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Palm Springs Reviews & New Year's Price Shocker...

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Palm Springs Reviews & New Year's Price Shocker...

torta basilica | Jan 3, 2005 06:52 PM

Dinner Thursday at Johannes - lovely restaurant, but they should have valets at least on Thursday nights when the Street Fair is on & there is nowhere to park. Good wine list & fairly good service. Felt rather let-down by food. My ahi tartare appetizer was good, not stellar. Other's escargot were in a strange sauce with almost a curry aftertaste. Didn't try anyone else's. Friend's wiener schnitzel was competantly prepared (crispy, not too much breading & served with a lemon slice), but boring. My veal scallopine with brocollini & gnocchi was beaten to death - almost like a thin minute steak - not much flavor & yucky texture. Sides were good. Husband had the best once it was done right - ordered medium duck breat & it came out bleedingly rare. Sent back & when returned was actually the tastiest of all - interesting fruit & star anise sauce. Dad liked his steak, but he likes most everything... Desserts - bread pudding reeking of almond oil & dry; creme brulee dull & runny, 3 dessert tasting plate good - chocolate mousse, coconut creme brulee, which was a whole lot more exciting than the plain & same old bread pudding. Don't think I'd go back.

New Year's Eve - Husband wanted all 8 of us to have dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Le Valluris. I reserved a long time ago & they did not have New Year's plans then. They re-confirmed with me about a week or so before & I asked about our 2 young teens - if something simple could be done for them as they only eat chicken & turkey - "No problem." Day before, got a call asking for a credit card #. Arrived & they had decorated beautifully & got a great table in middle of patio. At place was 'Prix Fix New Year's Menu' @ $140. per person. I assumed (obviously) wrongly dinner would be a la carte. Asked about girl's dinners & was told 'they're a seat & it's the same price.' Less than impressed with this answer, but didn't want to make a scene. 4 amuse bouchees, which were good, nothing memorable. I had the foie gras appetizer with port jelly cubes. Jelly was so flavorless & toast so soggy, I asked for chutney or something to perk it up. They complied & much improved. Rack of lamb ordered medium rare was full medium & small. Only people happy with their entrees were the 2 that ordered fish. Desserts definitely underwhelming - my apple custard something was soggy & dull; berries in tulips had no pastry cream or ice cream & were quite bitter - best dessert was dad's, who insisted on plain old ice cream. Sommelier, Bruce, was as usual very helpful & fun. Dinner with cocktails, Cassagne Montrachet & a nice Pinot Noir I can't remember came to $1700 - ugh. Lesson learned - always check for full details on New Year's & get name/confirmation of special arrangements made beforehand... Luckily we all had fun dancing in the bar, they didn't kick the girls out for being underage & all ended up having a great time for New Year's.

Best meal of the trip - Manhattan Deli - delicious rugula, incredible other baked goods, real chicken soup with matzah ball, delicious grilled pastrami & Swiss on rye. Very odd service, but good was great & we shall return!

2nd best - Juicy BBQ'd Steaks & burrata & pear salad with Eiswein dressing - all made with ingredients from Jensen's - God, I love that store!

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