By Raymond Bill
Some of my favorite restaurants in the Coachella Valley are not found on the busy
streets of downtown; rather, they are tucked away in some of the finest hotels our desert has
to offer. With luxurious views of world-class golf courses and live entertainment, a night out
for dinner can feel like a weekend getaway. One restaurant that boasts such amenities is
bluEmber, located in the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa. As we passed through the lobby
to the terrace, we were greeted with the familiar sounds of The John Stanley King Band and
suddenly, we were not in Rancho Mirage anymore; we were on a mini vacation.
Seated outside, my guest and I would enjoy the music as well as each other’s company.
The tables were immaculate and the abundant yet attentive staff displayed genuine smiles! A
happy staff makes for a happy dining experience. We were fortunate to receive Ashlee as our
server. With a positive attitude, she shared some of her favorite dishes while we toured
through the menu. Our first course was an appetizer to share. The Shrimp and Lobster Cakes
were crispy and rich, served with a red pepper coulis. Similar to a crab cake only in appearance,
this dish was unique and full of large chunks of sweet lobster and shrimp.
Following our appetizer, I enjoyed fresh burrata cheese served with heirloom tomatoes
and greens, accented with crushed hazelnuts as my guest would rave about the chilled carrot
soup, which was perfect for the unseasonable weather we have all been experiencing. Both
dishes were perfection. Ashlee was there to pour wine whenever necessary and each approach
to our table was welcoming and engaging.
Taking our server’s suggestions, we ordered the Seared Scallops and the Sautéed
Barramundi. The scallops were cooked just to my liking, slightly opaque with a golden brown
sear and finished with a sweet port reduction. The fish was also prepared skillfully, served with
spinach and peas as well as homemade gnocchi. The sauce was buttery, complimenting the fish
nicely. We were in heaven! A fantastic meal with great wine and music, presented to us with
class and sophistication. One major benefit to dining at a resort restaurant is the service. It is
clear that the company takes pride in finding and training the best candidates for employment
and it shows in their performance.
We asked our server to pick the two most popular desserts and surprise us with them.
We would not be disappointed with the chocolate tart and vanilla bean ice cream, nor with the
coconut layer cake that was so light and delicious. I was even able to get over the fact that I
was eating coconut, one of my least favorite flavors. It was truly remarkable. Our great meal
would be finished with a sip of grand marnier, always a perfect night cap!
There is nothing worse than a server with an attitude or a sense of entitlement when all
you want to do is have a great meal or celebrate a special occasion. From what I could see, this
is not a problem at bluEmber, as everyone around us looked very content. Because of the great
service, the perfect choice in entertainment and of course, the impressive menu, this is a new
favorite place for me to recommend to friends. See for yourself at www.rancholaspalmas.com/
bluember or stop into the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa, located across from The River in