Dinner at Copley’s Nov. 18, 2013 and Dinner at Le Donne Cucina Nov 19, 2013

With its intimate splendor this was Cary Grants old house and somewhere his dapper spirit lingers in the restaurant. From the outside you really don’t see this hidden charming gem, once inside you are bathed in luxurious splendor.

My waiter Victor, who said everyone calls him “Victa”, was very knowledgeable and fun. Before Palm Springs he spent time in San Francisco, Maui, and Los Angeles, he loves what he does and calls Palm Springs his home for now.

The interior is both sophisticated and provincial, kind of like a restful backdrop to what promised to be an eventful dining experience. There is light background music, with maple wood floors, a romantic atmosphere and a very upscale Palm Springs clientele. They pay attention to lots of little details, like their steak knives, which are a work of art unto themselves.

Here’s what I tried:

Diver Scallop, and Sweet Pea Ravioli, over creamy ginger corn, with fresh herb and chardonnay butter. Ok I will forever be thinking about this favorite scallop dish, especially the fragrant sweet pea ravioli.

Copley’s Seafood Sampler, Ahi Taco, Poached Jumbo Shrimp, Salmon & Caper Tartar. This was good, but it left me wanting more.

Slow Braised Veal Cheeks and Maine Lobster, over garlic potato, sautéed wild mushrooms, asparagus, and veal stock reduction. What a novel idea, so different. Seemed like the lobster was an after thought, but the veal cheeks are out of this world.

Lavender parsley Crusted Colorado Rack of Lamb, over root vegetable and goat’s cheese potato, carrots, baby spinach, and merlot reduction. Sometimes genius just lands on your plate from the chef gods, this is one of those dishes. So many lovely ingredients, with its great crust, this lamb is outstanding.

Chocolate Soufflé Cake topped with toasted marshmallows, served with salted caramel ice cream. Just oozing with chocolate goodness, wow!

Lemon and Lavender Scented Pound Cake, basil ice cream and lavender sauce. To me the basil ice cream is the winner of this desert.


Pomegranate Martini with Seagram’s Extra Smooth Vodka, Orange Liquer, Pomegranate Juice. Quenched my thirst and was fun to drink.

Woodford Manhattan with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Fee Bros West Indian Orange Bitters, with maraschino cherry. Not really my drug of choice, but was nice just the same.

Here is the wine I tried:

2010 Alexander Valley Vineyards (Alex.Valley) Merlot, a nice combination of dark rich cherry flavors, worked great with the lamb.

Executive Chef Andrew Copley has an extensive 20-year culinary background at five-star restaurants and hotels across the world and is known for innovative dishes. Juliana Manion Copley; wife, owner and business manager is an active member of the Coachella Valley business community, where she serves as the president of the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Association and was one of the founders of Palm Springs Restaurant Week. In recognition of her efforts to grow the local culinary community, Juliana and her husband Chef Andrew Copley were recently named “Restaurateurs of the Year” by the Desert Resorts Convention and Visitors’ Authority.

Copley’s ranks up there with some of the best tastings, just plain good food! Well thought out, beautiful presentation, and very gracious surroundings. This place is a big winner!

621 N Palm Canyon Dr.,
Palm Springs · (760) 327-9555


Dinner at Le Donne Cucina Nov 19, 2013

Heather the owner can be very shy, she has such a gem in the heart of Palm Desert and by the look on her face she doesn’t know it. Constantly in motion you would think that she is a hired server then an owner, she oversees every glorious detail of this very fine food establishment.

The walls are covered in Best of Best awards, so may that I got lost in the shuffle. There was a huge rush around 7pm, so many customers, every table was full, and the wait staff was running from kitchen to table.

At Le Donne Cucina it’s all about the food, and the great fresh ingredients. You will taste the authentic flavors of Italy. Voted best Italian restaurant in Palm Desert three years running by the Desert Sun and Palm Springs Life. Pastas are made fresh everyday using old-world techniques.

Here’s what I tried:

Minestrone Soup, just like Italian penicillin, what a great rich broth.

Polenta Con Porcini E Parmigiana with homemade polenta topped with Porcinis and fresh shaved Parmigiana. This dish seems like your Italian chef made it form scratch, such marvelous goodness, makes me want to cry.

Tuna Carpaccio with thinly sliced raw tuna with shaved Parmigiana, lemon and olive oil. Oh those Italian are very sly, saying never use cheese with fish, well this dish the Parmigaina is all over the place, but somehow it really works.

Eggplant Parmigiana, with fresh eggplant topped with marinara Parmesan sauce. Served with Spinach. Great consistency, the eggplant was cooked tender, and the sauce was true perfection.

Tortellini Alla Penne, Tortellini filled with cheese or meat served in an Alfredo sauce with ham and peas. Loved this traditional dish, it has something special in it, must have been really good cheese.

Linguine With Clams And Mussels Fresh clams and mussels served in a White wine sauce. Good clam and mussels flavor, but just the right amount of seasoning made this dish simple and luscious.

Ravioli Al Radicchio Or Ragu Homemade ravioli stuffed with ricotta and spinach topped with radicchio cream sauce or topped with a meat sauce. In my case it came with both sauces, which added to my dining splendor.

Mare Caldo Salad with shrimp, calamari, clams, and mussels tossed with fresh garlic, lemon and olive oil. The seafood is served warm, and the garlic and lemon, olive oil combo is just the perfect delicate needed to bring out their lovely flavors.

Zuppa Livornese with clams, mussels, calamari and shrimp served in a red sauce. Sort of like bouillabaisse or cioppino, but seriously richer. The flavors roll around in your palate and make you want to scream, it’s that good!

Here are the wines I tried:

Pinot Grigio Da Vinci, Venezie, had just the right amount of sparkling fruit, went great with the Tuna Carpaccio.

Chardonnay William Hill, Central Coast, CA. A good oaky wine to go with linguine with clams and mussels.

Chardonnay, Rodney Strong, Sonoma, CA. This wine was just right with the mare caldo salad, and the zuppa livornese, with a good strong backbone, and just the right amount of fruit to work graciously with these 2 fish dishes.

Zinfandel, Leese-Fitch, Lodi. I loved this wine with the
polenta con porcini e parmigiana, the cherry vanilla flavors worked great with the musky porcini aroma.

Cabernet Sauvignon, William Hill, Central Coast, usually I would pair this wine with meat, but it enhanced the red sauce in the eggplant parmigiana.

Merlot, Canyon Road, CA. I like this wine with the meat part of the ravioli al radicchio, with its rich full-bodied flavors.

Chef Guillermo Cruz moved to Palm Desert in 1994 to take on his chef duties for the 3 women the originally owned Le Donne Cucina. Chef Guillermo orders his produce and meats always keeping an eye on quality control and costs. He says, “Freshness, and quality are my priorities”. He is a perfectionist and is so happy when his regular customers return week after week.

The interior is very simple, kind of an empty canvas, with the food being the main attraction. Every delectable dish is done with the utmost attention to detail, and come to your table piping hot, truly a feast for your eyes and stomach.

Le Donne Cucina is all about tempting their loyal customers palates with the best Northern, Southern and Central Italian Cuisine. This is high-styled, affordable Italian cuisine at its best. There are many Italian restaurants in the Coachella Valley, but Le Donne Cucina scores very high in my book.

Le Donne Cucina Italiana
72624 El Paseo Ste. C7
Palm Desert · (760) 773-9441




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