Judging by the topics and locations recently mentioned here, you'd think I never eat or do anything within the borders of the City of Los Angeles. Not true! It's just that I got other material from other places.
But good fun stuff has been happening here, like finally making it to Haru Ulala, and meeting up with Josh of the Food Section , his wife Danielle who runs the Celebrity Baby Blog, and their adorable infant daughter. So, I'll get back to L.A.-related blogging soon enough.
We were all smiles this past weekend during my return trip to the Parker Palm Springs with the folks, sister, and niece and nephew in tow. Baby Alden's mood was clearly no exception. (That happy pillow is infectious, I tell ya.)
While not specifically "family friendly" – a category we all hate – the many kids who were running around and spoiling the otherwise relaxing good time of the grown-ups (many of whom were in town for the film festival) clearly points to the irresistible playfulness of this all-Adler milieu. It's hard to leave.
The food and decor at Norma's and Mister Parker's work within this near rule-less universe, too. Anything goes, whether it's food or interior design. Any color, any combination, just go for it.
Prices to eat in-house at the Parker are to be expected. It's a cornered market full of lazy vacationers in a town where it's hard to eat well for little. Other people say that food in Palm Springs is no great shakes. Our one trip out to a dressed-up frat restaurant downtown turns out to be a stressful bust. The TGI Friday-like tomato sauce tastes like something you'd eat when "hoping to get laid," as my dad accurately observes. The relative bargain price of $44 for a bottle of '02 Girard cab proves to be the high point.
Back at the hotel, Norma's makes all sorts of rich gooey things you'd never make at home, and that's part of the fun. It's vacation! Relax a little. Eat a lot and gasp! – go swimming in the Esther Williams-meets-Atia indoor pool less than an hour after you've finished the meal. We did all of the above, loving the Campanile brunch antithesis.
The breakfast aperitif smoothie "shot" gets you going in the morning. Then heaping dishes of artichokes benedict, served with tons of mushroom-laden cream over artichoke hearts, the tasty potato pancakes, and salmon benedict comprise a veritable calorie fest.
Even for an open minded gal like myself, the first glimpse into Mister Parker's is off-putting. Too much Barry White Boudoir on Acid. But dim the lights, drop the needle on the Love Unlimited Orchestra record, and voila!, it totally works as a cozy dinner lounge. And mirrored ceilings with "spider" chandeliers (CP's take on them) are a big hit with the toddler set (shown at right). LOVE it!!
Most entres are too much, honestly. Minimalism barely gets a word in edgewise with the soft, tender pork tenderloin chunks topped with cipolline, but enough to make it simply satisfying. Main courses like vegetable gnocchi in a Parmesan basket with what seems like 20 vegetables seems to have 30 ingredients too many.
If you share, dessert is definitely worth the calories and expense. The apple charlotte with apricot sauce and vanilla ice cream is partially encased in a light crust, and the flavors meld beautifully. Miss CP asks to have her namesake dessert several times the next day. Though a little bit flat, the chocolate marquise is a welcome break from usually overly fluffy mousses, which I tend to not like much.
The only quality of life sacrifice is forgoing the late night Lobby Crawl. (Yeah I know, life's tough.) With the kids in the mix, we're back in the room by 9:00 each night. So watching The Band Wagon for the gazillionth time and waking up by 8:00 a.m. makes up the routine.
But at the Parker, where everything is a spectacle and for show, That's Entertainment.