By David Wayne
The Coachella Valley is in full season now, and it was obvious at the River in Rancho Mirage, as it was packed with people buzzing all over the place. While my wife and I strolled along the beautiful walkway past one of the cutest little girls I’ve ever laid eyes on, seeing us adoring her, she gave us a precious smile and a happy wave, as we turned into Acqua Pazza.
We were greeted by a very friendly host, and he whisked us away to our cozy booth. Arriving at our table right away was Rick, our new favorite server. He was extremely professional, and had a way about him that made us feel right at home. He got us our drinks; my wife had a glass of Simi Alexander Valley Cabernet, and I had a sugar-free Redbull on the rocks. The Cabernet was a medium to full bodied complex mix of many notes of fruit and spices.
Rick was assuring that we would love his suggestions, and started us out with their lightly fried zucchini appetizer, battered and served with chipotle and marinara sauces. We also had a creamy spinach dip with crisp focaccia chips. Both had us not wanting to stop enjoying them to save room for the main courses. Along with the appetizers, he brought us an Iceberg Wedge salad that was topped with hickory smoked bacon and Roquefort cheese dressing. My wife tried to keep the salad away from me, but I managed to get in a few delightful bites.
We contemplated our entrees, and Rick suggested that my Filet mignon with a light roasted garlic topping, sautéed mushrooms, mashed red skin potatoes and fresh asparagus was a perfect choice. I have to agree, it was amazingly tasty. My wife had pan-seared Maine Sea Scallops in a mango Beurre blanc, served with a large portobello mushroom, mashed red skin potatoes and asparagus. She said the scallops were cooked just right, soft and tender with a full flavored sauce. She savored their Key Lime Pie martini with her awesome meal.
For dessert I had a Swiss Chocolate Hot Fudge Sundae, topped with whipped cream and a cherry. The Swiss chocolate was so good I had to stop myself to allow my sweet wife to have a few bites of what I was raving about. She devoured their crème brulee, made with vanilla and fresh berries, and also had to hold back from finishing it before I was able to have a few delectable bites. I sipped on a cappuccino with dessert that was strong but refreshingly smooth and creamy.
With its running waters and flowing planted walkways, the River complex is the perfect place to dine, especially if it’s at Acqua Pazza. Special thanks to Willie Rhine, who not only graciously invited us to Acqua Pazza, but had accommodated us at his sister restaurant Lulu a few weeks ago.
Acqua Pazza California Bistro at the River in Rancho Mirage
78-100 Hwy 111, Rancho Mirage
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Walk-ins welcome but reservations recommended.
Call for hours at: 760-862-9800