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ChefBlog

Chef JoAnna is one of the original Los Angeles food blog writers. She started blogging before she enrolled in culinary school, but when school ended she decided that blog had to go. She started ChefBlog to transition from student to professional, and has been blogging about her Personal Chef and Catering gigs regularly (more or less) since then. Now residing in Prospect, TN, JoAnna is working on her new gig, MockingbirdAcres.com


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July 03, 2005

Wheee! I'm on vacation...

I'm out on an extra long spa-weekend vacation with my friend Kumari. We picked the Miramonte Resort and Spa in Indian Wells, CA (just outside of Palm Springs) The spa itself is lovely, it's just that the places we've chosen to eat were disappointing.

We had eaten a big breakfast at the ihop near my house before we left, so we weren't hungry until we arrived. We wanted to find something to eat during our last 45 minutes of the drive, but we didn't see anything but McDonalds. We were starving when we got here, but we didn't want to wait until AFTER our first spa treatments to eat, so we had our first meal at the restaurant here: a rushed late lunch at the onsite restaurant, Brissago. I got a chicken salad burrito wrap that was pretty good, and she got a caprese salad that was rather lacking in flavor. Then I went to go have a treatment called a "veggie wrap", which made me a human burrito. She got a "wine bath", which was a big bubble bath jaccuzi with wine extracts. Mine took lots longer than hers, so when I dragged myself back to the room, she was on the phone with another mutual friend. I flopped face down on the bed for 45 minutes before I was even coherent.

By then it was getting to be time for dinner, so instead of trying to drive around in the dark to find somewhere to eat, we opted for the onsite restaurant again. I was in the mood for Italian anyway!

It was just an average place. None of the entrées looked especially interesting, so we had an assortment of "appetizers" instead. We each had the roasted tomato soup, which was good... but we shared an overly sweet salad of figs over mixed greens. Finally she had the shrimp and I had the calamari. Neither of us finished them. Oh well. Then we went to Ralphs to buy some groceries for snacks and for breakfast. This strategic move has allowed us to remain in our cozy, air-conditioned room until just a bit before the next day's sessions. Aaaah!

In fact, we woke up late and ate in our rooms, then went to our sessions, then noshed on the dried fruits and nuts washed down with mint, melon and cucumber spa water. Nice. Then we went into the special spa-guest-only pools, and hung out there until we got bored.

I felt cheated out of my good Italian dinner, so we went out to Cafe Italia in Indian Wells. This was a place in the stripmall by the Ralphs, we thought it looked like a place you could get pizza and calzones and big drippy meatball subs. I was distracted by the prospect of peeking in the windows of a kitchen-accessories store, so we approached the restaurant along the wall of the front door instead of through the entry gate off the parking lot. We walked in and ...OOPS! The place was outfitted like a bistro, and the hostess asked us if we had reservations. OOPS again. They seated us anyway, and we were optimistic about the menu. We were also starving! Kumari ordered a prosciutto and melon plate, and I ordered the bruschetta. It was great. The paste e fagiole was a small cup, but very tasty. The salad that followed was very average, with carelessly chopped, mealy tomatoes. For an entrée, Kumari ordered Lobster Ravioli in a Raspberry Cream Sauce (I don't recall the exact name, but that's what it was.) She said it was the single worst meal of Italian food she'd ever had. I had the osso buco, which was stringy and flavorless. The served it over a lumpy polenta that was in desperate need of cheese. And pepper.

So the food was terrible, but then, there was "circuses". When we walked in we didn't see the signs, but apparently the servers all sing. It's one of Cafe Italia's "gimmicks". It was a little uncomfortable to be trying to eat and be respectful of the singer. The odd thing was, it was a song per course! The girl who was our server sang an aria. She was amazing, and sounded REALLY GREAT and I'm not even remotely a fan of opera. The busboy who repeatedly filled our water glasses (and kinda had a Billy Joe from Green Day thing going on) sang some odd showtune that I didn't recognize. He did pretty well, but you could tell he was really trying. The hostess, who couldn't have been a wink over 16, sang "I could have danced all night" ...really badly! She was on-key, but she rushed the song. They merely accompanied recorded music, but she could have benefitted from a version recorded at a slower tempo. She was out of breath and couldn't keep up. I struggled to keep from gigling, but I limited myself to kicking Kumari under the table to get her attention, and rolling my eyes.

We ate what we could, left the rest, paid & got out. The we went to the Barnes & Noble and discovered a mall through the back entrace. We wandered around a bit, and Kumari got an ice cream, and we headed back towards home and air conditioning (the forecast for our entire time here says it will be 108° all day.) More later!

Last thing I ate or drank: vanilla yogurt with quaker 100% natural granola. I didn't pack my espresso machine but I brought my hotpot and a bodum coffee press. It's not espresso, but it's stronger than the hotel coffee; I'll survive!

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1 Comments:

At 7/07/2005 9:15 AM, Blogger Cate said...

Quit mentioning iHop - I'm getting cravings for their Strawberry Stuffed French Toast!! Enjoy your vacation. :)

 

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