Massage at Somatherapy – Nov. 20, 2013
I met Margaret Hines at the Women’s convention, where I got a mini chair massage. She was so nice and invited me to her school to experience the 1-hour treatment.
This is the best deal on the planet, $25.00 for an hour massage! This was not just any run of the mill massage, I have to say, it was one of the best ever. At the school, there is a very nice serene room, with quiet tranquil background music. Margaret is a master, she hit every pressure point and muscle and kept asking me if I was ok. I was better then ok, I was fabulous! I’m telling you, this massage will rejuvenate you, and for the price it really doesn’t get any better then this. So when you’re in the desert don’t get fooled by pricey spa type treatments, just call Margaret and she will make you feel like a king or queen.
70225 Highway 111 Suite B&C
Rancho Mirage, CA. 92270
Dinner at Lulu’s Nov. 20, 2013
Right in the heart of Downtown Palm Springs, it doesn’t get any cooler then this. Kind of like a throwback to Modernism but with a Disneyland twist. All the fantasies you would want in one place, very stylish, but upscale and funky at the same time.
There is a love story here, between manager Willie and his partner Albert Gonzales. Albert walked over to my table and said that the food was making him salivate. He is hysterical. Willie and Alberto met at a Circle K store 8 years ago and it was love at first sight. They manage to balance their busy social lives with work. The love between them really shines through and when you first meet both of them you can see hearts dancing all around them.
Here’s what I tried:
Skewer of Peppered Filet Mignon with strips on a caramelized and grilled green apple, served with a Wasabi-mustard sauce. They use choice Filet in this appetizer and it shows, a great starter.
Skewer of Shrimp and Scallops on a grilled pineapple served with wasabi-Asian sauce. The scallops are seared and the shrimp is tender and light. There is also an Asian slaw underneath which really make this dish delightful.
Wild Mushroom Soup, with a touch of white truffle olive oil and chopped chives. The true test of a good restaurant is their soup. Seems simple enough but many chefs can screw it up. This soup was a masterpiece.
Corn Chowder Soup with a creamy and kernel-rich blend of great ingredients and fantastic corn flavors.
Iceberg Wedge with hickory smoked bacon and Roquefort cheese dressing. What I like about this salad is that the lettuce is served really cold, and the dressing was not too overpowering.
Pizza with Smoked Salmon with dill créme, onions and caviar. I have had this pizza at Spagos, and this one is right up there with
Wolfgangs creation, nice!
New England Lobster Roll, lobster meat with our homemade mayo, celery, chives and diced tomatoes, served over your choice of three New England rolls. You can also get this with romaine lettuce hearts, next time I would do that. I love the lobster but the bread was just a bit much for me.
Domestic Kobe Beef Burger American Kobe Beef, thousand island dressing with grilled red onion, fresh sliced tomato and lettuce, served with French fries and garnished with cornichons. You just can’t go wrong with a Kobe burger, they always take special care in delivering the best burger, and this one is just marvelous.
Lasagna Bolognese Arturo Style, topped with their kielbasa sausage, very hearty, and the sausage adds a great surprise.
Grilled Pork Chop, topped with maple syrup and baked apple glaze, served with mashed red skin potatoes and
fresh seasonal vegetables. The pork chop itself is so firm, yet tender, and the amazing sweet glaze just gives it a very positive lift.
BBQ Baby Back Ribs with Arturo’s secret sauce, served with mashed red skin potatoes and fresh seasonal vegetables. These ribs just fall off the bone; the secret sauce will blow your hair back.
Filet Mignon 10 oz. grilled filet mignon, served with a light roasted garlic topping, sautéed mushrooms, mashed red skin potatoes and fresh seasonal vegetables. So many steaks so little time. This is just one more of the best of the best steaks I have tried since I have been on this journey.
Flourless Triple Chocolate Cake, this was astounding, so rich, and so
much chocolate, wow.
Floating Island, just when I though all of my dreams had come true, out came my very fantastic server with an addition. Served in the largest margarita glass in history, comes this creamy decadence. Floating crème with a very mysterious center, all I can say is save room; I am not going to give the surprise away.
Here are the Cocktails I tried:
Key Lime Pie, Smirnoff Whipped Vodka, fresh pineapple juice, lime juice, and a splash of half and half. I loved the consistency of this cocktail, with all of its great froth.
Cadillac Margaritas, with 1800 Reposado, Cointreau, Daily’s Sweet & Sour and a float of Grand Marnier. Very high end and very drinkable.
Here are the wines I tried;
Sauvignon Blanc, Kenwood, Sonoma, this wine is always a crowd pleaser and went great with the New England lobster roll.
Chardonnay, Kendall Jackson Vintners Reserve, a great wine to pair with the skewer of shrimp and scallops, just the right amount of butter and vanilla flavors.
Chardonnay, St. Francis, Sonoma, a good pair with the pizza with smoked salmon
Cabernet Sauvignon Simi, Alexander Valley, good combination with the Filet Mignon, captured all of the berries and smokiness in the meat.
Zinfandel, 7 Deadly Zins, California, I liked this wine with the grilled pork chop; it enhanced the sweetness in the sauce.
Malbec, Dona Paula, Argentina, went great with the Kobe beef burger; with it’s natural built in flavors.
Shiraz, Greg Norman, Australia, this was a stellar pairing with the Lasagna Bolognese.
The chandeliers were left over from the Ritz Carlton when it closed not too long ago. The artwork has a confetti look to it, which adds fun to the Large black and white photos of Richard Gere and other notable Hollywood stars that adorn the walls. I sat in the big over stuffed white booths against the wall, which gives you a panoramic view of all the diners. It is Las Vegas meets the Jetsons!
Barbara and Jerry Keller, who also own Aqua Pazza, have really struck gold here. The building has had a stormy history; first it was Muriel’s Supper club, then Atlas for 2 years then Kopycats for 3 years, then was abandoned for 5 years, and considered to be an eye sore in downtown Palm Springs.
On this night, the restaurant Kaiser Grille right across the street was empty, and Lulu’s was all a buzz. You really can’t find a more fun place in Downtown Palm Springs. Lively and full of great food, this place will rock your world!
LuLu California Bistro
200 S Palm Canyon Dr.,
Palm Springs · (760) 327-5858
Dinner Castelli’s Nov. 21, 2013
You would expect to see Tony Soprano or Joe Pesci in Casino at this authentic Italian restaurant, what a find. It has everything that you would expect from an old school, mob Italian style dinner house, right down to the piano bar. You could be somewhere in little Italy in New York with its wood paneled wainscoting walls. It’s got a green awning over the bar that says “ Bar Via Veneto”, with green table clothes and green carpet. I am hooked!
Most of the staff and owners are from St. Louis and they have been in business for 26 years, so its all one big happy family.
Since Palm Springs is very seasonal, they close from July 4th until the Thursday before Labor Day. So they are always closed in the heat of the summer for 6 ½ weeks.
Here’s what I tried:
Insalata di Caesar with crisp romaine lettuce tossed with their homemade, zesty dressing, sprinkled with imported Romano cheese. It does not get any more authentic then this, great rendition of this true classic.
Linguine alle Vongole with imported pasta prepared in a white clam sauce, extra virgin olive oil with garlic, green onions, basil and fresh Italian parsley. I love how all of the flavors melt together in this standard Italian dish, and this one really hit the spot, terrific.
Linguine alle Bolognese with imported pasta prepared in a sauce of diced tomatoes, red wine, ground beef, mushrooms and grated Parmigiana. It’s easy to ruin Bolognese but here at Castelli’s they cooked this sauce down to its utmost perfection.
Fettuccine Alfredo, specialty of the house. With imported pasta and cream, butter and freshly grated Parmigiana from Parma, Italy. Once again a dish that I have coveted throughout my whole life, starting at 19 when I first moved to the bay area. The restaurant called North Beach Restaurant was my favorite for this dish for a longtime, move over North beach Restaurant! This is the best ever, and is one of Castelli’s specialties.
Tortellini Romano, with beef stuffed pasta in a Romano cream sauce with Prosciutto, mushrooms, peas and freshly grated Parmigiana. This pasta is beyond good; no words can describe this fantastic creation.
Pranzo Del Padrino, The Godfather’s Dinner!
The Best of 3 Worlds! With tenderloin beef spiedini, shrimp scampi and Vitello alla Piccatina. I liked the dish but personally, I would just stick to the pasta’s here at Castelli’s
Wines I tried:
Chardonnay, William Hill, Central Coast, 2011. This wine went great with the Caesar salad, it had just the right amount of acid to perk up the anchovies, and cheese.
Chardonnay, Markham, Napa, 2011. No brainer, this one with the Linguine alle Vongole, nice fruity nuances, did not over power the garlic and clam sauce.
Chardonnay, Frank Family, Napa, 2012. The Fettuccine Alfredo was just the perfect creamy combination with the wines extra buttery consistency.
Oberon, M. Mondavi, Napa 2011, paired nicely with the Tortellini Romano.
Xyzin, Old Vine Zinfandel, Sonoma, CA 2011. Of course I would choose this one with the Linguine alle Bolognese, a perfect pair.
La Stonia, Trentadue, Alexander Valley, 2011. Great with the Pranzo Del Padrino, especially the filet.
Part of the fun of dining at Castelli’s is discovering Chef Brian Altman’s seasonal specials and having your dinner cooked exactly to order. I met Brian at The taste of the Valley and he invited me in to taste his wonderful creations. Owners Michael and John Castelli are there most nights, and will greet you upon arrival. There is seating in the intimate enclosed patio, and also in the well-known “Celebrity Room” where the walls are lined with photos of celebrities, or in one of their elegant private dining rooms.
Palm Springs has lots of throwback type restaurants, with Modernism being a big new draw there. If you want to go back to a time when men wore suits and big gold pinky rings, and smacked each other on the back to say hi, then Castelli’s is the place for you. Or if you want to eat really authentic terrific pasta, and be surrounded by family, Castelli’s will be your home away from home, either way it’s a real fun time!
73098 Highway 111
Palm Desert · (760) 773-3365