Palm Springs Getaway Nov. 17 – Nov. 21, 2013

People have been telling me that I am writing too much for each review so I am going to pare this whole review down so that you read the whole thing and it’s short and sweet. I usually talk about everything I eat and drink, this review I am just going to talk about the food and wine that I would recommend, here goes:

6th Annual Desert Women’s Show & Business Conference – Nov. 17, 2013.

What can you say about Suzanne Somers other then thigh master? Well even though I did not get a chance to see her speak at the conference”, her photo was on every Palm Springs Magazine and newspaper, she really is the main draw. Being the keynote speaker about her new book, “I’m too young for this” offered up some desert celebrity. The day I attended “The Taste of the Valley” there were great Palm Springs restaurants represented, some of which invited me to do a tasting later in my getaway week… including an hour massage!

Some of the finer restaurants were there such as: The Steakhouse, Backstreet bistro, Sullivan’s, Castellis, Joes Sushi, The I.W. Club, Tommy Bahamas’, along with Valley Brewing Co., and Crater Lake Vodka. There were lots of great tastes with drinks to match.

This is a great job! My 2 friends Jessica and Eric joined me on my adventure at Agua Caliente Resort and Casino, where the convention was held. My friend Jessica always surprises me, when she first came she handed me a hotel key and said if you need to take a nap or freshen up I got a hotel stay here, and you could always spend the night. She gave me a 2-night stay back a few years ago when I came to Palm Springs with my Mother. Agua Caliente has all of the great hotel amenities, including a flat screen very close to the bathtub, where Jessica’s daughter Ashley could be frequently found. I even watched the 49er game from the bathtub!

I am supposed to be writing about the conference not the hotel!
There were lots of interesting speakers including JJ Virgin talking about her healthy eating secrets and her new book. Doctors such as Dr. Steven Gundry offering up health scans. The overall feeling that I got from this event was that it is all abut woman’s comradery, and friendship.

Lunch at Desert Willow Golf Resort –  Nov. 18, 2013

I met Chef Francois at the conference and tried his amazing braised beef, it was delicious. So I asked him if he wound be interested in doing a private tasting for me, and wouldn’t you know, off I went the very next day. Situated off of Country Club Drive in Palm Desert you will find an oasis of great food and a fantastic golf course. Chef prepared 3 courses for me, each a sampler platter.

William, my server, came from great restaurant stock; his father has owns Guillermos in Palm Desert, hopefully one day soon I can do a tasting there! Hostess Koanda was hysterical, a real highlight in my experience. She is originally from Kansas City, but loves the desert and loves her job even more. Her face lights up when you talk about the view and how happy it makes her to be the hostess at Desert Willow Golf Resort.

There is so much wildlife to look at here, especially birds. William told us about a few pelican that landed in the picturesque lake; I thought pelicans in the dessert? Well while I was enjoying my lunch 3 pelicans landed right in front of me. Not your dark dirty looking pelicans that you normally see at the Pacific Ocean, no these were prestine white birds, very majestic. There were also red tailed hawks circling the lake as well.

The types of people that go to Desert Willow, of course the obvious golfers, but also ladies lunching, new retirees. The ladies were eating salads and the men are eating burgers as they enjoyed the beautiful lake view. Also, lots of movie star look a likes. They rely heavily this time of year on Canadian Tourism and the tourists won’t be disappointed.

Here’s what I tried:

Tortilla Soup, garnished with tortilla strips, cotija cheese and cilantro. Kind of had a nice kick to it, with good mellow flavors.

Scottish Salmon Salad with Scottish Salmon Za’atar chopped romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, olives, feta cheese and lemon vinaigrette dressing. This is a great salad for the calorie conscious, the salmon was cooked to perfection.

Shrimp and Lobster Louie Salad with chopped romaine lettuce, Boston lettuce, shrimp and lobster meat, roasted tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, cucumber, radish, bacon bits and louie dressing. By far the best thing I tried today. The lobster pops in your mouth; the butter lettuce is the perfect accompaniment.

Burger Forestiere, a pound burger with cheddar cheese, with sautéed chanterelle mushrooms, onion jam and demi glace. This would be the burger to order, great woodsy flavors from the mushrooms, what a great stand by.

Dessert sampler, Desert Willow Chocolate treat, Citrus Sundae, Tres Leche Cake. The presentation is gorgeous, so save some room for this delectable treat.

Here are the wines that I tried:

Kenwood, Cuvee Brut, Yulupa, a very great way to start my lunch with some very perky bubbles.

Grgich Hills, Fume Blanc,Napa CA. This wine paired nicely with the shrimp and lobster Louie, bright and elegant, but with subtle fruit flavors.

Desert Willow, Chardonnay, “Reserve” Fallbrook, CA. This wine is very drinkable, not so much oak, and lends itself to good balanced fruit flavors; it went great with the salmon.

Sterling Vineyards, Merlot, Napa, CA. I liked this one with the burger; it’s got robust berry nuances with a great finish, just the right amount of tannins to go with the sharp flavors in the burger.

7 Deadly Zins, Zinfandel, CA. I love a good Zinfandel with any kind of meat, so this one was just right with good balance as well.

I have to say that my wine experience here was beyond words; William opened up fresh bottles of wine for every tasting; that never happens!

The interior is very modern with a very special adornment, a Chihuly Chandelier, by renowned Washington State artist Dale Chihuly. It is truly a site to behold, the sculpture is 12 feet high and 6 feet in diameter, and is located in the main lobby when you first walk in. The lamp was commissioned with funds from the City of Palm Desert Art Program.

I also did a golf cart tour of the greens, which I have to say are very well kept and seems to be a golfers paradise. Golf Week and Golf World Reader’s choice “Top 50 Public Course” as well as one the “Best Place to Play” by Golf Digest. There are 2 world-class courses Firecliff and Mountain View.

This was a very nice way to spend the afternoon; a tranquil moment is my very busy weekend here in Palm Springs.

Desert Willow Golf Resort
38-995 Desert Willow Dr.
Palm Desert, CA 92260


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