equally sumptuous.  Favorites include the Tahitian vanilla crème brulee and the chocolate praline tarte with white chocolate raspberry swirl gelato.  For an extravagant, delicious, memorable evening, Le Vallauris delivers on all levels. 

HEXX - Las Vegas, NV - 4 1/2 Golden Spoons

While we've stayed at Paris many times, this was our first experience at HEXX.  What a find.  An extensive menu perfect for a quick bite but also fit for foodies.  The pepperoni pizza is fantastic as a simple dish or try the mussels and scallops for a more sophisticated main course!We ordered multiple selections off the menu and all were sensational including the cheesy garlic bread which is actually stuffed with warm ricotta cheese and the flatbread carpaccio with roasted tomatoes, red onions and arugula.  Notable fantastic service too!  Our waiter, Kevin Smith, was attentive, engaging, and extremely knowledgeable.  Made the whole evening memorable.  On top of that, the restaurant's GM visited our table.  We will be back every time we visit Las Vegas!  That says it all.  

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 jim@foodtodish.com
888-942-4274 ext. 701

Palm Springs, California

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