Sunday, June 3, 2018

Preview: Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week, June 1-17, 2018

by @discovering_LA

The annual Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week is currently taking place through June 17 with over 100 participating restaurants throughout Coachella Valley offering prix-fixe lunches from $15-25 and dinners from $29-49.

Executive Chef Jason Moffitt of Chi Chi at the Avalon Hotel Palm Springs recently collaborated with Executive Chef Michael Reed of Viviane at the Avalon Beverly Hills for a pre-event tasting that I was fortunate to attend. We were seated outside near the hotel’s famous hourglass pool. It was rather chilly and we benefited from the non-obtrusive heaters. This hotel is historically preserved from Beverly Hills in the 1990’s and was renovated to make this property retro-chic to restore the glamour of Beverly Hills. I thought the exterior pastel colors really set the tone for the evening.

We began with Spanish Octopus.

The octopus was perfectly grilled with a pleasant wood-smoked flavor. The combination of smoked eggplant labneh, bulgur, pickled fresno chile, mint and zaatar gave it nice flavors with a bit of spiciness. It was served on top of grilled lavash.

The Kampachi Crudo was creatively flavored with charred pineapple, radish, cucumbers, fresh herbs, cashew nuts, white Soy dashi and fermented chili. A light dish such as this would be a great starter for the warm Palm Springs event.
 One of my favorites that evening was the Crispy Pork Belly Salad. Pork Belly by itself is too intense, it needs other items to balance out the saltiness. I really enjoyed the salad as it was a great combination of fruit, chili and herbs.
Ramps, a cousin of the onion, is hard to find in LA markets, but is one of the hottest vegetables on LA restaurant menus. Ramp was mixed into the fresh cavatelli to give it a green color. This vegetarian dish was mixed with morels giving it a slightly meaty flavor. Fresh asparagus was a nice addition to this dish.
When diver scallops are prepared well, I really savor them. The Seared Diver Scallops had a crisp exterior and were very tender and moist inside. It was added to an Italian strawberry panzanella salad and tossed with a strawberry vinaigrette. This was delicious!
When I saw the Wagyu Short Ribs, I thought that it was a sliced filet. The meat was perfectly prepared, tender, and flavorful. Despite the thick slices, it wasn’t difficult to eat. The english pea and ramp puree was a nice addition.

Wild Berries with coconut cream sauce is the perfect light dessert for people that want to enjoy dessert and not feel guilty about it. The fruit seemed to be fresh picked as it was full of flavor.
The Spiced Chocolate Devils Food Cake was absolutely decadent. If you love chocolate, you will definitely enjoy this dish.

That evening, I enjoyed the Hirsch Vineyards, San Andreas Estate Pinot Noir 2014. This wine had tones of red cherries and raspberries, yet was nicely balanced with a bit of acidity. It paired well with most of the items we enjoyed that evening.

Restaurant Week in the Greater Palm Springs is taking place now through June 17. Make plans to enjoy a participating restaurant on


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