The Rancho Las Palmas, a luxurious hotel resort and spa is located in Palm Springs California. // © 2012 The Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa
Symphony of Chocolate: Cappuccino Chocolate Cake, White Chocolate Mousse and Dark Chocolate Parfait// © 2012 Deborah Dimond
Chardonnays of the World at bluEmber// © 2012 Deborah Dimond
There is the Southern Mary, the Citrus Mary, the Danish Mary, and the Mediterranean Mary, actually there are eight different Marys in all that grace the new Bloody Mary Brunch menu at the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa. The launch of the new themed Sunday brunch was kicked off in early March by Eat.Drink.Savor. A Rancho Las Palmas Epicurean Weekend that was filled with a variety of tasty wines and delectable morsels.
The event was a co-effort from the resort’s bluEmber executive chef, Sean O’Connell with his staff and The Hogue Cellars. The dining room of the bluEmber was completely filled for the five-course, banquet-style event. The first dish to tease our palates was an amuse-bouche of smoked salmon tartar and poached quail’s egg with wasabi dressing. To complement the dish, each diner was poured a fruity and aromatic Genesis chardonnay. While I gorged myself on the delectable salmon a representative from Hogue came to my table and described the personality and attributes of the wine. This would be the routine for the evening. From the appetizer, we moved to a small salad of beets and watercress with an accompanying Shiraz, which was followed by a pan-seared bass with grilled baby octopus. The night’s meal played on in an orchestrated feast which ended with a rack of lamb and artichoke and potato fondant and cauliflower fondue. To complete it’s melodic line, we were served the Symphony of Chocolate, a collection of cakes, mousses and parfaits.
Wine Tasting: Chardonnays from Around the World
After my introduction to five different wines during the previous evening’s wine dinner, I was excited to return to the bluEmber for a special tasting. Now, I know my way around a cellar, and I have been on several winery tours, but never had I been to a tasting where only one variety of wine was chosen to sample. It was a pleasure to sip this collection of chardonnays. A handful of varietals were selected from such regions as New Zealand, Washington state, France, Italy and California. I quickly learned how varied and unique the same grape could taste, depending on where they were grown. While the first wine tasted of butterscotch and citrus, another would inundate your tongue with notes of green apples and figs. Comparing the wines in this way, as apples to apples, everyone in the group discovered a new favorite.
Bloody Mary Breakfast
The Blood Mary has been referred to as "the world's most complex cocktail.” The tomato based drink has long been thought of as a cure for the common hangover or perhaps a manly brunch alternative to a bubbly feminine Mimosa, whatever your motivation for ordering the drink, it will certainly clean your head. The original recipe for the drink combines vodka, tomato juice and, usually, other spices or flavorings such as Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, piri piri sauce, beef consommé, horseradish, celery, olive, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and celery salt.
When guests order the special brunch, they will receive all-you-can-drink Bloody Mary’s making the $50 dollar price tag for the traditional resort breakfast easier to swallow. Diners can then sample any number of the newly imagined versions of the classic cocktail. Many of the drinks have had the traditional vodka traded out for gin, tequila or Aquavit and the horseradish for sweet peeper juice.
Situated in Palm Springs, the Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa has recently updated guestrooms and caters to couples, families and meetings groups. The resort is a collection of two-story, Spanish-style complexes surrounding lush golfing greens, waddling duck filled water hazards or one of four pools. Popular with youngsters, the resort offers a small water park: Slashtopia, an acre of winding waterways, sandy beaches and two100-foot slides. For the adult guests, the resort offers 27 holes of golf, 25 tennis courts, a spa, the R Bar lounge, restaurant and live entertainment.