Dinner at The Purple Palm – Palm Springs CA. March 29, 2015

There is nothing in the world like alfresco dining, especially on a warm sultry night by the pool, in Palm Springs. The Purple Palm will offer you that and much more. With it’s huge portions and fine ingredients, The Purple Palm will give you a dining experience that is fun, hip, and above all fantastic!

The restaurant is housed in a very historic hotel; The Colony Palms Hotel and is as romantic as it is charming. There is so much Hollywood history here as well. Back in the 30’s and 40’s Palm Springs was a secret getaway for big time Movie Stars. Pretty much a playground for the rich and famous. Las Vegas probably got their saying, “what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas” from Palm Springs back in the 40’s, you could pretty much be anonymous and do all kinds of crazy fun things here in the desert.

Originally dubbed the Colonial House, this Spanish Colonial style hotel was built and opened in 1936 by owner Al Wertheimer, a reputed mobster and member of the Purple Gang. Featuring plenty of sunshine, a refreshing deep-water swimming pool, resort classic cuisine, as well as a legendary underground speakeasy and brothel which was entered via a secret staircase concealed behind a pantry cupboard, the hotel served as a private club for Wertheimer and his gambling pals. The Colony Palms Hotel was also once a saloon, speakeasy and gambling house that later became a playground for Hollywood icons including Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Rita Hayworth.

After World War II, the hotel was renamed the Howard Manor under glamorous new ownership, Robert Howard and his wife Andrea Leeds Howard. Andrea Leeds was an actress who had achieved fame in 1937 by being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in “Stage Door” starring Katherine Hepburn. The Howard Manor and its supper club, called the Academy Room, became a legendary Palm Springs hotspot.

In 1956, Annie and Dave Margolis acquired the hotel from Robert Howard on a handshake deal made between Dave and Robert over cocktails one evening. Annie and Dave moved to Palm Springs in 1949 from Dayton Ohio and leased the hotel to fitness pioneer Sheila Cluff and her husband Don who changed the name to The Palms at Palm Springs and established the first health spa in an otherwise lazy Palm Springs. Then in 2007 after an extensive renovation designed in collaboration with Los Angeles based Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, the renamed Colony Palms Hotel has regained its swagger as a stunning four-star boutique hotel.

Here’s what I tried:

Oysters on the Half Shell – mignonette, cocktail sauce, horseradish, lemon. Nice fresh little gems from the sea, they don’t disappoint!

The Wedge, house made blue cheese, pepper bacon, pickled red onion, cherry tomatoes. This salad was so tasty I had to finish the whole thing.

Ravioli of Butternut Squash – Brown butter, sage, lemon, and pumpkin seeds. Great savory ravioli, not too sweet, nice buttery goodness.

Pan roasted diver scallop, parsnip cream, braised chanterelle, pomegranate glaze. I just can’t get enough of scallops and this version was different because of the pomegranate glaze.

Chipotle braised short rib, corn polenta, sugar peas, and baby carrots. The short rip was stringy buy very tender and the chipotle is a nice strong choice for this dish.

Prime New York steak, garnet yam puree, green beans, hazelnut, and red wine sauce. The yam puree makes this a very unique take on a New York Steak, and it definitely works.


Chardonnay, Napa Cellars, Napa Valley, 2012. This wine has hints of pineapple and peach, it was great with the Scallops.

Chardonnay, Napa Cellars, Napa Valley, CA 2014. This wine has subtle citrus nuances, and went great with the wedge salad.

Chardonnay, Landmark, Sonoma, CA 2012. With its crisp buttery finish this is the wine to drink with the Butternut ravioli’s.


Pinot Noir, Murphy-Goode, CA 2012. I like this wine with the oysters; it is light enough not to wipe the flavors of the sea.

Zinfandel, Seghesio, Sonoma, CA 2012. I was a wine club member here for many years so I know this wine very well. I would try this with the short ribs.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Joseph Carr, Napa Valley, CA, 2012. It has some burnt vanilla characteristics and enhanced the steak recipe perfectly.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Adaption, Napa Valley, CA, 2012. You can drink this wine with either the steak or the short rib.


Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake – warm toffee sauce, crème fraiche sorbet. Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic.

Chocolate Caramel Torte – caramel Sea Salt Ice Cream. So chocolate and caramel in the same bit with Sea Salt ice cream, I am just going or scream thinking about it, so off the hook.

Greg Stillman is the new executive chef of The Purple Palm Restaurant, bringing a lifelong passion for food and cooking to the boutique resort. Inspired by his surroundings, as well as seasonal ingredients, Stillman focuses his efforts on the menus for the Purple Palm restaurant, working with California producers and foragers to incorporate the fragrant fruits and fresh vegetables of each season into his dining experiences. Prior to his new role, Stillman served as the executive chef at The Restaurant at Ponte Family Winery. Shortly thereafter, he became executive chef at Ra Pour, located in Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga.

The surroundings are so comforting, lush elixirs of trees, gardens and flowers make this place very memorable. Come for the food and stay for the contagious ambiance.

The Purple Palms
572 N Indian Canyon Dr,
Palm Springs, CA 92262

(760) 969-1818






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