Friday, February 21, 2014

Palm Greens

When I was a teenager, one of my dad's clients used to let us borrow his vacation home in Palm Desert every year for Spring Break.  My brother and I were each allowed to bring a friend and I always brought my dear friend S.  We'd spend those weeks lounging by the pool, driving golf carts, and playing Super Mario Bros. 3

Fast forward to now with S living in the Bay Area with her husband and two adorable kids and our Palm Desert trips firmly in the past.  Or so we thought.  S was in Palm Desert at the end of January for an annual  three-day work conference and I happened to be able to join her on her last evening at the JW Marriot.

Since I had the day off work, I decided to drive down early and enjoy the hotel amenities while S finished her conference.  This was my view as I read pilot scripts on the balcony, listening to the sounds of the ducks as they swam by in pairs.

S has recently become interested in eating organic and I knew I had to take her to Palm Greens Cafe for dinner.  Palm Greens is a vegan-friendly restaurant in Palm Springs that is committed to serving organic food.  Dinner there is more formal than lunch, with table service, dim lighting, and the lunch counter obscured by a Japanese screen.  We were both quick to choose our meals.  I went with the
Vegetable Shepherds Pie (mushroom gravy, whipped garnet yams and Yukon gold potatoes with house salad; gluten free and vegan).  The creamy, slightly sweet yams perfectly offset the winter vegetables underneath.  We also shared a lovely apple crumble, but my photo turned out too dark.

I've been to Palm Greens for breakfast and lunch several times.  The atmosphere is much more relaxed during the day, with customers ordering at the counter from large wall-mounted chalkboards and sunshine pouring in through the windows.  

Bradley's Ultra Green Smoothie (spinach, kale, mint, banana, apple juice, ginger, probiotic, aloe vera, spirulina)

Grilled Tempeh Reuben (grilled tempeh, sauerkraut, swiss or vegan cheese, on Jewish rye bread, with vegan Russian dressing and a pickle on the side)

   Vegan French Toast

Vegan Haystack (tempeh patty, tempeh bacon, vegan pepper jack cheese, bbq sauce, pickled jalapenos, lettuce, on whole wheat sunflower bun). 

S and I are planning to make this an annual tradition, which means more Palm Greens menu sampling is in our future.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

LA Vegan Valentine's Day 2014

For all the LA lovers looking for a vegan Valentine's Day meal, the following restaurants are offering prix fixe menus:

Crossroads ($75/person, includes five courses and a complimentary glass of champagne per person; served February 14-16).  If I were going, I'd order the Bloomsdale Spinach Salad, Italian Wedding Soup, Oven Roasted Chanterelles, Artichoke Ravioli, and Decadent Hot Fudge Sundae.   

Sage ($75/person, includes six courses and a complimentary bottle of wine (Echo Park location) or two cocktails per person (Culver City location).  If I were going, my choices would be the Hearts of Palm Salad, Butternut Squash & Beet Soup, Winter Vegetable Tempura, Crostini with Dill Cashew Cheese, Gluten Free Penne with Coconut Cream Pesto and Asparagus, and a scoop of KindKreme for dessert.

Matthew Kenney's M.A.K.E. ($150/person, includes six courses and a glass of champagne each; $200/person, includes eight courses and a complimentary bottle of wine to share; $250/person, includes nine courses and five wine pairings; served February 13-16).  These menus feature:  Oyster Mushrooms, Warm Cauliflower Soup, Wilted Chicory, Beet and Fig Carpaccio, Celeriac Agnolotti, Cheese Course to share ($250 menu only), Rose Hip Tea Ice ($200 and $250 menus only), Chocolate Dipped Strawberries ($200 and $250 menus only), and Chocolate Layer Cake.

Real Food Daily ($68/person, includes four courses).  If I were going, I would order the Roman Cheese Plate, Sicilian Red Lentil Soup, Calabrese Stuffed Pepper, and Creme Brulee.

Shojin ($38/person, includes three courses; served February 13-14).  The downtown LA and Culver City Shojin locations will be offering a Valentine's Day banquet of French Onion Soup, Green Forest and Yuba Wrap Sushi, and Seitan Steak with Garlic Herb Butter.   

LA Vegan Crepe ($25/person, includes three courses and complimentary apple cider).  If I were going, I would choose the Smoked Salmon Carpaccio with Tartare Sauce and Mini Pita, the Veggie Lovers Crepe, the mysterious Valentine's Dessert, and tea.

While Crossroads, with its romantic ambiance, incredible food, and beautiful presentation would be my top choice, any of these restaurants would be a wonderful treat for the love in your life.  Or you could always whisk your love away to Paris...