Friday, September 19, 2008

Palm Springs: The Purple Palm

After researching and cross referencing Chowhound, Trip Advisor and Yelp (Yes, I Yelp. Wanna take this outside?) I decided to try Purple Palm for dinner on a recent business trip to Palm Springs. Three things factored into this decision. Reports of a beautiful bar, New American cuisine, and the fact that it was 1.5 blocks from my hotel.

The Purple Palm is located in the back of the Colony Palms hotel which was remodeled last year, partially outside in the garden right by the pool. Worthy of note, The Purple Palm is open all day long. They open at 9 am for breakfast and stay open all day through the evening, with a limited bar menu in the afternoon.

The interior is quite lovely, it has a slight Casablanca feel to it, in a feverish purpley kind of way. The wallpaper is really a purplified photograph of some Palm Springs palm trees against a night sky. The chairs are clubbish, covered in leather. The second night I ate in the dark interior, at the comfy large bar, working and reading about vampires. (Yes, I am reading the Meyer series. So shoot me.)

The first night I just peeked inside from the glorious, romantic and misty outside bar...

This fall finds me in a very veggie mood, not quite ready to kiss summer goodbye. I started with an artichoke salad. This lovely little pile was supported by fresh artichoke heart, and also had green garbanzos, Serrano ham slivers, cherry tomatoes and some orange wedges that looked like beets but did not taste like beets. Apparently my bartender wanted to maintain the mystery, as he never got back to me to divulge their identity. The dish is well conceived, but way too salty in execution.

Second, I ate a side of giant asparagus. What you see on the side is an orange sabayon. Maybe I am unclear on what a sabayon is supposed to be, but I thought it was supposed to be a light custard, and this was really too foamy to be a custard. The sabayon was a subtle yet delicious accent to the asparagi.

Third, I tried the charcuterie, a trio of cured meats. This was a home run. To the left is a duck pate, in the middle is a foie terrine, and to the right is a lovely little rabbit something. It was my favorite. I eat rabbit, even though they are fluffy, adorable and cannot be done in by Elmer Fudd. Rabbit can be delicious.

The sun sets through the misters........

The second night, I toyed with the idea of going somewhere else for supper. However, an intense and intensely hot tennis session and a long dip in the hotel pool made the effortless walk too enticing. At around 7 pm Tuesday night, I again found myself strolling through the lobby hall of Colony Palms...

I was a little frustrated by the atmosphere this evening. I wanted to eat at the outside bar, but the misters were turned off and they were shooting some photos. So, I sat inside and asked to move when they were done shooting and the misters were on. Done, I moved outside and happily sipped my martini like a Homo sapien in the mist. A little while later, the mist disappears. I ask for it to be turned on again and was told that the party of 6 sharing the patio with me asked for it to be turned off. I was a little annoyed, having been seated first, but recognize a party of 6 trumps a party of 1, so I moved inside to enjoy the a/c. About 20 minutes later the mist is turned on again. Ugh. It's not a bad life when this is the height of misery in your day, I know. Still. As I do so frequently, I made myself happy with food.

I started with the above steak tartare. This was unreal. In the middle is a giant parmesan curl filled with truffled mashed potatoes. It sat on top an unfortunate pile of roast bell peppers dressed with a little vinegar, which I thought was a total non sequiter in this dish. I pushed them aside with wild abandon and devoured the rest of the plate.

After the tartare, I ordered a side of gnocci. My body was ordering carbs after two days of intense tennis in the 105 degree Palm Springs fall. I thought this would be tiny but it was huge. And hugely delicious. The gnocci were texturally perfect. I could feel and taste the slight graininess of the potato, nicely cushioned by the flour. They were cooked in just a little tomato sauce with some healthy chunks of braised pork.

I strolled out of the grounds happy and sleepy...despite the party of 6.


1 comment:

Frequent Traveler said...

I love how honest you are in writing about the bad stuff as well as the good stuff at each place.