By Denise Ortuno
It’s a sensory overload of German delights, cozy mountain chalet ambience and charming service, all at the Alps Village in Palm Desert.
For owner Blanka Sanin and her family, their Alps Village restaurant is a labor of love. It is reflected in the entire place, from the wood paneled dining room with quaint décor, to the incredible food, and inviting service, Alps Village is the real deal. With her chef and mother Milka preparing authentic German, and other European fare, a visit to the restaurant will certainly not be your last.
My boyfriend and I had actually been meaning to try them out for some time, and to our absolute delight, we finally did. Upon entering, we were greeted by Blanka, with a huge smile, the Yugoslavian natives’ accent added to the restaurants charm. I was drawn to the coziness of the space, it transported us far out of the desert, and into a place that is identical to the restaurants moniker. We could almost feel the cool mountain air. After being seated, my boyfriend ordered one of their German beers, and we set off on our first menu selection of the Pretzel and an order of the Grilled Sausage Platter. Let’s just say, this isn’t any regular Pretzel, first off it was huge, and could easily feed more than a couple of people. The flavor of it was doughy on the inside, encapsulated by a deep bronze outer layer, and lightly sprinkled with large granules of salt. It came with a ramekin of buttery Kajmak cheese spread, which I am now officially addicted to. The Grilled Sausage Platter was a duo of their Smoked Bratwurst, and Numberg, served with house made curry ketchup. Both sausages were delicious, but for me, I was all about the Numberg, which, and I know this may sound strange, tasted angelic. The combo of having the Pretzel and Grilled Sausages would have totally been enough for us, but there would be much to come.
Blanka proceeded to bring out some of their Stuffed Cabbage rolls, filled with ground beef and rice, wrapped with homemade alpskraut, served in a rich paprika sauce, with mashed potatoes or spaetzel. The cabbage bundles were savory, resting in the paprika sauce. The alpskraut offered a counteractive flavor to the richness, completely balancing the dish. It’s hard to explain, but it had a clean flavor, a description that would be duplicated with every bite of food at Alps Village. Blanka insists on the freshest of ingredients, the food she serves must pass her high quality test before she even allows it in the kitchen. It is that integrity of having the best ingredients, that shines through on every plate.
Next was a plate of Jagerschnitzel, which is breaded fried cutlets (pork, chicken or veal) in a rich wild mushroom brown gravy sauce, alpskraut, with spaetzel. The veal culets were tender and the breading soaked up the velvety sauce perfectly. The next dish was similar to the Jagerschnitzel, as it utilized the breaded cutlet, but the sauce and topping for this dish was completely different. The Alps Wiener Schnitzel A La Holstein (pork, chicken or veal) came with a sunny up egg, and a lemon caper sauce. Once punctured, the yolk of the egg gave a luxurious element to lemon caper sauce. We naturally took some of the Ripped Potatoes (lightly boiled, torn fried potatoes) that Blanka had brought to us, for a little swim in the eggy sauce, which made for a serious yum moment. I have to say that after that last dish, I kind of zoned out…I entered a strange food coma daze, put my pen down and just let it all settle for a moment. When I came to, there was Blanka, with yet another sensational item for us to try, the White Cream Cake. This cake is made with eggs, cream and walnuts, it is flourless. All I can say is, “Oh my goodness!” If you’re partial to a creamy dessert, this one has your number, no doubt. Not overly sweet, the cake is light and airy, a contradiction from the heavy ingredients. I don’t how they do it, but it is magical. In the haste to dive into the cake, I forgot to take a pre-bite photo, hence the half devoured picture of the cake (sorry). However, the photo does depict the urgency that was employed when indulging in it…yet another yum moment.
In addition to all of the wonderful dishes that we tried, the menu at Alps Village extends to many more selections that are definitely on our radar, from Goulash, to European Pizza’s, to their Alps Burger, with charred onion, muenster cheese, house sauce, lettuce and tomato, and so much more. They also have a full bar, and strategically placed TV’s woven through the restaurant, for those who want a little sports action with their Schnitzel. Happy Hour is offered daily from 11am to 5pm, with 20% off draft beers, wine and selected menu items, like the Pretzel.
The Alps Village is one of those finds that you want to kick yourself for not going to sooner. I for one am ecstatic that we made it in, and got to experience all of charm and delightful food that makes them so special.
Alps Village is located at 77-734 Country Club Dr. Palm Desert, 92211