Category: Restaurants

I used to have a sign hanging in my kitchen – Bloom Where You’re Planted.   It always reminded me that quality of life was in direct proportion to perspective.  Being at peace with where I was made it that much easier to find the beauty around me.  It’s always there  if we look so I made it a practice to not wish my life away, wanting to be somewhere else.  But it’s also nice to have a little getaway now and then – to experience something different and learn about new things.  It was with that in mind that we recently headed up the Pacific Coast Highway (320 miles and 5 hrs) to the sweeping, pastoral grandeur of Paseo Robles and its impressive wine region. 

Located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco in the area known as the Central Coast Region, Paso Robles has become a wine and food lovers delight and destination.  The Santa Lucia Mountain Range causes the climate to provide nearly perfect growing conditions for the grapes and I can attest to its delicious hot dry days and cool crisp nights –  perfect for exploring, dining and sleeping.  Is there anything better?

Once best known for  cattle and grain, the land surrounding Paso Robles is now almost exclusively dedicated to grapes and orchards filled with precision plantings of walnut, olive and almond trees.  There is an overwhelming feeling of orderliness that is at once calming and satisfying.  The smaller vineyards also give one the sense that somehow we’ve stumbled into a privileged and well-kept secret.  Lucky us.  Intimate restaurants with an eye towards culinary excellence have cropped up all around the charming area and are poised to compliment these wonderful vineyards that are no doubt giving Napa a run for the money. Lovely to have an intelligent conversation with the Vineyard representatives and not have people jammed up eight-deep at the tasting bar.

The number of wineries in the area is staggering – over 200, and they are all tucked into the country roads that wind through the pristine rolling hills.  All offer tastings and tours of their facilities, a fee for which is waived if a purchase is made. I readily admit to being a “common sewer of wine,”  and I fully expected that most of the “tastings” would be lost on me.  But with a little coaching from our most knowledgable guide and new BFF, Michael Garcia, even I began to appreciate the subtle differences between a Sauvignon or a Grenache.

Winemaking is a fascinating blend of art and science and isn’t for the faint of heart or the investor looking to make a fast buck.  It’s a labor of love that is anything but a poor man’s game when the vintner must wait for years for the vines to mature before knowing whether or not they can expect a drinkable harvest.  Even then fickle mother nature can play havoc, with entire crops being lost to too much rain, not enough rain; too much heat, not enough heat; blights, molds, fungus and on and on. 

An interesting example of the quality small vineyards found in the area is Halter Ranch – where in 2000 Swiss entrepreneur Hansjorg Wyss restored a 1,000 acre 19th century ranch.  They now have 240 acres dedicated to twenty varieties of vines which are currently producing about 35,000 bottles a year.   Their wine making process, with gleaming stainless steel vats and hoppers, is certified sustainable and is a green, state-of-the-art operation in every way.  From energy to gravity to water and resource conservation to sourcing their oak barrels, every aspect of the estate is approached with scientific precision.  Theirs is a very impressive 150 year plan. 

Think the best olive oil has to come from Italy?  Think again.  Award winning Pasolivo Olive Oil farm boasts 6,000 organically farmed trees, olives from which are handpicked and pressed right on the property, usually in late November.  We sampled exquisite oils made from the last harvest and silky and delicate flavors such as rosemary or citrus had our mouths watering for more. I was chomping at the bit to try some on pasta, which I certainly did upon our return home.  Outstanding.

Although we found fine dining experiences a surprising norm, I must single out  McPhee’s Grill in the nearby village of Templeton.  The restaurant, in an old farm-house on the Main Street was an Outstanding Culinary Highlight.  A simple salad of butter lettuce with ruby grapefruit, spicy carmalized nuts and port vinaigrette was followed by a macadamia nut encrusted halibut with a ginger sesame vinaigrette, cocoanut rice and asian slaw.  Nothing exotic, just delicately and expertly executed by extraordinary chef Ian McPhee.  Our dinners were paired with a 2005 Linne Calodo Zinfandel that had everyone at the table nodding with satisfaction – even me!  I don’t have the vocabulary to describe our desert of apricot bread pudding with a warm anglaise.  The menu touted it as one time won’t matter Well, that’s not entirely true because honestly, it did matter.  It was unforgettably, simply heaven.

After a week, we were happy to head back home where I’m now scouring my recipe books for all the new tastes we experienced, like the orange curd on our breakfast scones, and those delicate vinaigrettes I mentioned. In the next few weeks my kitchen will be blooming with the new tastes and flavors that I’m planting in my own kitchen – for today and for many years to come.

JakesOne of the delicious benefits of attending (along with eight friends) the Int’l Film Festival in Palm Springs is discovering new restaurants in between our movie selections. It’s no exaggeration that the whole 12-day marathon requires spread-sheet precision when choosing from the approximately 210 screenings (most films are shown twice) and the myriad choices of the disparate film lovers in our little group.  We are not of one mind so needless to say, appropriate sustenance is required.

When forced to stand in queue, our scientific analysis has proved that the bulk of the line forms at about the 60-70-minute  mark so by arriving at the 75-minute mark prior to the film’s showing we are confident that we will gain a front-of-the-line advantage and thus, a center seat upon entering the theater. While waiting it’s fun to meet other folks who have traveled to Southern California from all over the US  to enjoy the Festival.  Invariably the topic of conversation veers toward “what films have you seen and where have you eaten?”  Last Thursday it was due to a strong recommendation offered by the couple next to us, that we decided to try Jake’s, billed as a “hip yet casual bistro,” located in the up-town section of North Palm Springs.  Thanks to the magic of cell phone to Internet to Open Table, we secured a reservation for after the movie.

What a delightful surprise!  It’s tiny and charming with a cozy patio and a large underlit bar, decorated with those magical twinkle lights and huge umbrellas. We arrived Jakes4early, but were immediately seated in a romantic spot where large patio heaters kept us comfy as we enjoyed the outdoor ambiance and studied the menu and wine list.  The selections appeared to be upscale offerings with gourmet touches that leaned toward the unusual.  Everything reflected an obvious attention to quality ingredients with the right dash of flair.  The prices were reasonable.

I wasn’t at all surprised to learn about owners Bruce Bloch, a creative director from the Manhattan advertising world and Chris Malm, a Cornell grad with 30 years in New York’s brutal restaurant/hotel industry.  They bring an undeniable New York savvy and it shows big time.  Anyone familiar with the New York food scene will attest to the fact that in New York, if you aren’t outstanding, you don’t survive!  Jake’s is outstanding.

Our choices included french onion soup (delivered by an appropriately French waiter;) arugula salad with blood oranges and baby hearts of palm; an eggplant tower of Jakes1mozzarella, ricotta and asparagus; and shrimp stuffed with Gruyere and crab meat served over garlic smashed potato and very very thin (I think roasted crispy) Julienne veggies.  That gorgeous French waiter kept returning with the most mouth-watering rolls, fresh from the oven. Everything was served elegantly and the portions were just right. Nothing left for tomorrow’s lunch…well, except…

Jakes2During dinner the most magnificent three-layer cakes kept calling to us from their refrigerated  glass case.  We were told they have a local pastry chef who bakes for them and after such a fabulous dinner we knew we would not disappointed by our choices of Coconut Cake and Orange Blossom Cake; slices so huge, iced so thick and sooooo rich that it would have been sinful to finish them.  So they kindly boxed our leftovers for a second tasting the following day.  Sigh.  They were just as delicious the second time around.  It’s been a long time since we’ve had such a satisfying dining experience, start to finish.

Can’t wait to try their weekend brunch.  You should too.

Palm Desert might have its ever so chi chi El Paseo,  and LaQuinta can offer you its quaint Old Towne charm, but there’s nothing quite like Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, no matter the season.  It’s the perfect amalgamation of glitz, glam and in your sassy face that will enliven even the most sedentary spirit.

Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk, I’m a woman’s man: no time to talk.  

Music loud and women warm. I’ve been kicked around since I was born.

And now it’s all right – it’s O.K.  And you may look the other way.

Go ahead.  Take your pick and channel The Lady Chablis  or John Travolta  strollin’ down the avenue with Stayin’ Alive  thumping in your brain.   No question the vibe of this street makes you feel alive! And nobody’s gonna give you a second glance.   Pricey art galleries are in cohabitation with tacky tourist traps, and the most divine al fresco dining in the Valley is picture perfect for watching the world drift by.

Down towards the southwest end of Palm Canyon, set back from the sidewalk, is a lovely little oasis – a restaurant that’s a must try on your next foray into Neverland.  It’s called Sammy G’s Tuscan Grill, an absolute gem hiding right in plain sight.  Don’t know how we missed it, but so glad our foodie friends Ron & Ilene introduced it to us.

There is a serene beauty in the Tuscan Villa inspired decor –  cozy dining alcoves glowing with mood lighting are nestled next to other spaces of sweeping, stately grandeur.  The service is more than attentive  but blissfully unobtrusive – not an easy task as anyone knows who has ever worked in hospitality.

But the food…ah, the food.   Our selections included a deliciously fresh calamari, a tender trout almondine, hearty eggplant parmesan and a delicate shrimp risotto.  Every choice assured us that this chef believes in marrying quality ingredients to dedicated processes.

Sammy G’s Tuscan Grill ranks up there with the best of the best.  The pastas are homemade.  The greens are local and organic.  The selections have each received a special twist that elevates the ordinary to the exceptional without crawling out on the limb too far.  Portions aren’t overwhelming, which allows room for a delectable desert or an apéritif.  It’s all part of a grand experience, which is exactly what we wanted and we were not disappointed.

Did I mention there is a lively bar scene with entertainment at one end of the villa?  Can’t wait to go back.  Now dammit, where did I store my elevated boots?

Leo The Lion

August is a great celebratory month at our house as we get to acknowledge multiple birthdays.  We are a great pride of Lions – seven in all, working our way into the third generation.   It’s the perfect excuse to  frequent our favorite restaurants.  This week I’m sharing with you two that are definitely worth your time and your dollars. 

Pacifica is a lovely gem on El Paseo on the second floor of The Gardens which we frequent regularly.  It’s a great spot for lunch, particularly when the triple digits subside, as their beautiful outdoor patio makes you feel like you’re dining in a New York highrise, floating serenely above ‘the peoples.’  But in August, we opt for the interior; cool, calm and relatively quiet even though there is quite the happening bar scene at the opposite end of the large space.   We are always greeted by a warm hostess who is expecting us (thanks to Open Table which we use all over the US.)  The wait staff are congenial, helpful and yet unobtrusive. 

As the name implies, Pacifica specializes in a tantalizing variety of seafood, but there is also an impressive list of alternatives for the carnivores.  As always, we were not disappointed.  My three companions went for the special sunset seafood medley; small portions of beautifully presented salmon, shrimp and swordfish, moist and centered in a delicate beurre blanc sauce and accompanied by a puree of potato and sautéed spinach.  Side orders of sautéed mushrooms and lightly grilled asparagus were a perfect accompaniment.   I did my usual grilled salmon  (Dr. Perricone would be proud) and what turned out to be the HIT OF THE NIGHT… Lemon Risotto…OMG can you say “to die for?”  I could have made a whole meal of that…and will very shortly when I make it for an upcoming dinner party I’m planning.  Just have to scurry out back and talk to that Meyer lemon tree and tell it to Get A Move On! 

Meyer lemons are soooooo slow but there simply is no substitute.   Ya know it takes a whole year for those little darlings to ripen up?  Fagitabout those yellow styrofoamy things from the supermarket – Fakers!  Our tree is a bit schizophrenic in that it produces Eureka lemons on the branches that are hanging-out over in the neighbor’s garden (a bit of co-mingling going on over there), while the limbs closest to our orange tree produce huge fruit with decidedly orange, dimpled outer peels.  The Meyers are on the front side of the tree that enjoys the most morning sun.  Anyhoo, back on January 16  I wrote a piece about Seafood Risotto and shared a recipe I’m sure is easily adapted. 

For our birthday dessert the restaurant graciously brought out – with candle – one of those killer deserts I know as a Midnight Seduction.  That name certainly conjures up a few censored thoughts doesn’t it?  This dessert was a baby bunt size that ooozed with warm bitter sweet chocolate which I’m certain is generously infused with Grand Mariner.   Well, we were all “infused” after sharing. 

My all time favorite  restaurant is, and has been since we started coming to the desert, Tommy Bahamas, at the other end of The Gardens on El Paseo.   I order the same thing every single time.  I know.  “Boring.”   But when you find a good thing, why screw around? 

We start by sharing:  their delicious, homemade, mouth-watering, hot-out-of-the-oven rolls with honey ginger butter spread.  Next comes “little tastes” of Coconut Shrimp with mango papaya chutney and Asian Slaw, and Crab Cakes with a sweet chilli mustard sauce.   Then if I’m feeling particularly gluttonous I might indulge in the Crab Bisque with sherry, which is the absolutely the best  this side of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, where She Crabs reign.   My husband generally goes for the Ahi Tuna and I have the luncheon Steak Salad – perfectly grilled and sliced tenderloin of beef, roasted crispy shiitake mushrooms like you have never tasted, cherry tomatoes, some grilled potatoes (that I ignore) and a lovely Vinaigrette.  Then….if you haven’t already rolled yourself out the door…can I just tell you that you really ought to try the Pina Colada Cake with rum, pineapple, chocolate mousse, toasted cocanut…should I continue?

A thousand thank-yous to restaurant manager extraordinaire Waleska Coffman, who always makes our visit seem more like a visit to her own kitchen.  As she flies from busing tables to checking the kitchen to greeting her guests, it’s readily apparent that Waleska not only knows her business, she also makes it her business to know her customers, and a more efficient, eyes-everywhere, warm and engaging woman you will never find.  We are honored by her friendship and grateful for her unfailing, tenacious  attention to the best, beautiful, mouth-wateringly satisfying food in the Valley.

We were looking forward to a favorite experience – a lovely new to us restaurant – the LaQuinta Baking Company, on the southwest corner of Washington & Highway 111.  Actually, one morning last winter I had a lovely cappuccino and pastry there, outside by their bubbling fountain.  I just hadn’t realized they were a full service restaurant.   

We had an early reservation, and good thing – the place was already full when we arrived, but our table was waiting.   One of our party is a vegetarian, another one has a sugar intolerance, so as a table we are a bit more particular, questioning the server about the preparation of our choices.   As an aside, I have never worked in the restaurant industry for a reason – I do not have  the temperament for it.  However, I fully appreciate how difficult the job is.  I tip well and expect good service, so may I suggest to all those out there who do work in this most difficult industry – please avoid the exasperated look when the customer begins the questioning process, even if it does seem a bit tedious?  We want and sometimes need to know.  Afterall, the customer spends his/her money for the culinary experience and if the server finds this “too much” perhaps said server should find alternative employment.   Agreed?   Good.  Moving on.

So back to our dining experience.  First up was a lovely spinach salad, fresh greens with walnuts and what we thought the menu said would be goat cheese.  Turns out it was bacon.  “Whoops,” the vegetarian says as she tries to signal the waitperson – to no avail.  Okay, we can deal with it.  Hubby was happy to indulge in the extra portion.   When one in our party ordered a mango ice tea, a chorus of “me too” arose when we heard they had our favorite beverage.   “Whoops,” we all said after the first gulp…it was so over the top with sugar that it was impossible to drink.   We tried to signal the waitperson – to no avail.

Two surprises, the bases were loaded. 

With trepidation we awaited our main courses which arrived without fanfare.  I had asked to substitute the Veal Marsala for Piccata since Chicken Piccata was on the menu.  No problem.  Two of our party had Fillet of Sole and Lobster Ravioli, respectively, served with a small portion of scalloped potatoes.  A sampling told me the chef knew what he was doing.  My veal, fried crispy on the outside but still tender, was served over a nice al dente linguine.   All of the portions were exactly right – not meant for a family of four. 

For dessert we opted to share one Neapolitan, which was a generous portion and made to perfection, chilled to facilitate the cutting/eating experience.  Anyone who has ever attempted to eat a Neapolitan knows they can be molto disordinato!  In this case,  it was heavenly and absolutely worth it.  With our coffees and espressos, all was forgiven.

Overall, this restaurant delivered surprisingly good food.  The china and the utensils were institutional, the glassware was plastic, the tables were crowded and covered with white paper and the service was uneven.   Afterall, it is a bakery and if it’s a wonderful pastry you crave with your morning’s coffee, I highly recommend it.  And for dinner, while you won’t get a fine dining experience, you will get delicious  food that is above the ordinary.

Yes.  Memorial Day = Hot Dogs. 

Why this equation is so, I don’t know.  I suppose it stems from living in the Northeast where the unpredictable weather never allows much opportunity to perfect ones grillmeistering prowess until one is safely past the ‘no frost zone’ of the 30th of May.  Even the venerable Farmer’s Almanac warns Northeasterners against planting tender seedlings before then, unless they are protected at night.  Believe me I’ve had to replace more frozen Impatients than I care to remember, and I’ve grieved over dying Wisteria buds that dared to show their glorious blooms before the threat of frost had passed.  Funny thing is, now that we’re in the desert, sometimes we have to protect the Bougainvillea in January as occasionally the frost gets that too.

Sorry…I digress…hot dogs.   How the term came about is the subject of multiple google hits but suffice it to say, aficionados are very fussy about their hot dogs.   Personally, just like burnt toast, I like mine charred black  (I know, hard to believe a gourmand would admit such a thing,) but restaurants frown on requesting burnt food.   So on a recent shmying Saturday when we couldn’t make up our minds about what to have for lunch we began a quest for the best hot dog in the Coachella Valley.  I am happy to report that

 we have discovered two outstanding locations for awesome hot dogs.

You can consider this post a double restaurant review.  The first discovery was Grill a Burger,  at the corner of Monterey and Country Club.  The menu descriptions alone had me in stitches –  Bacon Me Crazy, Hokey Smokey, Pancho Villa, Great Eggspectations, What A Friend We Have in Cheeses, not to mention Code Bleu Orgasmic Burger, Gretta Carbo and Muther Clucker.  For the Vegan choices there’s the Bob Cobb Salad, or That’s Juan Big Salad and – ah ha – the object of our quest – the selection of hot dogs under the banner of I Dream Of Weenie The Doghouse.   There, nestled amongst the Buck Naked Ho Hum Dog, the Cincinnati Dog with mustard, all meat chilli and cheddar cheese,  the Dog Pile, Dog in Heat and Junk Yard Dog, awaited the Carolina Dog, with all-meat chilli, chopped raw onion, mustard, and… coleslaw.  What is it about Southerners – we are known to put coleslaw on just about anything – hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled pork barbecue, shredded chicken.  Can I just tell you that every bite transported me back to more innocent times spent south of the Mason Dixon.  Dee-lay-cious.

But our quest continued.  And to our delight, we discovered right under our noses, a surprising and worthy contender at our favorite ‘local hangout’  Legends & Icons.  Since the new owners took over, its popularity precludes finding an empty table between five and seven.  We love the place.  The managers and servers are all friendly and happy to see us.   Feeling like we’ve just sneaked out of camp after curfew is an added bonus as we  zip our golf cart through the ‘secret gate’ into the Stater Brothers Shopping Center (corner of Varner and Washington).   

Legends & Icons’ menu has quite a variety, but two of their hot dog selections proved worthy of  our exploration.  However, they didn’t warn us about the SUPER SIZE.  Yoda would say”Spilling off the plate at both ends, it is.”     The pictures say it all.  It’s become our hands-down favorite!   They even grill the bun.

But trust me, I’m not gonna mention the homemade cocoanut  cream pie that the chef decides to make ON OCCASION .  No way am I sharing that secret.  Right Ruthie?

P.S. Happy birthday to Mama Tillie who is 98 years young this week!

Legends & Icons Hot Dog

The Carolina Dog
Legends & Icons Chili-Cheese Dog


Bravo for Trio

Trio is uptown – in the Uptown Design District of Palm Springs. 

Trio is a trio of good things:

  • part exceptional food
  • part art gallery with a heart   (10% of sales are donated to the Art Institute at Palm Springs High School)
  • part architectural landmark in mid-century modernism. 

On the night we visited, we were headed for a local community theater offering, so our reservation was for 5:30.  Good plan.  Within a half hour of our arrival patrons were packed in like sardines.   No matter.   Our trio of servers moved like a well orchestrated dance team navigating between the tables as they showered us with just the right amount of attention.  

The pre fix menu was well designed yet  interesting –  a trio of pairings for a surprising $19.  My white bean humus with Kalamata olives and crostini, was followed by Australian sole, paired with Israeli couscous – all perfectly prepared.  Our entire party finished with a chocolate bread pudding that had us swooning. 

Other choices at our table included:  falling off the bone spare ribs paired with perfectly crisped sweet potato fries; an adult mac & five cheese dish, tricked out with  bacon and scallions; and an elegantly stacked, mouth-watering  Portobello, eggplant, carmelized onion, veggie burger.   Happily none of our servings were overwhelming – like Goldilocks, they were just  right.

Kudos to owners Tony Marchese and Chef Mark Van Laanen, who have created “comfort food with a contemporary flair,”  sacrificing nothing in the process.  They have a green commitment to be sustainable, organic, and natural whenever possible.  Just proves that you can do it and still thrive, if you want to.   

Their current “special  Dinner and a Show”  offering combines great food with support for neighbor Palm Canyon Theater which is currently featuring Urinetown.  (review to follow)  Check Trio’s website for the dates that apply.

In a word, Trio was satisfying.  I’m looking forward to our next visit.

Periodically after their Sunday game, my husband’s golf foursome invites “the girls” to brunch,  particularly to celebrate someone’s birthday.  It’s a fun way to discover new restaurants.   

We’re all foodies so we consider this serious research.

This hidden gem is nestled in the Miramonte Resort on Highway 111 in  Indian Wells.   Don’t be put off  by their odd name, The Grove Artisan Kitchen.   The food is organically delicious (they support local growers) and the setting is serene.  

Among the menu selections on this particular day was an artistically pleasing tuna wrap, a homemade three cheese ravoli and a deliciously juicy flank steak salad, but the outstanding selection was the unusual gazpacho.  After one taste I begged our waiter to ask the Chef for the recipe.  He graciously wrote down the ingredients.

Although it may sound a little nerdy, I actually enjoy researching recipes on Google.  The differing results are often a surprise and this search was no exception.  When that occurs, I  keep looking until a preponderance of evidence weighs in.   Herewith the findings:

Yellow Gazpacho

1 navel orange, peeled, 4 yellow beefsteak tomatoes (hard to find), 2 yellow bell peppers, 1 cucumber, 1 Myan or Vadalia onion, garlic clove, 3/4 c good olive oil, 1/4 c Sherry vinegar, juice of 1-2  lge Meyer lemon, dash of tabasco and salt & pepper to taste.  This cold soup should have some ZING. 

Throw all in food processor and pulse sparingly.  Add 1 c french bread crumbs (optional but gives the soup umph)  and .   Refrigerate for several hours, then garnish with chives, diced yellow pepper and lemon or orange zest and serve with a tiny dollop of sour cream.

 Check it out.

In my early twenties I spent some time in Bardstown, Kentucky, near the home of  the Makers Mark Kentucky Whiskey Distillery.  One of my most vivid memories was of the smell of sour mash.  In the humidity of the summer, even the apples on the trees tasted like bourbon.   I can’t say it was always pleasant, but it sure was memorable.

Fast forward to this fall when we were on our way to a Jazz Concert at  the LaQuinta Resort and wanted a quick but decent dinner before the concert.  Old Towne was right around the corner and upon our friends’  recommendation we gave The Grill on Main a try. 

From the parking lot the grill smells told us we were in for a treat.  We had no disappointments here!   The service was prompt and friendly, the setting was better than average and all our entries were deliciously prepared and beautifully presented. 

But the pièce de résistance  was the Bread Pudding with Makers Mark sauce.  OMG…it defied description and took me right back to my Bardstown memories. 

I’ve never been a big fan of bread pudding, but after my experience, I had to try to recreate it at home.  After an exhaustive search for a good bread pudding recipe with the correct accoutrement  I checked out the Makers Mark website in hopes of a recipe.   I’m convinced you won’t find a better one.!/cook/desserts/47-apple-bourbon-bread-pudding-br-with-maker-s-mark-caramel

Just remember my mantra, don’t skimp or substitute on the basic ingredients.  This one is worth the effort.  And so is the Grill on Main Street, Old Towne, LaQuinta.

Our fourth trip back  in three years to this funky Palm Springs  restaurant proved every bit as rewarding as the earlier ones.  In between movie previews at the Annenberg, as part of our International Film Festival marathon, we’d gotten confused about where we’d made our early dinner reservations.  

Zini Mediterranean has a sister restaurant called Zen American Bistro and they are within a block of each other on South Palm Canyon in Palm Springs.  A frantic phone call finally clarified it.

Happy hour is a great time to try this restaurant.  Even the Mimosas are only a couple of bucks.  The Tapas choices were a bit skimpy for the price, but delectable none the less — great choices of gourmet cheeses, meats and olives and yummy bread.    Fortunately we had the time for a leisurely repast, as we weren’t due back for our second film screening for several hours. Besides, watching the masses drift by the open cafe is always a trip!  Our waiter, Greg, was a hoot and a good sport to boot.  He turned out to be a Palm Springs native who is a die hard Patriots fan, so we all had one eye on the bar television. 

BTW  if you get as confused as we were, just remember, Zini is a couple of doors down from the Follies and around the corner from Tylers.   Have the Salad Niçoise.*   What else do you need to know? 

*of or pertaining to Nice, France. Dishes that are served à la niçoise are characterized by ingredients common to the south of France — black olives and olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, green beans, potatoes, and anchovies.

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