By Tracy Dietlin
With the Fall season comes the return of our Pampered Palate column. This week I will be giving a few shout outs to a few of my old favorites along with a couple new ones. The month of September is filled with family and friends birthdays. My son-in-law, Mike Brewer’s on the 11th, my daughter Michelle’s on the 19th and mine on the 25th. With them all being spread out a week apart and many friends birthdays sprinkled between, it has been quite the party month.
The first place I want to mention is Clementine’s Gourmet Marketplace & Restaurant in Palm Desert where we went with our good friends Greg and Laura Little to watch the fabulous Gina Carey perform for her CD release party. It was my first time there and I was very impressed at how the servers were all on point handling a packed house. I loved the house red wine which was a Pinoir for only $5. I thought I was drinking a $14 glass of wine. It paired well with the appetizers I chose; the bacon wrapped scallops and an order of meatballs with crostini, both which were delicious for only $6 each. I look forward to going back for a full meal. 72990 El Paseo Ste 3 in Palm Desert. 760-834-8814 www.clementineshop.com.
Next I sing praise to Cork & Fork in La Quinta; truly one of our favorite places to dine. There are so many culinary delights on their menu that you MUST try this place yourselves. They have an extensive and unique wine list to choose from; my favorite being The Possessor, a full bodied red. We enjoy doing the wine tasting where you can try 3 different whites or reds. I am not a beer drinker, with the exception of Babe’s BBQ & Brewhouse Belgian vanilla blonde ale, which they have on tap along with several other selections. I always enjoy a glass of this as part of my dessert. As for their food, we have tried everything on the menu and it’s all superb, but my favorites would be the beef sliders (best ANYWHERE), the scallops, the ahi sesame poke ‘nachos’, the crispy Brussel sprouts, the goat cheese bruschetta…okay you get the point. It’s all good! 47875 Caleo Bay, Suite A106 in La Quinta. (760) 777-7555 corkandforkwinebar.com
On my actual birthday, my husband took me to another of our favorites, Giuseppe’s Pizza & Pasta in Palm Springs. I always say that I’m going to try something different, but I don’t. I always get the large prawn scampi linguini with whole pepperoncinis in the sauce giving it a unique flavor that you don’t find anywhere else. However, this time I branched out and ordered the shrimp ravioli. I was excited upon its arrival at the table to see and taste that it too had the pepperoncinis. I also appreciate their Caesar salad with fresh shaved parmesan and real imported anchovies, not to mention their special bread. They also have the tastiest tiramisu in town. The service there is always impeccable and the restaurant has a romantic meaning for me as that’s where Phil proposed to me on Valentine’s Day a couple years ago. The Funkey family also own Smoketree BBQ located behind Giuseppes, and BAR, which happens to be our favorite bar in Palm Springs. The Funkey’s are also the best at making signature cocktails. 1775 East Palm Canyon Dr in Palm Springs, in the Smoke Tree Village Shopping Center. 760-537-1890 www.giuseppesps.com.
Now I will talk about Grove Artisan Kitchen at the Miramonte Resort in Indian Wells. We ended my birthday celebration with fabulous massages and facials at The Well Spa before sauntering over to the restaurant for a lovely bottle of wine and some of the best salmon in town. The dish also had potatoes, artichokes and other seasonal vegetables in a light sauce that was just perfect. Phil had the shrimp scampi which he was kind enough to share with me and it was delish. We were also happy to have our favorite server Andrei, who always goes above and beyond. 45000 Indian Wells Lane in Indian Wells. 760-341-7200 www.miramonteresort.com
This brings me to my last restaurant to share with you: Jackalope Ranch in Indio. Let me start by saying that Phil and I went there about 4 weeks ago to have dinner. The meal, the ambience, the service were all absolutely amazing!!! So much so that we have been back there twice for cocktails and appetizers, once more for dinner, once for Monday night football and on a Sunday with my son-in-law’s family for his birthday lunch. As I write this I’m craving one of their many signature cocktails and their crab cakes. Since all of the other restaurants I mentioned above have had a full review in the paper in the past, I feel it only fitting to give Jackalope a complete review in next week’s issue. There are so many things to talk about including; some of the new changes they’ve made to the interior, their Happy Hour, the beautiful grounds in the back perfect for weddings or events, their fabulous food, their friendly staff including manager Paul Goldstine, AND their new entertainment lineup which starts this weekend. Located at 80400 Highway 111 in Indio. 760-342-1999 thejackaloperanch.com.